Leg Cramps - How Much Magnesium? Potassium?

Samaro ..
on 7/29/10 11:03 pm
I have been battling leg and feet cramps for several weeks and it's about driving me up a wall now.  I'm usually one who tells people that the primary culprits of leg cramps are: dehydration; low magnesium; low potassium; low calcium, or any combination of those.  So I have a good working knowledge here.

However, I just can't seem to get a handle on these this time.  I'm hydrated (over 1 gallon/day).  My calcium levels are good (9.1).  My potassium levels are fair (4.0 on a 3.5-5.3 scale) so I can increase that a bit.  What I don't have are magnesium levels.

So my questions are: 

How much magnesium citrate can I take per day?  I'm currently taking 800mg/day split into 2 doses. 

How much OTC potassium can I safely take?  I know this one is a bit trickier because too much potassium is dangerous.  I am currently taking 4 OTC tablets/day.  That is 396mg.  When I asked my PCP for a prescription he said to increase my current intake by one more tablet.  Sigh. 

There was a discussion a couple of years ago about how to translate the OTC strength of potassium into the equivalent of prescription strength but I don't seem to have that in my bookmarks.  Does anybody know this info?  Michelle (Vitalady) are you reading?

on 7/30/10 12:59 am
Revision on 06/21/13
Hi Sam,
I was told by my PCP , that the amount of mag was okay until you start to develop diarrhea from it.

She had freaked when she found out how much mag I was taking, as I have battled with mag levels all along. They are finally coming up with Crystal Magnesium by KAL. I also take 9 mag of Spring Valley from Walmart stretched along throught out the day.

I take prescription Potassium and my prescription plan covers it, just make sure it is the capsule so it dissolves quickly. If you have a prescription plan check into that option. It is call Micro K, but they fill it as generic.  I take 2 in the a.m. and 2 in the pm and they are 10 meq each., so 40 meq a day keeps my potassium in a good spot.

It really all goes back to what the labs are. Will your PCP or surgeon cooperate and order  them every 8 weeks until it is right ? 

 Revision #2 Dr John Rabkin June 21, 2013; First Revision DS - Dr Maguire
  5-18-09; First DS 7-15-2003 Dr Clark Warden = Third time is the charm   



Samaro ..
on 7/30/10 8:00 am

Thanks Ginger.  I think I'll be looking at getting a differen brand of magnesium to see if that will help.  As for a prescription for potassium, my PCP wasn't very helpful there because my potassium levels are good on my labs with the OTC potassium I have been taking.

T D.
on 7/30/10 3:00 am
As a pre-op I took Calm which I purchased at health food stores.
The directions from my SIL's doctor were to take it  in a few ounces of ho****er which you then cooled to drink.
start at 1/4 teaspoon, increasing til relief or diarhea.
My DH and I take 1 heaping t, my SIL takes 1 T nightly.

So I put half a coffee cup of water in the microwave to boil, then add Calm, stir, sip as tea.
DH puts half a coffee cup of water in the microwave to boil, adds Calm and 1 ice cube, gulps it down.

available lots of online places at a variety of prices.

Also in the winter I sleep with a heating pad at the bottom of the bed (we have the heat off at night).
Century Club: Thanksgiving Day 25November2010  I am truly grateful
Diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and GERD resolved along the way. 
Onederland:  Citizen & permanent resident 17Dec2010  
'Normal' BMI range reached 26July2011
18 Month Surgiversary 148# BMI 23  26Nov2011

Samaro ..
on 7/30/10 8:02 am

Thanks Tammy.  I've never heard of this so thanks for the heads up.

Patty T.
on 7/30/10 5:36 am - Keizer, OR
Pre-op, but I'll share my experiences. I take a daily Lasix and have had to up my daily Rx Potassium to 3 honking pills rather than 2. I used to get the capsules, but now my pharmacy is substituting tabs. I'm at work or I'd give you the dose...

But I still get leg cramps at times.

What works absolutely BEST for me is G2. I used to do Gatorade, but found I get the same benefit re the electrolytes with G2 and get less sugar. I don't get it often, but if I have leg cramps for 2 days running, it's time for a few bottles.

I've also heard people swear by dill pickle juice, but I haven't tried it myself.

Adequate hydration is also important, but you know that.

Along the line of the heating pad in the lower part of the bed, I also find that wearing leggings and socks to bed helps as well.

Samaro ..
on 7/30/10 8:41 am

Thanks Patty.  I have recently added Gatorade hoping that the electrolytes would be more readily absorbed.  Maybe I need to increase my intake to get more benefit.

Today I am adding tonic water too because the quinine in it has helped in the past.  I'm going to get tot he bottom of this one way or another. lol

Allison Mupas
on 7/30/10 7:03 am
How are your Vitamin B12 and D levels? Those can have muscle cramps, spasm and weakness as a side effect of having low levels!
Samaro ..
on 7/30/10 7:58 am
On July 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM Pacific Time, Allison Mupas wrote:
How are your Vitamin B12 and D levels? Those can have muscle cramps, spasm and weakness as a side effect of having low levels!

My B-12 is 1153 so it's OK.  My Vit D is 58 which is up from my last labs and I'm in the process of raising it more.

This is part of why it's making me crazy.  All of the usual suspects are looking good, with the possible (likely?) exception of magnesium but I don't have a level on that so I can only guess at this being the problem.

Thanks Allison.

on 7/31/10 3:47 am - Manteca, CA
DS on 05/19/09 with
I heard that magnesium oxide is for leg cramps? Has anyone else heard this? I was going to post this question myself. I am presently taking Ropinirole (generic for Requip), which had been working for a couple of years, but in the last few weeks having more leg/foot cramps. Since my potassium is in the normal range, my PCP says to continue as is, but magnesium of some form or other has been on my mind.




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