3

votes

What Is Your Best Strategy for Avoiding Muscle Cramps With Low Carb?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 28, 2011 at 4:29 AM

I'm afraid I still haven't perfected my strategy so I end up waking up at 2:00 AM with painful muscle cramps, taking Nu Salt mixed in water and waiting and waiting for the cramps to settle down. I'm getting kind of sick of it though and would like to know what is your best strategy for avoiding them in the first place? Are you able to do it solely by diet? What are your go to foods? Do you regularly supplement with potassium? How much? Any other strategies that you use? I think my problem is that I don't want to get too much potassium so I end up not using it until it's too late and I'm already cramping.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 19, 2012
at 05:48 PM

SV, I've read posts at LowCarbFriends of this helping folks a lot.

6810afeed347463af5792b1a3444cba7

on August 09, 2011
at 06:13 AM

Shellfish are high in minerals and salts, including the typically prescribed anti-cramping ones - magnesium and potassium. They also work to eliminate carb cravings during the transition to ketosis. No idea why... someone should really figure that out. It flatly contradicts the popular explanation of a body-shift to a different fuel source, and instead points to micronutrient deficiency as the cause of the cravings. FYI I just transitioned to ketosis from a 50% rice diet with zero carb cravings thanks to shellfish. Scallops simply because I find them the easiest to eat plain.

6810afeed347463af5792b1a3444cba7

on August 09, 2011
at 06:08 AM

they're high in minerals, salts, and the typical anti-cramping suuplements (magnesium IIRC). but in a bio-available form, unlike plant sources. just try, it works. also works to kill carb cravings in ketosis... no idea why, maybe nutrient deficiency caused by soil leaching from fertilizer use rather than letting ground go fallow.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on July 30, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Agree with Ambimorph.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 30, 2011
at 02:57 AM

I think it's the sodium.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 30, 2011
at 02:56 AM

I agree with this. Hydration makes a big difference for me.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 29, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Back to the discussion at hand, I'm not sure what she'd consider to be high protein, that doesn't sound high to me either. She has an online blog, so it might be in there somewhere. If you're already taking magnesium, sounds like the potassium is what you need. I wonder if there is a to convince your body to hold onto it more?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 29, 2011
at 12:36 AM

When I got around to registering it did a magical switcheroo on me.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Happy Now, how is it that your PH doo-dad changed? didn't you used to be an orange thing? how did you switch to a blue thing? (tt, pls excuse my frivolous interruption!)

C221a8c9efba0c80d03b9f84a2b3b3f9

(418)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:46 PM

It's the vinegar in the pickle juice that is the remedy.Perhaps a tb or 2 of apple cider vinegar in water before bedtime would be an easier fix.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:06 PM

This doesn't seem to be my issue (I take magnesium supplements and it's always potassium that relieves my cramps), but I'm curious what your doctor considered to be high protein? I average around 85 g per day, which I don't think is that high. It would be good to know though for future reference.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:03 PM

Me too. I've never heard of using scallops for this purpose.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:02 PM

I'll keep this in mind as a rescue remedy, but can't see myself doing this for prevention.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:01 PM

This might be solution for me. Thanks!

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:00 PM

Nice article. Thanks!

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Why scallops? Im not doubting you, rather, Im just curious and interested in hearing an explanation.

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8 Answers

5
16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

on July 28, 2011
at 10:26 AM

Dr. Michael Eades just addressed this issue on his blog recently: Tips/Tricks for Starting or Restarting Low Carb Pt II

It finally occurred to me that my cramping problem might be due to dehydration and that the diet tonic that solved the problem did so not because of the quinine but because I was drinking all the water the quinine was dissolved in. And it occurred to me that the cramping was worse in the middle of the night because a lot of water is lost through the breath at night. (See my second post on the Anthony Colpo Smackdown to read more about this.) You can lose a couple of pounds during sleep simply by breathing water vapor away, which was, I???m sure, what was happening to me. I was barely hydrated enough to prevent cramping while awake, but when I slept and my fluid level fell due to my breathing water away, I hit some critical threshold of fluid that kicked off the cramps.

I started rehydrating first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Now I get up, drink anywhere from 16 to 32 ounces of remineralized water (more about which later) first thing. Then I head to the espresso maker and start my daily Americano regimen. But I consume at least 8 ounces of sparkling water after each cup of coffee. And I drink water after each shot of Jameson and/or glass of wine (or any other alcoholic libation),* and I???m proud to report that I have been cramp free since upping the water.

Personally I have found great relief from cramps in the middle of the night from popping a multi-vitamin (which I save for this occasion only). Unfortunately this is a band-aid since I still have to deal with the cramp and waking up in the middle of the night to do it.

I think Dr. Eades is onto something though. Since I've been very well hydrated I haven't gone through this in a while.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:00 PM

Nice article. Thanks!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 30, 2011
at 02:56 AM

I agree with this. Hydration makes a big difference for me.

3
531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

on July 28, 2011
at 11:52 AM

Pickle juice.

I get the cramps after strenuous soccer games particularly. When I get the 2 a.m. cramps I eat a pickle or drink the juice or both.

