Many people have horrible leg cramps and cannot take quinine because it is being taken off the market. I am 70 years old and have suffered with leg cramps all my life. Years ago, I used to take OTC quinine tablets, but tonic water never worked for me. A long time ago I found that 250-milligram tablets of magnesium at bedtime worked like a charm in warding off leg cramps and restless leg syndrome.
Others have also reported that magnesium can help relieve leg cramps. Taken before bedtime, it may also help insomniacs fall asleep. Too much can cause diarrhea, though.
When I was teaching elementary school, I spent many sleep-deprived nights because I was awakened with leg cramps so severe they took my breath away. I mentioned this to my mother, and she said, “Take calcium-magnesium.” I was already taking calcium, but her doctor had told her it must be the combination supplement. I took this with a grain of salt, thinking, “I’ll try it; it won’t work.” As you might have guessed, it did work. I continue to take calcium-magnesium each night and no longer have cramps. One exception: I bowled six games in succession and later that afternoon awoke from a nap with an excruciating cramp in my leg. I took three calcium-magnesium tablets with a glass of water, and the cramps were soon gone. Others might like to know about this.
Thanks for the suggestion. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are all essential minerals for muscle function. Other readers have also had success using magnesium or calcium supplements to prevent leg cramps. Taking them together is a good idea.
I’m 47 years old and play basketball. My calves seem to cramp almost every time I play. I stretch them for about 20 minutes beforehand, but it doesn’t help. Would this be due to a lack of calcium or potassium? Please help. I’m sick of hobbling around for days after I play.
Muscle cramps can be caused by all sorts of things. Lack of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium may be responsible. In such cases, replenishing the minerals may prevent the cramps. A former football player with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers told us that the best home remedy is a jigger of pickle juice. You might also want to do your calf stretches after you play, in addition to your exercises before the game.
My husband had severe leg cramps for years. While he was at the eye doctor, the receptionist excused herself, saying, “I’ve got leg cramps. I’ve gotta grab the dill pickle juice!” When my husband got leg cramps a few nights later, he grabbed the dill pickle jar and poured himself a swig of juice. Almost instantly, the cramps were gone! Once we were out of pickle juice, and he took a tablespoon of mustard. VOILA! He got the same result! Now he keeps little packets of mustard in the car and the truck just in case.
Thanks for sharing the remedy. Leg cramp victims may well benefit.
I thought my serious leg cramps were just old age creeping up on me. I handled them with additional calcium and magnesium supplements, and also with tonic water and mustard. It was only when I was diagnosed with celiac disease (I was so anemic that I had to go to the ER) that I realized I was not absorbing calcium. Since I started the gluten-free diet for celiac, I haven’t had any leg cramps at all.
People with celiac disease must avoid gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley. It triggers a reaction that harms the lining of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of crucial nutrients, including calcium and other minerals.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic