What do you recommend for nighttime leg cramps?
Q. Dear Terry, “What do you recommend for nighttime leg cramps?” — Kathie P., Green Bay, WI
A. Dear Kathie, While leg cramps can arise from a variety of reasons, I believe certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies may play a role.
I think that vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc would be great additions to your daily routine. I strongly recommend looking for vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) in combination with magnesium glycinate chelate and zinc glycinate chelate. P-5-P is the biologically active form of vitamin B6. Many people (some estimate up to 30% of the population) cannot fully utilize B-vitamins from food and supplements because these forms of B-vitamins must be converted into the active form before they will function. By using the form of vitamin B6 that is identical to the kind your body utilizes, you bypass this problem entirely. In addition to optimizing vitamin B6 metabolism, the magnesium in the glycinate form delivers a good dose of magnesium to help with muscle relaxation and resistance to nerve excitability. Zinc is an essential mineral that works synergistically with magnesium and P-5-P. I recommend taking 10 mg of vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), 100 mg of magnesium (as magnesium glycinate), and 5 mg of zinc up to four times daily.
Additionally, iron deficiencies can also cause leg cramping and other related issues like restless leg syndrome. To replenish iron levels safely and effectively, I recommend iron in a glycinate chelated form. Because iron is a mineral, and minerals can be difficult to absorb, a “chelated” form makes it easier for the body to recognize and utilize. That way the iron can be transported directly into the cells of our body, so it can get to work right away. But it is also a gentle form of iron, and does not cause stomach upset or constipation.
I think iron functions best when taken with other chelated minerals like magnesium, zinc, and copper. Generally, if someone is deficient in one mineral, they are probably deficient in several. I would take iron (as ferrous bisglycinate chelate), magnesium (as magnesium bisglycinate chelate), zinc (as zinc bisglycinate chelate), and copper (as copper bisglycinate chelate) once or twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally