I'm teetering on the brink of either a deficiency of something, or a reaction to something.
The symptom is cramping (foot, calves, hands) and muscle discomfort.
Initially, when it was just a problem in my right foot, I saw a podiatrist who diagnosed it as tendinitis. However, it got worse, and then my calves and hands started cramping, so I don't think the tendinitis is the root problem. I sense it's more systemic.
I've been googling this to death and electrolytes seems like the most likely culprit.
To rule out magnesium deficiency, I upped my Calm fizzy and other magnesium supplements to bowel tolerance for months. Eventually, I got a magnesium RBC test which said it was normal, so it's not that.
I noted I wasn't eating much salt because I've been cooking from scratch since going paleo for the last 3 months, and I don't add salt when cooking. I've tried increasing sodium, and I don't think it's that.
Thinking maybe the calcium pills I take weren't being absorbed, I added milk (2 cups) to my daily routine a few days ago, along with a liquid calcium citrate / magnesium citrate supplement.
I just read that deficiency of b-vitamins could cause these types of problems. I just bought a Solgar b-complex 50 and will take two/day (started today).
One more piece of data: the symptoms were pretty bad on Wednesday. Wednesday night I cooked in the sauna at the gym (in case it was a reaction to food or something, I figured I might 'sweat it out of me'). Thursday morning, it was significantly worse. Unless getting worse after sauna was just a coincidence, and assuming it's a deficiency, maybe I sweated out too much of whatever it is, making it worse?
As to my trouble-shooting technique, since I don't know what it is, I'm trying to prove what it isn't by ruling things out one by one.
If it is a calcium deficiency, how long before it might respond to changing calcium formulas and adding milk?
If it is b-vitamins, how long before it might respond?
Is there a better of trouble-shooting this problem if it is a deficiency? Going on a strict elimination diet and taking no supplements would only make it worse.
Any other thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated.
asked byCaveMan_Mike (3275)
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on May 18, 2012
at 07:51 PM
I have been experiencing similar symptoms with my calves. I went to an ND after my self-treating failed. I recommend that you do the same because sometimes tests have to be done to find out underlying issues. I have Adrenal Fatigue and I'm Hypothyroid. From what I understand, having an out of whack thyroid can cause mineral deficiencies (don't quote me on that ;D). In general, stress can deplete the body. Stress comes in all kinds of forms. Perhaps you have some inflammation? That can be taxing on the body. I say keep up with the Concentrace. My ND recommended that I do nightly footbaths with Epsom Salts. She also recommended drinking 8oz of Coconut Water daily. I use topical Magnesium to ensure maximum absorption. I also use Concentrace. Google Tahoma Clinic online. They have an online supplement store. Dr. Wrights Salt is another thing that she wants me taking for my low sodium and potassium levels. If you order some, 1/4 teaspoon spread throughout the day. My BP is low and I'm supposed to use it to increase that. You could try Bone Broth daily too. That's all I got! Health issues suck. =X Good luck to you on your journey!
on May 18, 2012
at 07:59 PM
definitely start with the dehydration theory first, its the easiest to resolve; coconut water will help, or get rehydration salts from the pharmacy and mix with water, or just buy it mixed already with or without flavoring. I had the same issue and its a achy crampy feeling thoughout your lower body and arms. Within drinking a liter or rehydration salts I was better in a day; but had to drink it for about 5 days to snap out of it.
on May 18, 2012
at 07:08 PM
One possibility - on fairly low carb and below, you excrete a lot of water, since it isn't needed to process the carbs. You may just be dehydrated. Peter Attia talks a lot about balancing electrolytes in ketosis on his blog (I cannot find the right entry, but he drinks a cup of commercial bouillon daily to ensure his salt intake is adequate). And Dr. Michael Eades has an entry on his blog discussing cramping and dehydration that you might find useful.
Having provided that information, I have to admit that I spent about 9 months doing VLCish Paleo for weight loss and was jumping out of bed with intense calf cramps nightly the whole time (this was before finding either of those references). It got so that I felt the weight loss was stalling if I didn't. I have reintroduced some carbs since then, randomly, and the cramps hardly ever occur anymore.
on May 19, 2012
at 04:05 PM
Leg cramping at night is the only problem I've had since switching to a paleo diet. Tried a bunch of things (potassium supplements, etc) and nothing worked. Ow.
Now, before paleo I always used to have porridge with blueberries for breakfast. In a try-anything spirit, I decided to add the blueberries back into my diet, minus the porridge. No leg cramps since. I try to have a handful of blueberries or other berries each day now.
I suppose it could be a coincidence, or the placebo effect; I've no idea. But now I can stretch in bed without having leg muscles go into painful spasms, so I'm happy.
on May 19, 2012
at 06:50 AM
I had bad night cramps in the legs, almost nightly, till I figured out a protocol that works for me. First some background for context: I'm male, 63, palaeo since 2000 (people describe me as "hard core" and "strict"). Cramps began in 2003 and I attributed this to excessive carb intake on "carb load days" while I used Faigin's "Natural Hormonal Enhancement" diet for about 6m, but I have no evidence of this other than coincidence. Since then my carb intake is 40-100g/d. I exercise Brooks Kubik style 3 days a week and am active other days. Retired, so no stress. I sleep very still, often in the same position for hours. My protocol: ••• Final meal of the day 2:00-4:00pm ••• No snacks ••• Stay hydrated over the afternoon and evening by drinking 1 - 1.5 litres of water above apparent need (i.e., more than I would drink if driven only by feelings of thirst) ••• Drink 350 - 500ml full cream milk at about 7:00 - 9:00 pm (mine is organic/raw, but I don't think that's critical) ••• Drink about 500ml water before going to bed. Whenever I still get cramps, I can trace it back to either (a) drinking only to perceived feelings of thirst in the afternoon, or (b) neglecting my pre-sleep 500ml. There may be other background factors that are relevant, but I don't want this answer to read like a bio. I'd be happy to enlarge on the above. BTW, note that conventional medicine has nothing definitive to say about the causes or prevention of night cramps, other than a stab in the dark to keep hydrated and take additional magnesium. I used magnesium supplements for a year, but did not experience any significant effects from them.