Started having leg cramps daily!?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 03, 2013 at 4:19 AM

I've been Paleo/primal for over 6 weeks now, off 2 blood pressure meds and all crohn's meds. Started most of the supplementation recommended in Perfect Health Diet but I've needed potassium before for leg cramps. Now I'm taking potassium once daily and finding I need more in the evenings for leg craps that send me shooting out of chair/bed in agony. All grassed meat, pastured pork & free range chicken and eggs. Tons of veggies esp. greens, very very little fruit (an apple or some berries most days), grass fed butter & homemade Greek yogurt or olive oil/balsamic salad dressing and less than a 1/4 cup whole raw almonds a few times a week. What am I missing? I only eat a small lunch and good sized dinner because I'm not hungry doing Paleo. Loosing weight slowly but surely I'm female 43 5'10 and just reached the 190's after 2 years over 220 Any ideas? I'm taking potassium, magnesium, d3, b12, k2 etc. Just keep popping potassium?



on March 03, 2013
at 01:38 PM

Magnesium here too.



on March 03, 2013
at 08:49 AM

Perhaps have a look into zinc deficiency.



on March 03, 2013
at 08:35 AM

Could be nightshade intolerance? Or overexercising?

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8 Answers


on March 03, 2013
at 09:32 AM

If I don???t take more than the RDA of magnesium I get muscle-cramps. When I started the paleo diet I found I had to double my dose of magnesium to prevent these symptoms. As well as causing muscle relaxation magnesium also places itself and potassium inside the muscle cells and the other two electrolytes, calcium and sodium, outside the cells: in other words it puts everything where it???s meant to be. After reading Dr Carolyn Dean (website at http://drcarolyndean.com and she???s around on youtube) and The Magnesium Factor by Dr Mildrid Seelig, I got the nerve to take more than the RDA of magnesium and boy am I glad I did because those cramps HURT as I???m sure you know. As far as I can remember, the Seelig book doesn???t mention cramp specifically but I drew confidence from what she said overall to increase my dosage according to my own experience instead of the official RDA. Seelig (now deceased) was a medical researcher and strikes me as a bit more firmly rooted in science than Dean does.

If you put muscle cramps or charley horses into a search engine along with the word magnesium you???ll get a lot of links.

Here are some guesses as to why paleo can increase the need for magnesium. The metabolization of both fat and protein use up magnesium and some say that they also decrease absorption of it in the gut. Also, it???s necessary for the activity of over 300 different enzymes in the human body and perhaps paleo gets everything ticking over more efficiently and using up magnesium. I???m afraid I???ve no references to give you offhand but this information is easily found around on the net.

I take Angstrom Liquid Magnesium 9000ppm, which is almost 100% absorbed so you take very much less of it than you would take of other supplements. As you probably know magnesium oxide isn???t worth taking at all. At http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-4-supplement-wisely Chris Kresser recommends magnesium glycinate or malate.

When I have been sweating a lot I also find that I get cramp if I don???t take surprisingly large quantities of water and salt.

I hope something here is useful to you and wish you the best of luck settling your cramps.



on March 03, 2013
at 01:38 PM

Magnesium here too.


on March 03, 2013
at 04:23 AM

Sounds like you are dehydrated...water! :) Good luck!


on March 05, 2013
at 08:29 AM

heres a whole blog on the subject..


soaking in epsom salts might help ..as well as increase salt intake- and supplement your diet with magnesium rich foods. Id see a doctor and discuss my supplementation regime. It could be youre taking too much of something or maybe too little-in the mean time you can also try posting your question over at PHD. Paul will surely have some good advice on how you should proceed and will be able to point you in the right direction on how to combat this issue.


on March 04, 2013
at 08:02 AM

I drink three liter water bottles a day of phour salts. http://www.phmiracleliving.com/p-221-phour-salts.aspx

This is a great way to take in potassium, magnesium, calcium and bicarbonate soda all day long. You would be getting water and the minerals.


on March 03, 2013
at 09:26 PM

Try adding a calcium supplement to your daily routine, or a club soda...



on March 03, 2013
at 07:58 PM

Potassium in pills is useless, since it's just 99 mg. What you need for potassium is beet greens (most potassium in any food), and/or potassium salt from Amazon. Although it's possible that D3 and Magnesium will be more useful. Also, check your B6, B1, B12, folate, and iron. People with gut issues usually can't absorb these well, EVEN if they eat a lot of foods that contain them. Additionally, the cramps could be because you're losing weight, so lots of bad stuff are released in your bloodstream (it's normal when losing weight).



on March 03, 2013
at 07:54 PM

what crohn's meds were you on?

just wondering because i have UC and all the meds are the same. i noticed certain meds give me more neuropathy/restless legs syndrome than others. i still have permanent neuropathy/RLS in my left foot from prednisone and flagyl/cipro even though i've been off them.

i use magnesium oil for my feet/legs and massage it after my morning shower and before i go to bed. this helps the muscle twitches.


on March 03, 2013
at 02:49 PM

I experienced a similar thing around 6 weeks, I started to make sure I used a little extra sea salt on my meals and also re-introduced a few berries each day. I also take a multi-vitamin and a cal-mag-potassium supplement. I haven't had any leg cramps since and that was about a month ago.

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