Click here to sign-up for the Health911 eNewsletter that includes information about seasonal health conditions, links to our latest articles, alerts to our monthly product specials, health tips, and wellness programs. Sign-up today!
Make a Suggestion!
Share your health and wellness suggestions. We want to build the Health911 community around the interests of our viewers and customers. Click here
All Local Guides
A mineral deficiency of calcium and/or magnesium is probably the most frequent cause of night leg cramping.
Cramps are often caused by a lack of potassium, resulting in an electrytic imbalance. Strenuous exercise with sweating and diarrhea or other bowel disease may cause loss of potassium and other important minerals. It is very important to replace them with supplements. Some people get leg cramps at night for no apparent reason. This is called restless legs syndrome.
Another cause may be a deficiency in hesperidin, one of the bioflavonoids (sometimes called vitamin P), naturally occurring nutrients usually found in association with vitamin C. These bioflavonoids, including Hesperidin, Citrin, Rutin, Flavones, Flavonals, Calechin and Quercetin, were found to be essential in correcting the night leg cramps.
Wine induces stomach cramps in some people. To ease the cramps or perhaps eliminate them altogether, take some olive oil before imbibing. Try some oil on bread, or on a salad.
Milk and other dairy products can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, gas and discomfort in some women. If you are eating dairy products to get calcium, try switching to yogurt, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, tofu, collard and other greens, turnips, rhubarb and almonds.
Gastroenteritis, caused by a virus that has entered the digestive tract or contaminated food or water, causes inflammation, cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe cases can lead to dehydration, so be sure to drink fluids and balance your electrolytes (take Pedialyte for young children and the elderly, and sports drinks for everybody else.)
Diarrhea caused by intestinal parasites is the third leading cause of illness. If you have a number of the following symptoms: gas, diarrhea, chronic constipation, bloating, fatigue, skin rashes, nail biting, mood swings, insomnia, dry skin, brittle hair, hair loss, weight gain, bad breath, and muscle cramping, you should be tested for parasites.
Apple cider vinegar Drink a mixture of two teaspoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water. Apple cider vinegar is high in potassium.
Aspirin (or ibuprofen) taken at the earliest signs of menstrual cramps will help relieve them. Aspirin helps stop the production of prostaglandins, part of the process that causes cramps.
Calcium A calcium deficiency causes muscle cramps or involuntary movement of muscles. If you are prone to leg cramps at night, take a calcium supplement (calcium lactate is preferred), a warm cup of milk, or chew on some Tums an hour before going to bed. However, we do not recommend taking Tums on a regular basis due to its interference with your normal digestive process. We suggest that if you get frequent leg cramps you take a calcium supplement daily. Taking magnesium with the calcium will aid in the absorption of the calcium and prevent calcification of various organs and soft tissues. 200-300 mg of calcium before bedtime is recommended.
Chamomile tea A study showed that drinking five cups of this tea each day for two weeks reduced the pain of menstrual cramps. The tea increased the level of glycine in the urine. Glycine is an amino acid that helps relieve muscle spasms and relax the uterus.
CoQ10 may aid in relieving muscle cramps.
Magnesium will help the smooth muscles that surround your arteries to relax, and your body uses it to process calcium. Try taking 400 mg of magnesium before bed. A calcium/magnesium supplement, taken one hour before bedtime, is recommended.
Mustard For years coaches have given mustard to their athletes with leg cramps. Cramps are sometimes caused by a deficiency in acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that stimulates your muscles to work. Mustard has acetic acid, which helps the body make more acetylcholine. Take a spoonful or two of mustard.
Pickle juice As with mustard coaches have given pickle juice to their athletes with leg cramps. Cramps are sometimes caused by a deficiency in acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that stimulates your muscles to work. Pickle juice has acetic acid, which helps the body make more acetylcholine. Take a few ounces of pickle juice.
Quinine/tonic water Drinking four to eight ounces of tonic water (make sure it has quinine in it!) an hour before going to bed is a very effective remedy for most people. If it is too tart for you, add some lemon for flavoring. You should notice a difference within a few days, otherwise discontinue. OTC quinine was banned by the FDA because of health risks, but there is enough quinine in tonic water to help most people. See the Hyland's homeopathic remedy below for another similar option.
Leg Cramps with Quinine by Hyland's. Take as directed. This remedy contains: Cinchona Off. 3X HPUS, Viscum Alb. 3x HPUS, Gnaphalium 3X HPUS, Rhus Tox. 6X HPUS, Aconitum Nap. 6X HPUS, Ledum Pa. 6X HPUS, Magnesia Phos. 6X HPUS.
Mag Phos, by Hyland's. Take 4 pellets under the tongue at bedtime.