Magnesium can reduce muscle cramps and is useful in treating conditions from asthma to depression. Your intake should be two-thirds of your calcium intake.
When attempting to treat frustrating health issues like chronic or unexplained cramps, it’s important to supplement safely. For example, if you do choose to take a supplement for muscle cramps, you may need to up your calcium intake. It’s also a good idea to get your vitamin D levels checked, as those with low vitamin D levels struggle to absorb this necessary mineral. Finally, avoid habits that strip this crucial nutrient from your body, such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption.
Use Magnesium with Care
While supplementing with magnesium has been shown to help some who struggle with cramps, this mineral can reduce the effectiveness of oral antibiotics, particularly tetracycline. Also, if you’re taking an over-the-counter antacid such as Tums, that product may inhibit your ability to absorb your magnesium supplement. Be sure to let your doctor know of any supplements you are taking when discussing your muscle cramps or other health conditions.
Boost Your Magnesium Intake in Your Diet
There are many foods high in magnesium that can help you increase your intake of this vital mineral without needing supplementation. Avocados, black beans and bananas are very high in magnesium and are great additions to your diet. Leafy greens, particularly spinach, can also help you boost your magnesium intake.
Functionally, foods high in fiber have a good chance of providing you with a hearty dose of this important nutrient. Some who suffer from muscle cramps may experience postmenopausal uterine cramping or bowel sluggishness, so a diet high in fiber can help you build better overall health while reducing muscle cramping.
Supplements and Osteoporosis
As we age, genetics and hormones can contribute to bone loss for both men and women, though women can suffer a more radical loss of bone density during and after the menopausal process. When taken in the right ratios with calcium, these supplements can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise is also crucial for building musculature, increasing blood flow and maintaining bone density.
If your exercise program has led to an increase in muscle cramping at night, try a magnesium and calcium supplement combination to gain the best absorption from these two vital nutrients.
When Should I Take It?
This supplement should be taken between meals or at least an hour after your biggest meal of the day. For best breakdown and absorption, stomach acid is crucial. Combining it with vitamin D and calcium is a great way to make sure that you’re maximizing the effectiveness of these nutrients for healthy muscles and strong bones.
Men over 30 should get 420 mg per day, and women over 30 should strive for 320 mg per day. Pregnant and nursing women must discuss their supplement programs and plans with their physician.
Hydrate and Stretch
Cramping can also be a sign of dehydration. During your workouts, be sure to take breaks and hydrate. Start your day with water and try to have some with every meal. Whether or not you stretch as part of your exercise warmup, make sure to include stretching as you cool down.