Vitamin Supplements for Leg Cramps and Natural Muscle Recovery

There are many vitamin supplements for leg cramps and natural muscle recovery solutions on the market. Why might you need them? In some cases foods might be enough for natural muscle recovery but in other circumstances vitamin supplements for leg cramps are the fastest solutions for eliminating this common problem. You may even get rid of those nasty cramps for good.

When you flex your muscles, your body needs calcium in order to produce a contraction. When you relax your muscles, it requires magnesium instead. When your heart pumps, calcium is needed for the contraction to increase blood pressure, while magnesium is required for the relaxation of the muscle, which reduces blood pressure. When you sweat, you lose not only water but key electrolytes. When people think of hydration they tend to think of water alone but some hormones regulate water and hydration with the help of key minerals called electrolytes. When the body is dehydrated of water and minerals, we get thirsty.

What are Electrolytes?

  • Minerals in your body that have an electric charge, positive or negative. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help balance the amount of water in your body as well as balance your body's acid/base (pH) level.

  • Electrolytes keep us hydrated, with proper water and blood volume. Excess hydration is released in urine.

  • The main electrolytes are Potassium+, Calcium+, Magnesium+, Sodium -, Chloride - , phosphate - and Bicarbonate -

When Do We Lose Electrolytes?

  • During daily normal muscle contractions

  • Through normal process of heartbeat and heart rhythm

  • Through sweat, vomiting, urine, and diarrhea

When you exercise, your muscle fibers are tearing and repairing themselves. During the repair process, the muscle builds and produces lactic acid. Acid is buffered alkalizing electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that help maintain alkaline pH and hydration, first in the intestines and then in the rest of the blood and tissues. Electrolytes include magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium and bicarbonate. Taking a high potency multi-mineral dietary supplement based in electrolytes significantly increases the pH of the blood and urine. Adequate levels of magnesium, potassium and calcium in the blood are beneficial to address muscle cramping, charley horses and lactic acid buildup. Atypical muscle contraction, such as arrhythmia, is also reduced with magnesium.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center reports that the cellular pH in resting skeletal muscle is typically 7.15.2 During exercise, as alkalizing minerals are utilized, pH falls in proportion to the intensity of the exercise. Lactic acid concentrations along with carbon dioxide contribute to the more acidic pH, which falls as low as 6.57.2 Electrolyte minerals are required to normalize the pH following exercise. If a balance of magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium are not replenished adequately, this leaves electrolyte deficits that can contribute to abnormal muscle function. Based on the normal physiology of the skeletal muscles, as well as the heart muscle, muscles require a substantial concentration of available alkalizing minerals to fire and function smoothly, maintain regular blood flow to the cell, and reduce tension. In an acidic environment, the inflammatory response of muscles can lead to lack of recovery and other symptoms including pain, numbness, and even paralysis (tetany). For instance, increasing potassium and magnesium levels through supplementation can reduce muscle pain and tension in people with Gitelman’s Syndrome, a genetic metabolic alkalosis characterized by low blood potassium, low urinary calcium and low blood magnesium3, as well as people with normal mineral physiology. Thiazide diuretics can also cause these same muscle symptoms.3

Signs of Electrolyte Deficiency:

  • Charley Horses and leg cramps

  • Slow workout recovery

  • Constipation

  • Kidney stones

  • Heart Palpitations

  • Seizure disorder

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Symptoms of Fibromyalgia - muscle pain

You are at risk for having an electrolyte deficiency if you drink alcohol, regularly vomit or have diarrhea, take a diuretic, do not consume several servings of green veggies per day, or sweat without replenishing your minerals. Most sports recovery drinks do not supply sufficient potassium and magnesium to replenish levels. Additionally, Potassium is the only mineral that is not legally sold as a dietary supplement in levels that represent the RDA or minimum daily value recommendation. The RDA of potassium is 4700mg per day, whereas the highest amount allowed to be sold in a capsule is 99mg. Fortunately, Isotonix Vitamin and Mineral supplementation all contain an essential electrolyte base so you get the added minerals for absorption, and in a much higher amount can be consumed than what’s available in pill form.

Electrolyte deficiencies are not the only reason why our muscles don’t recover easily from sports. Branch chain amino acids promote healthy muscle growth and muscle retention
and help reduce muscle fatigue. Certain antioxidants such as pycnogenol and astaxanthin have also been shown in research to hasten recovery time so you can get on with building muscle, and enjoy our days off. Although not in isotonic form, astaxanthin supports muscle endurance & performance by protecting skeletal muscle from oxidative stress generated by physical activity.

For people who are not athletes but need a more alkaline diet, Greens supplements are the best way to go to increase alkaline positive ion minerals and phytonutrients. This one is isotonic as well - having the same pH as the body fluids therefore easily absorbed.

Solving electrolyte deficiency can be very easy – but it won’t happen on its own. Many of us have been told to avoid over-consumption of salt, sodium or chloride, but the doctors rarely tell you to load up on potassium and magnesium as well. Carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks can have a significant role on energy balance during exercise. One study looked at the effect of oral carbohydrate-electrolyte supplementation on sports performance and cardiovascular status of national level male athletes during exercise and recovery. Results shows significant improvements in total endurance time, heart rate responses, and blood lactic acid during exercise at 70 percent max after the supplementation. Significant improvement in cardiovascular responses, blood glucose and lactic acid removal were noted during recovery following the electrolyte drink6.

To sum all this up, every time you lose body fluids in excess, you ought to be thinking about how to replenish not only water, but especially the minerals that regulate our hydration- potassium and magnesium. The beset vitamin supplements for leg cramps are isotonix formulations that are based in magnesium, potassium and calcium in order to assist with entry into the cells. In addition to these essential minerals, it’s necessary to increase alkaline foods in our diet such as Greens as well as a flavonoid product called Astaxanthin is highly effective for natural muscle recovery7.

References

  1. www.chemistry.tutorvista.com

  2. http://www.umc.edu/Education/Schools/Medicine/Basic_Science/Physiology_and_Biophysics/Core_Facilities(Physiology)/Physical_Exercise_-_Skeletal_Muscle_pH.aspx

  3. Yildiz M, Yildiz BS, Karakoyun S, Cakal S, Sahin A, Aladag NB. The effects of serum potassium and magnesium levels in a patient with Gitelman's syndrome on the timing of ventricular wall motion and the pattern of ventricular strain and torsion. Echocardiography. 2013 Feb;30(2):E47-50.

  4. Johnson CJ, Peterson DR, Smith EK. Myocardial tissue concentrations of magnesium and potassium in men dying suddenly from ischemic heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1979 May;32(5):967-70

  5. http://www.easy-immune-health.com/causes-of-muscle-cramps.html

  6. Khanna GL, Manna I. Supplementary effect of carbohydrate-electrolyte drink on sports performance, lactate removal & cardiovascular response of athletes. Indian J Med Res. 2005 May;121(5):665-9.

  7. Aoi, W., et al. Astaxanthin improves muscle lipid metabolism in exercise via inhibitory effect of oxidative CPT I modification. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Com. 366:892–897, 2008.

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Dr. Millie Lytle