Magnesium for Leg Cramps

magnesium for leg cramps

Have you thought about taking magnesium for leg cramps? Magnesium (Mg) is the fourth most common mineral in the body and is necessary for proper body functioning. It is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in your body, including muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Therefore, magnesium is a popular treatment for leg cramps. 

This article will look at what causes leg cramps, the symptoms of leg cramps, and the best form of magnesium for leg cramps. 

Symptoms of Leg Cramps

A leg cramp is a sudden onset of pain in the leg muscles caused by an involuntary contraction (shortening) of the leg muscle.

Leg cramps most commonly occur in the calf muscles and in the feet and thighs less frequently. Cramps can last anywhere from a few seconds to ten minutes. Thigh muscle cramps are the most severe.

During a cramping episode, the affected muscles tighten and become painful, and the feet and toes stiffen. 

You may experience pain and tenderness in your legs for several hours after the cramps have passed.

What Causes Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are a common experience that can be caused by various factors. They may be caused by dehydration, exercise, low blood pressure, magnesium deficiency, and nerve compression. Many people find relief from leg cramps by taking over-the-counter medications or drinking fluids. However, there is no one definitive cause or cure for leg cramps. Treatment generally focuses on relieving the symptoms and supporting the body’s natural healing processes.

In combination with your physiology, one or more factors listed below could explain why you’re experiencing leg cramps.

Unable to Stretch Specific Muscles

While our forefathers spent a lot of time squatting (a position that stretches leg tendons and muscles), modern life has mostly eliminated the need for it. 

There’s also evidence that our primarily sedentary lifestyles (sitting and not moving for long periods staring at a computer screen) reduce tendon and muscle length and limberness, which may lead to cramping.

Standing Long

Evidence suggests that people who spend a lot of time standing are more prone to get leg cramps than those who sit. 

This is because blood and water tend to pool in your lower body when you’re on your feet. This can cause fluid imbalances and muscle and tendon shortening, which can cause cramping. 

Sleeping Positions

When you’re lying in bed, face down, your foot is frequently in a “plantar flexion” position, which means that the toe points away from you, shortening the calf muscles. 

When the foot is in this position for an extended period, even small movements of the feet can cause a cramp. 

Sleeping with your feet off the bed, on your side, or in any position that keeps your toes neutral would be better for these muscles. 

Difficult Workouts

Muscle cramps have long been associated with extreme exercise. Skeletal muscle overload and fatigue can result in localized muscle cramping in overworked fibres. 

This occurs even among highly trained professional athletes. Unfortunately, while staying hydrated can help, there is no proven method for preventing these types of cramps. 


Nocturnal cramping is caused by dehydration. This suggests that heat and fluid balance may play a key role in developing cramps. In addition, dehydration may cause electrolyte imbalances in the blood, which could be one of the leading causes of cramps.

Seasonal Changes

Nighttime leg cramps are more common in the summer than in the winter. It’s crucial to understand that these muscle cramps are caused by nerve issues rather than muscle disorders.

These cramps are caused by nerves that run from the spine to the calf.

Sunlight causes your body to produce vitamin D. So, in the summer, when your D levels are at their highest, your body may engage in “accelerated” neural repair, which could cause these cramps. 

Lack of Nutrients

Though much of it is contradictory, there is evidence that calcium, magnesium, and potassium imbalances contribute to cramping. 

Each of these electrolytes aids in the maintenance of fluid balance in the blood and muscles, so it stands to reason that if they are out of balance, cramping may occur. 


Diuretics (such as Clorpres and Thalitone) and asthma medications are linked to an increased risk of cramping. 

These drugs may have a “stimulatory” effect on motor neurons and receptors, leading to cramping.


Ageing may also play a role in leg cramping. Cramps become more common when we start losing our motor neurons, roughly in our early 50s. 

Balance and strength exercises may help maintain muscle and nervous system functioning to prevent these issues.


Pregnancy is also linked to frequent leg cramps due to weight gain and disrupted circulation. 

Cramping may also be caused by a growing fetus’s pressure on the mother’s blood vessels and nerves.

Best Magnesium Supplement for Leg Cramps

Magnesium is a popular treatment for leg cramps, particularly in Latin America and Europe. Magnesium citrate and glycinate can be beneficial to most people. 

Although most available research shows no overall correlation between using magnesium and reducing leg cramps, some study participants reported magnesium glycinate to be more effective than a placebo.

Another study concluded that taking Mg glycinate & citrate supplements may help relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome

The studies concluded that RLS was caused by a lack of Mg in some cases, in which case supplements alleviated the symptoms.

Preventing Leg Cramps

The most crucial treatment for leg cramps is to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. Magnesium supplements are also helpful if you have leg cramps. Let’s take a look at three ways to prevent leg cramps:


Stretching the affected muscle while cramping helps abort a cramp. 

For example, try a standing calf stretch if your cramp is in your lower leg or foot. 

Well-Balanced Diet

Making sure you get enough magnesium glycinate in your diet could be beneficial. Beans, whole grains, nuts, and leafy greens are high in this nutrient. 

If you are not a grain and veggie-lover, taking Mg supplements may be better. 

Keep Yourself Hydrated

You could also increase your water intake throughout the day, particularly if you’re sweating or exercising. 

Dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, and dry skin are all symptoms of dehydration. 


In conclusion, leg cramps can be caused by various factors, including dehydration, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise. However, drinking plenty of fluids, taking a high-quality Magnesium supplement such as Epsilon’s Magnesium Glycinate and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you manage restless legs and cramping. Speak with your doctor if your leg cramps affect your quality of life (if they occur frequently or interfere with your sleep).

Frequently Asked Questions About Magnesium and Muscle Cramps

Below you’ll find some of the most commonly asked questions about the connection between magnesium and muscle cramps. Discover the role magnesium plays in muscle function, how supplementation can assist in managing cramps, and the various sources of magnesium to help treat muscle discomfort. This FAQ section is designed to provide concise yet comprehensive answers to your queries.

What is the link between magnesium and muscle cramps?

Magnesium plays an essential role in maintaining normal skeletal muscle function. A deficiency in magnesium levels can lead to involuntary skeletal muscle cramps, especially nocturnal leg cramps. Magnesium therapy can be beneficial in treating muscle cramps.

How does magnesium supplementation treat leg cramps at night?

Magnesium supplementation helps maintain adequate levels of magnesium in the body, relaxing the muscles and preventing nocturnal leg cramps. It can also improve overall muscular function and reduce the frequency of cramps at night, making it an effective treatment for muscle cramps.

What are some sources of magnesium to treat leg cramps?

Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, magnesium supplements are available in various forms, such as magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate, which can also help in increasing the magnesium intake to treat leg cramps.

What is the efficacy of magnesium in treating cramps in older adults?

Magnesium therapy can be useful in treating nocturnal leg cramps in older adults. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of magnesium supplementation in reducing the number of cramps per week and improving the quality of life in older individuals suffering from nocturnal leg cramps.

Is magnesium recommended for calf cramps during pregnancy?

Yes, magnesium supplementation can be beneficial for pregnant women experiencing calf cramps. An increased magnesium intake may help alleviate muscle cramps during pregnancy, as it’s essential for proper muscular function. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation during pregnancy.

What is the role of magnesium in preventing cramps at night?

Magnesium plays a vital role in preventing cramps at night by maintaining proper muscular function and ensuring muscle relaxation. Adequate magnesium levels in the body lead to reduced muscle excitability, lowering the frequency and severity of nocturnal leg cramps.

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