While the Causes of Muscle Cramps may seem mysterious and random when they happen to you, there is actually a very good explanation for what causes muscle cramps and an easy way to remedy them when you understand the reason behind them in the first place. One of the most common causes of muscle spasms is an electrolyte imbalance.
Electrolytes are substances like:
These allow electrical transmissions to flow through the body. And these electrical transmissions are the key, really, to life because every second of every day, your body has electrical currents flowing through it- even when you are sleeping. And every single electrical current triggers millions and even billions of individual cells to have massive electrolyte changes in order to cause muscle movement and thought to occur. This brilliantly coordinated activity that occurs day in and day out is 100% dependent upon the presence of electrolytes (really just specific nutrients) from the foods that you eat. Any lack of nutrients and the system ends up not functioning as it should. And this malfunctioning is one of the main causes of muscle cramps.
Each time an electrical impulse occurs, the cells take calcium from the blood into draws it inside the cell. This causes what we experience as a muscle contraction or a muscle movement, and simply sitting still causes thousands of contractions to occur every minute. Once the contraction is complete, magnesium that lives inside the cell is used in order to push the calcium back out of the cell. This then relaxes the muscle- and this is what causes muscle cramps most of the time.
You see, the body keeps the levels of calcium and magnesium in the bloodstream extremely constant, so there is almost always a ready supply of calcium available for muscle contraction, but even though there is nearly always plenty of magnesium in the BLOOD, the vast majority of magnesium is in the CELLS- and this is why Magnesium Blood Levels are almost always normal and give almost no information about what is going on in the body.
When you don't have enough magnesium, then the calcium may not be fully pushed out of the cells, leaving the cell in a partial or complete state of contraction. This is not significant if it occurs in a small number of cells. But when this occurs on a large scale, then it is one of the causes of muscle cramps. And what causes muscle cramps, for the most part, is a deficiency of magnesium.
This also makes sense because it is well-known that long-distance athletes use a LOT of magnesium while exercising, and there was a study done on these athletes with muscle cramps and it was found that their blood electrolyte levels were completely normal. But Blood Magnesium Levels are almost always normal except in SEVERE cases.
Muscle Cramps at Night, also called by the medical term Systremma is a common problem and also occurs because of magnesium deficiency and possibly Vitamin E Deficiency. You see, during the day is when you have the majority of your muscle contraction moving around and doing things. Your calcium needs overwhelm your magnesium needs during the day, but if you get muscle cramps at night, it is almost a sure sign of magnesium deficiency. At night is when you have the MOST amount of relaxation and therefore, the highest need for magnesium.
Remember that Calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes muscles to relax. So one of the main causes of muscle cramps at night is not having sufficient magnesium to eliminate the calcium that is inside the cells. Insomnia is actually a similar issue as well. But instead of the inability of the muscles to relax, it is the inability of the nervous system to slow down because of lack of magnesium!
Is another cause of Muscle Cramps at night. There have been several studies not only pitting Vitamin E against placebo, but also pitting it against the most common drug for this condition- the antimalarial drug Quinine.
But it seems that Vitamin E is superior to the best drugs for nighttime muscle cramps- and one study recommended it as the best treatment. Between 300 IU's to 400 IU's per day were used effectively in these studies.
When taking Vitamin E, you should NEVER use synthetic vitamin e, and you should ALWAYS choose Vitamin E in the form of 'Tocopherols' or 'Mixed Tocopherols' which are from a food based natural source.
There are several drugs that can be causes of muscle cramps as well. These drugs are:
It is the diuretics that are particularly of interest because diuretics have a known action of eliminating potassium- as well as Magnesium Depletion! I discuss this magnesium wasting phenomenon of diuretics on another page as being the main cause of Sudden Death in Heart Failure Patients.
And Signs of Magnesium Deficiency are literally everywhere. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The The Magnesium Miracle, believes that we literally have an epidemic of magnesium deficiency and that it is causing a HUGE number of problems that we end up perceiving as anything from:
and many many other chronic health problems. And in fact, the 'incurable' disease of Fibromyalgia may simply be a series of tiny 'subclinical' muscle cramps going on throughout the body. See the Fibromyalgia and Magnesium page for a SURPRISING finding related to muscle cramps!
So, if you have muscle cramps or muscle spasms, one of the primaryCauses of Muscle Cramps is a magnesium deficiency, and if you follow the instructions on the Magnesium Dosage page and take a look at the Epsom Salt Uses page for a Super Quick way to possibly relieve your muscle cramps- it just may be an easy way to relieve your muscle spasms- and you may even get help for some of your other problems at the same time!
Causes of Muscle Cramps Resources
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Calcium for Muscle Cramps is NOT effective
Magnesium Works for Muscle Cramps
Vitamin E for Muscle Cramps at Night (Systremma)
Vitamin D Fact Sheet
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