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  • Foot/Shin cramping

    I am trying to figure out what I might be deficient in. It's been close to two months since going Primal and I am pretty strict with it. I don't do dairy right now outside of grass-fed butter and a bit of cream in my coffee, and I've been feeling so good I don't care to cheat. Am I in ketosis? Probably not as I tend to eat too much protein, but have been cutting that back a bit, we will see.

    The last couple of nights I've awoken with my toes, foot, and my shin (not calves) cramping. Once I get it to calm down, if I dare to move that foot, or even my toes, it comes back. I seem to remember being told that leg cramping is usually a lack of potassium, but every time I enter my daily food into MFP I am never short of anything outside of calcium.

    Any thoughts of what I might be lacking? The shin cramping has me a bit perplexed, I don't think I've experience that before. Ever.

  • #2
    Could be electrolytes are off~ it's not just potassium, it's a balance potassium/sodium/magnesium and a couple of others (need to google ) Anyway, Vitamin B6 helps keep them in balance, unprocessed sea salt is a good supplement (¼t. per liter water) And I find a glass or two of tonic water in the evenings help stop nighttime cramps.

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    • #3
      I notice leg cramping at night when I haven't been drinking enough water. I know the thinking is to just drink when you feel thirsty, but in my case a couple of days of that and I wake up with leg cramps.
      Female, age 51, 5' 9"
      SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

      Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
      2013 goals are to get fit and strong!

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      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestions and I will try them out. I DO tend to not drink enough water...

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        • #5
          I have had foot cramps in the past - the only thing that got rid of them was magnesium supplements. I buy the CALM brand. They're no fun, hope you can find what works for you!
          My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57034.html

          "...since our orthodox theories have not saved us we may have to readjust them to bring them into harmony with Nature's laws. Nature must be obeyed, not orthodoxy." Weston A. Price

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          • #6
            This is an excellent blog The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II » The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

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            • #7
              I've been plagued with leg and foot cramps nearly my entire life. I tried potassium and drinking more water, never worked. I finally had laser vein ablation last year, which relieved my painful varicose veins, but not the cramping.
              Now, I take a simple, cheap store brand magnesium 250mg before bedtime, and don't wake up cramping unless I've been working out in my Vibrams. Bonus: regular morning poops!
              “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Catrin View Post
                The last couple of nights I've awoken with my toes, foot, and my shin (not calves) cramping. Once I get it to calm down, if I dare to move that foot, or even my toes, it comes back. I seem to remember being told that leg cramping is usually a lack of potassium, but every time I enter my daily food into MFP I am never short of anything outside of calcium.

                Any thoughts of what I might be lacking? The shin cramping has me a bit perplexed, I don't think I've experience that before. Ever.
                It's usually calves people get problems with. Why there for you I don't know. It may be linked to some activity you do

                Magnesium helps with cramping. But the problem seems to be further up the chain. Have a look at Jack Kruses's Brain-Gut 12:

                Iodine is found in high concentrations in the synapse of neurons to optimize signaling. With more time for further iodine loss, it affects more epithelial tissues like the breast, ovaries, and testes to cause fibrocystic disease, cancer and infertility. It even can cause thyroid cancers. Once iodine goes, Magnesium is not far behind. This affects our cells ability to make energy from ATP. Our bodies ATPase is magnesium dependent. This is why diabetics and fat folks are so magnesium deficient; because they are energy inefficient because they live in the chronic oxidative pathway their entire life.
                BRAIN GUT 12: DARE TO DISAGREE? | Living an Optimized Life

                That's the maverick doctor telling a few (well-deserved) home truths to the paleosphere.

                The basic point here is that brain chemistry (this guy is a neurosurgeon) tells us that we evolved around water not on the savannah. (And that does fit the geographical situation in the Rift Valley, too.) Modern people are dangerously lacking in some nutrients that you can get from river-food ,and particularly seafood, including most importantly DHA and iodine. (700 million people worldwide are thought to be clinically iodine-deficient and that's with many governments having made the iodination of salt compulsory. What would the figure be otherwise?)

                I would take a magnesium supplement, probably magnesium malate or magnesium glycerinate is best absorbed, but the powder you make into a drink is OK -- Naturalcalm.

                But I would also up your consumption of seafood, i.e., fish and shellfish, quite a lot. You might also add some seaweed into the mix.

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                • #9
                  Bone broth is another option. It'll contain a wide array of minerals due to the bones. I buy soup bones from the meat market. It's a large knuckle joint sawed in quarters with some meat and tendons still attached. I add a half a cup of wine (don't like how it tastes with vinegar) and a bit of salt (can always add more later) and fill the crock pot with water. I toss in a pigs foot or tail, too, for the extra gelatin. A cup of this before exercising makes for a better workout and keeps the cramping away.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lewis View Post
                    It's usually calves people get problems with. Why there for you I don't know. It may be linked to some activity you do

                    Magnesium helps with cramping. But the problem seems to be further up the chain. Have a look at Jack Kruses's Brain-Gut 12:



                    BRAIN GUT 12: DARE TO DISAGREE? | Living an Optimized Life

                    That's the maverick doctor telling a few (well-deserved) home truths to the paleosphere.

                    The basic point here is that brain chemistry (this guy is a neurosurgeon) tells us that we evolved around water not on the savannah. (And that does fit the geographical situation in the Rift Valley, too.) Modern people are dangerously lacking in some nutrients that you can get from river-food ,and particularly seafood, including most importantly DHA and iodine. (700 million people worldwide are thought to be clinically iodine-deficient and that's with many governments having made the iodination of salt compulsory. What would the figure be otherwise?)

                    I would take a magnesium supplement, probably magnesium malate or magnesium glycerinate is best absorbed, but the powder you make into a drink is OK -- Naturalcalm.

                    But I would also up your consumption of seafood, i.e., fish and shellfish, quite a lot. You might also add some seaweed into the mix.
                    That's the second thread that I've read where you quoted that, fascinating stuff. I started supplementing with iodine (I've also increased my seafood) because I believed myself to be seriously lacking in iodine. I wish I liked seaweed because that would be a great addition to my diet. My husband no longer has leg cramps but it could be the magnesium, the iodine, the better diet, being properly hydrated etc.

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                    • #11
                      If I forget to take my magnesium at night, I get twitchy legs and I wake up in the middle of the night. I wouldn't really describe it as "cramping", but kind of.

                      I agree with some of the others - try upping your electrolytes. Magnesium improves your sleep, even if it does nothing for the cramping, and like SophieScreams says, regular morning poops are an added bonus, so I would give it a shot. Most people are deficient anyway.
                      Durp.

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                      • #12
                        I've been going through a lot of bone broth, love the stuff, but not before exercise. I will make a point to have some with my breakfast before my 6am group training session. I know many here do fasted exercise but that's never worked well for me, once I've been primal a few more months I will try it again.

                        I will look into your suggested supplement ideas. The cramping doesn't happen every night - and I don't have varicose veins or twitchy legs, so am pretty confident that I am missing something in my diet - but when it happens it is pretty intense. I do have regular morning poops already

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                        • #13
                          I just put a couple of days into CRON-O-Meter and found that I am only getting a little more than half of recommended Magnesium, and a bit less than half of Potassium. This is likely the root of my problem, along with not drinking enough water. I suspect the shin rather than calf cramping is related to my gym work.

                          I've ordered the CALM Cherry Magnesium supplement from Amazon. My calcium is also pretty low, but I want to do more research before I go to supplementation. I've read conflicting reports on that approach.

                          My B6 intake is over 100%, my B1 and Folate intake is just a little low, I am sure I can take care of this through diet. Vitamin A and K are both way off the charts, but it is all dietary and I am sure my body is just dumping what it doesn't need (I assume). Selenium and Zinc are both fine.

                          Does any of that sound unusual/something I need to address? I am unaccustomed to even thinking about micronutrients...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RitaRose View Post
                            If I forget to take my magnesium at night, I get twitchy legs and I wake up in the middle of the night. I wouldn't really describe it as "cramping", but kind of.

                            I agree with some of the others - try upping your electrolytes. Magnesium improves your sleep, even if it does nothing for the cramping, and like SophieScreams says, regular morning poops are an added bonus, so I would give it a shot. Most people are deficient anyway.
                            Oh, you have the dreaded Restless Legs Syndrome! Big Pharma would like to have a word with you...step away from the magnesium...that's right, nice n slow...we have a pretty little pill for you...don't read the fine print...only need another three drugs to counteract the side effect of our jimmy leg pills...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Miscellangela View Post
                              Oh, you have the dreaded Restless Legs Syndrome! Big Pharma would like to have a word with you...step away from the magnesium...that's right, nice n slow...we have a pretty little pill for you...don't read the fine print...only need another three drugs to counteract the side effect of our jimmy leg pills...

                              They've already got me for the Imitrex when I forget to take the magnesium (or a "friend" lies about what's in the food) and I get a rager of a migraine. They're not getting any more money out of me! Not that they need it or anything...
                              ;^)
                              Durp.

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