C221a8c9efba0c80d03b9f84a2b3b3f9

(418)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:46 PM

It's the vinegar in the pickle juice that is the remedy.Perhaps a tb or 2 of apple cider vinegar in water before bedtime would be an easier fix.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:02 PM

I'll keep this in mind as a rescue remedy, but can't see myself doing this for prevention.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on July 30, 2011
at 02:57 AM

I think it's the sodium.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on July 30, 2011
at 04:04 PM

Agree with Ambimorph.

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 28, 2011
at 07:24 AM

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean lo carb (or at least high protein) can cause magnesium wasting, which could definitely cause muscle cramps. When I was preggo I would get crazy leg cramps at night and Thorne CalMag Citrate totally saved the day. Knowing what I know now though I probably only needed the supplemental magnesium. You can rub either magnesium oil directly on the muscles or take an Epsom Salt bath if you have any trouble with oral magnesium.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:06 PM

This doesn't seem to be my issue (I take magnesium supplements and it's always potassium that relieves my cramps), but I'm curious what your doctor considered to be high protein? I average around 85 g per day, which I don't think is that high. It would be good to know though for future reference.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 29, 2011
at 12:36 AM

When I got around to registering it did a magical switcheroo on me.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 28, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Happy Now, how is it that your PH doo-dad changed? didn't you used to be an orange thing? how did you switch to a blue thing? (tt, pls excuse my frivolous interruption!)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 29, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Back to the discussion at hand, I'm not sure what she'd consider to be high protein, that doesn't sound high to me either. She has an online blog, so it might be in there somewhere. If you're already taking magnesium, sounds like the potassium is what you need. I wonder if there is a to convince your body to hold onto it more?

2
6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on July 28, 2011
at 04:48 AM

I take Hammer Nutrition Edurolytes usually one to two at night before bed. They also help with restless leg syndrome and they help me sleep.

link text

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:01 PM

This might be solution for me. Thanks!

1
D0952bfcc8728e24d32049dc9513b7a0

on February 19, 2012
at 03:52 PM

When I first started eating low-carb, I was told to sprinkle a little bit of salt substitute (half-sodium chloride, half-potassium chloride--I used Morton's Lite Salt) on my food to get rid of the muscle cramps in my legs and it worked like a charm.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 19, 2012
at 05:48 PM

SV, I've read posts at LowCarbFriends of this helping folks a lot.

0
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on February 19, 2012
at 05:47 PM

I don't get them unless I go under 15g/CHO/d for more than 2 days. Salt, bone broth and meat broths help me. Magnesium, more water and stretching, too.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 19, 2012
at 09:16 AM

Late the other evening, I was a little hungry and craving something salty. This is unusual for me because I don't often crave things. I had not eaten almonds for a long time but remembered I had seen a small bag of them in the back of a cupboard, so I dug them out and ate a few handfuls. (They were not very nice and when I looked at the back of the bag after eating them, they turned out to be 2 years out of date! lol). They were not salted and did not satisfy my salt craving. I then ate a few pumpkin seeds (not salted). My craving was still not satisfied so I ate a chicken drumstick. I no longer felt hungry but the salt craving was still there. For some reason, I did my best to ignore it and went to bed shortly after. Five or six hours later, I got woken up by cramp in my left calf muscle. This seemed to show me that my body was craving salt for a very good reason and I really should have listened to it. I have given advice to other people that they should listen to their body concerning water and salt cravings, in the past but didn't take my own advice on this occasion and paid the price! (slaps own forehead).
I have a salt substitute. Radisson Sal Especial. I don't know if this particular brand is available outside of Spain but there are plenty of other similar products in supermarkets. I very rarely use it on food but sometimes take a quarter teaspoon of it with a little water if I have been sweating a lot and feel hints of cramp or dehydration (my work is very physical). The ingredients are potassium chloride, sodium chloride, malic acid and magnesium carbonate.

0
6810afeed347463af5792b1a3444cba7

on July 28, 2011
at 05:45 AM

Scallops should work. Or any other shellfish. That and sufficient hydration.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on July 28, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Why scallops? Im not doubting you, rather, Im just curious and interested in hearing an explanation.

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 28, 2011
at 03:03 PM

Me too. I've never heard of using scallops for this purpose.

6810afeed347463af5792b1a3444cba7

on August 09, 2011
at 06:13 AM

Shellfish are high in minerals and salts, including the typically prescribed anti-cramping ones - magnesium and potassium. They also work to eliminate carb cravings during the transition to ketosis. No idea why... someone should really figure that out. It flatly contradicts the popular explanation of a body-shift to a different fuel source, and instead points to micronutrient deficiency as the cause of the cravings. FYI I just transitioned to ketosis from a 50% rice diet with zero carb cravings thanks to shellfish. Scallops simply because I find them the easiest to eat plain.

6810afeed347463af5792b1a3444cba7

on August 09, 2011
at 06:08 AM

they're high in minerals, salts, and the typical anti-cramping suuplements (magnesium IIRC). but in a bio-available form, unlike plant sources. just try, it works. also works to kill carb cravings in ketosis... no idea why, maybe nutrient deficiency caused by soil leaching from fertilizer use rather than letting ground go fallow.

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