Nocturnal Leg Cramping; Restless Leg Syndrome; Magnesium Deficiency

Question

My wife deals with nighttime leg cramps. We have tried a couple of things that seem to work, but what do you suggest?

Answer

Nocturnal leg cramping is not the same thing as restless legs syndrome, which is what most people think it is. It is actually caused by a magnesium deficiency, and Magnesium deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency in our population.

The way that you can correct this, is by taking something very inexpensive. It is called chelated magnesium. These are organic magnesium salts. The only one you don’t want to get is magnesium citrate, because magnesium citrate is going to have a laxative effect, and will not fix the leg issue.

Magnesium gluconate, glycinate, malate, or taurate, are the salts that will alleviate leg craps. The dosage is 200 to 300 milligrams at bedtime. After a week, increase the dosage by 50%. And If you have to, you go up by another 50%. So somewhere between 200 and 400 milligrams of chelated magnesium, things should settle down.

There are going to be people out there saying, “She should take potassium.” This is nonsense. Potassium depletion is very, very rare unless you’re taking loop diuretics, with dehydration.

Magnesium deficiency is the most probably culprit. Magnesium replacement will fix her problem.

David S Klein, MD

David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM was born in Washington, DC, and was raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland with degrees in Chemistry and Psychology. Medical School was completed at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, followed by Internship in General Surgery at the University of North Carolina and Residency in Anesthesiology at the Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Dr Klein has been practicing medicine since 1983, concentrating in Pain Medicine, Minimally Invasive Medicine and Surgery, and Neuroendocrinology. Earning Board Certification in Anesthesiology, Dr. Klein was elected Fellow in the American College of Anesthesiology, and he was elected Fellow in the American College of Pain Medicine. He is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida, School of Medicine. He has focused his private practice on treating patients with hormone imbalance issues, nutritional deficiency related medical problems as well as pain related issues and impairment. With a highly-complex, CLIA licensed laboratory in-house, he has been able to provide rapid-turn around analysis efficiently and cost-effectively. Lecturing extensively nationally as well as internationally, Dr. Klein has authored many articles on topics relating to pain, injury and nutritionally modulated illness. His radio show, “Pain Free Living,” received top ratings during the 6 years it was on the air. Currently practicing in Longwood, Florida, Dr. Klein practices entirely in the office setting.

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