Solution to Leg Cramps...Magnesium?

Are you suffering from leg cramps and wondering what's wrong with your body? Why can some people finish a marathon without a single cramp while I struggle to go past 25k? I've experience it before and the worse was during Malakoff 2009 when I had cramps on both my thighs, calves and even feet. It brought me down to earth and I kept on wondering to myself, is my body not built to run long distances? Ever since then, I had told myself that I would never complete a full marathon and I had limit myself to nothing more than 21km.

So is there any hope for people like me out there? I might have just stumbled upon a solution thanks to advice from some friends. I may be suffering from a MAGNESIUM-deficiency. From internet search, I found out that symptoms of magnesium-deficiency are anxiety, eye-lid and muscle twitches, fatigue and headache. It gets worse if you are a coffee-lover, smoker, diabetic or alcoholic.

We often thought of potassium, sodium, calcium and other minerals for electrolyte-replacement but often neglected magnesium. In fact, we're more likely to run out of magnesium than any of the other electrolytes mentioned. So what is magnesium's role and why is it so important?

Think of a key and a lock. Normally stored in muscle and bone, magnesium acts like a key that unlocks muscle cells, allowing potassium and calcium to move in and out when needed as a muscle does its job. Without adequate levels of any of these three nutrients, the muscle becomes irritable, says Dr. McLean. "It's a crude analogy, but to keep the muscle cell adequately healthy and alive, you need to get potassium into the cell, and you need to have magnesium to open up the door to let the potassium in," he explains. Make no mistake: Both potassium and calcium are also vital to this process. It's just that the body generally has adequate amounts of these two electrolytes on hand, says Dr. Brilla. If the body is going to get low on any electrolyte, it is most likely to be magnesium, she says.

Without much convincing, I visited Guardian at Queensbay Mall after picking up the PBIM bibs and got myself a bottle of Blackmore's Bio Magnesium Plus at RM41.90. I'm not setting up high hopes yet but I would really wish to complete next year's Malakoff below 3 hours i.e. without cramps. Let's wait n see...

Alternatively you may start on a Magnesium-Rich diet but that would not be as effective as most of our food are processed.

Source: http://www.mg12.info/articles/cramps.html

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Johnathan said...

So how was it, did Mg help? Me too cramped badly in 2008 & 2009 Pg Malakoff 26km. 2010 registered but skipped due to hip injury.

Shaun Yap said...

Hi Jonathan,

So far I just tried for 1 wk so I can't really judge yet. I have yet to do any long runs.

Im also using the Shotz eletrolyte tablets at the same time. I felt that it quenches our thirst and rehydrate better than isotonic drinks, minus the calories. These tabs contain ~20mg of magnesium, so it might help as well.

Problem is, we sweat too much and did not properly replace our electrolyte loses, so it gets worse and worse. Malakoff 2008 I got cramps at 23km, Malakoff 2009 I got it at 18km...