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Thread: Why am I still getting leg cramps!?!?!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Kaukauna, WI

    Question Why am I still getting leg cramps!?!?!

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    Every since going primal, I have been getting more frequent leg cramps, which I attributed to maybe low magnesium/electrolytes (diuretic effect of low carb diet). So I've been taking a magnesium supplement (natural calm--about 350mg/day Mg. I think), which seems to be helping a little but the leg cramps at night keep coming and going in phases...
    Like I'll have one every night, for a few nights in a row, then they'll go away for a few nights and I'll think "Oh, good. They're gone now!" but then they'll come back!!!!! :S

    Does anybody know of any other things besides low magnesium that could cause leg cramps? Maybe I need to take a calcium and potassium supplement too? I don't eat any dairy except for ghee, but I didn't think that would make me deficient in calcium! I feel like my diet is pretty well-rounded, so its kind of hard to believe that I could be *so* deficient in something that it would be giving me leg cramps!

    Here is a breif description of me and my lifestyle, if it helps:
    I'm 25, female, 6' tall, 133lbs
    My meals pretty much consist of some type of meat or fish (all grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, tuna, salmon etc...) and some type of veggie (broccoli, romaine lettuce, spinnich, cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots, tomatos, onions, garlic, avocados etc...) and maybe some frozen berries or dark (85-90%) chocolate or cocoa nibs. I also drink tea and coffee, maybe like 1 cup a day. I cook with bacon grease, lard or ghee.
    I take 6,000ui of Vit. D per day, 1gm fish oil (probably about every other day), ~350mg Magnesium per day as supplements.
    I have Multiple Sclerosis, and take low dose naltrexone 4.5mg. I know that MS symptoms *could* include leg cramps, but I'm pretty positive that my MS is comptletly in remission and I've never had leg cramps before as a relapse, just numbness and fatigue (neither of which I have had for a while, since starting primal!)
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    After making sure that you're absolutely getting all of the nutrients you need (and enough conditional nutrients like water, oxygen, etc) and eliminating everything known to cause auto-immunity I can't really say anything. Except that even ghee gives me problems. Some people just shouldn't do any dairy at all.

    Also you said your MS is in remission. How much of that would you attribute to your diet?
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I get them coming and going just like you. I started taking potassium before bed, and it helped! I notice it most when I dont eat a lot of veggies. Also when I started doing sprints (really like 2x a week for like 5 mins, lol) that helped a lot too.
    Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I take two 99 mg potassium caplets every night. Nary a cramp to be seen.
    Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    I have the same issue! I've been starting to worry whether it's DVT or something else since it's just in my one leg.
    Sometime around 3:30-4:30 am about three times a week I'll wake up feeling an odd sensation in my leg, and next thing I know I can feel my inner calf muscles contract into this dense ball of pain... A few hours later my leg will still be tender.

    Started taking a cal-mag supplement (couldn't find any magnesium only) a few days ago and hope that'll make a difference.
    I thought that potassium wouldn't be the culprit since I go through 2-3 bunches of either kale, beet greens or swiss/red chard per week...

    Time to try that next I guess.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Try cutting back the oxalate-rich foods (kale + other greens - have a moderate amount of baby spinach instead), chocolate, tea, berries and nuts - and up your calcium.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Kaukauna, WI
    Thank you for the suggestions, guys! I think i will try adding some potassium and calcium to my supplement list, and perhaps eat less chocolate...
    Strangely, no leg cramps tonight!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ika View Post
    Every since going primal, I have been getting more frequent leg cramps, which I attributed to maybe low magnesium/electrolytes
    Leg cramps are an issue of low magnesium or low potassium (or rarely something more serious....)

    350 mg mag isn't enough for most and the veggies you outline per week aren't enough potassium. I need 1000 mg magnesium per day from food/supplements.

    Potassium requirements are a *minimum* of 3500 mg daily per RDI/RDA and we know that's definitely on the low side. run your diet through and see how you're coming up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    I thought that potassium wouldn't be the culprit since I go through 2-3 bunches of either kale, beet greens or swiss/red chard per week...
    Calcium is the contractor. Magnesium is the relaxor. It's unlikely, though possible, that adding calcium will be helpful. You may want to order some magnesium from iherb or similar.

    200 mg potassium it nearly an irrelevant amount in terms of healthy muscle function. While it might be just enough to tip someone from severe deficiency to deficiency, it's not enough to make a significan donation towards the 3500-10,000 mg that we daily need.

    It's all about ratios -
    etc etc
    Primal Blueprint and Produce

    ❑ 3,500 mg potassium (K) is the "Daily Value" (DV) intake per the FDA, NIH,
    ADA etc. Consdering that nutrient intakes from these organizations reflect
    standard intakes, not optimal, consider viewing potassium needs through a
    'primal' lens based on K intakes in traditional diets and what we know of diets
    in environment closer to those in which we adapted.

    ❑ Potassium intakes in the above 'primal' diets - likely ranges
    based on potassium to sodium ratio
    5mg K:1mg Na to 16mg K: 1mg Na

    based on potassium to calorie ratio
    2-4mg K per calorie ingested

    ❑ 10-13 servings produce will often be required to supply potassium at
    optimal or nearly optimal levels

    ❑ if needed to bring K:Na ratios or K:Kcal ratios into balance, tomato products
    at each meal or by drinking homemade veggie peeling broths are easy, low
    calorie, high potassium supplements. adding 99mg from a potassium tab
    is essentially worthless when total potassium needs are 3,500-12,000 mg.

    Think of magnesium and potassium as the relaxors and calcium and sodium as
    the contractors. We need both - but it's all about ratio just like it is wrt Ω3 and Ω6.

    Here's what The Primal Blueprint says about produce:

    p40 TPB
    "The gathering of berries and other fruit, leafy greens, primitive roots, shoots and other vegetation, nuts and seeds provide the bulk of Grok's food supply."

    p.112 TPB
    "'it may take some acclimation to center your diet around vegetables....Dont follow the example of restaurants that serve skimpy vegetable portions seemingly just for decoration; serve yourself heaping portions that crowd everything else on your plate"

    "Plant foods..naturally promote a beneficial balance between acidity and alkalinity..inyour bloodstream. Almost all cells prefer a slightly alkaline environment to function properly, but many metabolic processes, including the normal production of cellular energy, result in the release of acidic waste products. The buildup of acidic waste is toxic to your body so it works very hard at all times to preserve a slightly alkaline environment, measured by the familiar pH levels."

    p110 TPB
    see food pyramid: the base is produce indicating that in terms of volume, this is a produce dominated
    diet. His food pyramid is a clear supportive visual to both his writing, and the evidence available
    regarding a primal diet (diet in our environment of evolutionary adaptation). Volume-wise, we're
    eating mostly produce, though in terms of a percentage of calories, we are getting more calories from
    protein and many more from saturated fat even when we don't add much, if any, free fat.

    In this blogpost regarding inflammation and gut health, Mark said:

    "I mentioned Dr. Art Ayer’s Cooling Inflammation blog last week, and I’m
    to do so again. First, Art suggests adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. His dietary
    recommendations are essentially identical to mine – high SFA, moderate animal
    protein, low O-6, O-3 supplementation, leafy greens, some fruit and nuts."

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