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RESEARCH REVIEW  /  Nocturnal Leg Cramps

1 FEB 2019

The Real Cause of Night Leg Cramps

This article examines the cause of nocturnal leg cramps according to the latest studies in neurology and physiology, and natural methods of treating nocturnal leg cramps. Unlike typical muscle cramps, nocturnal leg cramps are often caused by a neuro-muscular imbalance and nutrient deficiencies.


Doctors, neurologists, and physiologists have long been stumped by ​nighttime cramps.

Referred to as "Nocturnal Cramps" this condition is exceedingly common in aging adults and athletes.1


Studies show around 1/3 of adults aged 60 or more experience nocturnal leg cramps, and nearly one-half of those aged 80 years or more. Furthermore, of those affected nearly 40% experienced nighttime episodes several days per week.2


Nocturnal leg cramps are characterized by episodes of painful, sudden, intense, involuntary contractions of muscles in the legs, feet and other extremities in the middle of the night.


Unlike typical muscle cramps, nocturnal leg cramps often do not resolve naturally over time.

cause of nocturnal leg cramps

Fig. 1. Musculature of the Lower Leg

Typical Muscle Cramps vs. Nocturnal Cramps

Typical Muscle Cramps

  • Painful, intermittent episodes of muscle contractions

  • Often caused by physical exercise or unaccustomed vigorous exercise

  • Condition self-resolves over time

  • Symptoms onset during period of inactivity or extreme hyperactivity

Nocturnal Cramps

  • Painful, episodes of muscle contractions lasting up to a few minutes during the nighttime (onset of symptoms during sleep)

  • Disturbs sleep patterns (Circadian Rhythm)

  • Results in lasting discomfort/tenderness which may persist for several hours

  • ​Usually affect the thighs, calves and muscles of the foot

  • Condition ​does not self-resolve over time

  • Caused by nervous system malfunction & key nutrient deficiencies >> magnesium supplementation alone will not resolve symptoms

  • Requires a "re-setting" of the natural sleep cycle

According to the esteemed, British Medical Journal (BMJ), a viable pharmacological option for nocturnal cramps “remains elusive.Quinine is only moderately effective against nocturnal leg cramps, and there are significant concerns about its safety — leading most doctors to believe the risks outweigh the potential benefits.3


And exercise (physical) therapy methods have yet to be examined in controlled studies.


This leaves those affected by nocturnal cramps with no long-term, safe treatment options.

That is, until now.

Recent studies crossing-over the categories of neurology, physiology, and sleep health show promise for finally conquering nocturnal leg cramps.1

Crossing Over: How a Multi-Disciplinary Approach Could Finally End Nocturnal Cramps


In our exercise therapy practice, we commonly work with clients who are experiencing painful muscle cramps — usually new clients unaccustomed to vigorous exercise. Though addressing an underlying magnesium deficiency often resolves muscle cramps, nocturnal cramps present a much different problem and group of symptoms.
4

Nocturnal leg cramps present a different group of symptoms than typical muscle cramps.


We always opt for physiological (exercise/stretching) methods and addressing lifestyle factors before moving on to any kind of pharmaceutical or natural supplement intervention.

But nocturnal leg cramps require a different approach.

Our experience working with clients suffering from this condition prompted this in depth research review.


This is exactly the kind of problem area where we thrive.

Issues and conditions that fall between the cracks of conventional medicine, exercise therapy, and natural supplements. 

In this Research Review edition, we explain why nocturnal leg cramps are caused by a completely different condition that typical muscle cramps, and what leading neurophysiological studies show could be the cause and solution for this debilitating condition.

Magnesium Deficiency and Muscle Cramps

Recent estimates show that up to 80% of adults are deficient in magnesium.4


This is due to several factors, including:

  • De-mineralization of ground soil from mass agricultural 6
  • Reduced nutrient density in modern diets (greater reliance on pre-packaged foods)
  • Increased magnesium excretion (reduced absorption) caused by stress, caffeine and sugar intake, and certain pharmaceuticals 10


The alarming aspect of this statistic isn't the high percentage — it's that these figures are based on the minimal amount necessary to prevent disease!

That's right — the RDI (Referenced Daily Intake) figures you see on the backs of nutrition labels are only meant to ward off disease. They aren't designed to facilitate optimal health, let alone improve it.

This means that virtually everyone would benefit from increasing magnesium intake.

Since whole food is clearly not sufficient, it makes sense to use a magnesium supplement.
But not all are created equal. 

And for those suffering from nocturnal cramps, a specific type of magnesium should be used, and it should be administered immediately before bed time. We'll come back to that shortly.

Here are the common signs of a magnesium deficiency:

  • Muscle pain and cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness and sleep loss
  • Mood fluctuations and anxiety
  • Confusion and memory problems


If you suffer from nocturnal leg cramps, you almost certainly have a magnesium deficiency.
But that isn't the only cause.

People who suffer from nocturnal leg cramps have other key nutrient deficiencies and neuro-muscular dysfunctions.

That's why magnesium supplementation alone won't solve nighttime cramping.

Nocturnal leg cramps are associated with three specific conditions that must be addressed.

We refer to this group of conditions as Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance (N.N.I. for short).


Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance (NNI):
The Root Cause of Nocturnal Leg Cramps


Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance (NNI) consists of three interrelated conditions.

These conditions are linked together, creating a positive feedback loop. This makes solving nocturnal leg cramps extremely difficult.

Until now, we didn't have a model for explaining why nighttime leg cramps are so persistent. Or how to solve them. 

Now, we do.

Here are the three conditions of NNI.
All three of these must be addressed to break the cycle and get relief from nocturnal leg cramps:

nervous system malfunction and nocturnal leg cramps

Fig. 2. Original Illustration of Human Nervous System. Experts believe nocturnal leg cramps are caused by a neuromuscular malfunction.

1. Primary Magnesium Deficiency

As we discussed, virtually anyone who suffers from cramps has a magnesium deficiency.
So magnesium supplementation should be used.

Magnesium supplements demonstrated positive effects on cramps in studies (and in our experience working with exercise therapy clients).

But for nocturnal leg cramps, magnesium therapy alone has proven to be ineffective. 
(reference: Family Practice, February 2014). 11


Magnesium is an important piece of the puzzle, but it won't solve the problem by itself.


For nocturnal leg cramps, Magnesium Glycinate should be used immediately before bed (in combination with the key nutrients discussed below).

Magnesium Glycinate is a combination of two separate compounds: the mineral Magnesium, and the amino acid Glycine.
Glycine has a natural calming effect, making it the perfect supplement to take before bedtime.

Unlike cheaper forms such as Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Glycinate is readily absorbed into the intestinal walls. The prevents the "laxative effect" that many people experience when taking cheap magnesium supplements.


2. Key Sleep Nutrient Deficiencies

There are three other sleep nutrient deficiencies common in people who lose sleep to nocturnal leg cramps.
These three safe, proven supplements can be administered prior to bed to combat nocturnal leg cramps.

  • 1
    Vitamin B6 (Pyrodoxine)  is involved in over 100 biological processes in the body. Commonly known for its role in food metabolism and Serotonin production, B6 can be found in meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds — and is a common added ingredient to fortified cereals and grains.
    Studies have shown that poor sleepers have lower intake levels of Vitamin B6. 
    12

    Because B6 is a water soluble vitamin and is metabolized quickly, it should be taken immediate prior to bed for nocturnal leg cramps.

  • 2
    GABA & 5-HTP are two amino acids that support relaxation and health sleep habits. Though these two amino acids are popular and proven supplements alone, a study published in Behavioral Brain Research (2016) demonstrated they have a synergistic effect on sleep quality and sleep cycle architecture when combined. 15
    Researchers from the study concluded:

    "Our available evidence suggests that the GABA/5-HTP mixture modulates both GABAergic and serotonergic signaling. Moreover, the sleep architecture can be controlled by the regulation of GABA receptor and GABA content with 5-HTP.” 15

  • 3
    Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound secreted by the pineal gland in the human body, commonly used in supplement form to reduce symptoms of “Jet Lag” and fall asleep faster.

    In clinical studies, melatonin supplements have clearly demonstrated positive effects on sleep quality (and interestingly enough, was also correlated with reduced body weight). 
    16
    For people with nocturnal leg cramps, melatonin supplementation can help re-establish their disrupted Circadian Rhythm.


This leads us into the final component of Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance (NNI) — this is what makes conquering nocturnal leg cramps so difficult: disrupted sleep architecture.

3. Disrupted Sleep Architecture (Circadian Rhythm)

If you were to take away only one concept from this review, it would be this:
In order to solve nocturnal leg cramps and break free from NNI, you have to re-establish a healthy sleep architecture.

Focusing on sleep health — not just the cramps — is key.


The sleep nutrients we described above will help jump-start this process. 
But it takes a more holistic approach to make lasting changes.



How to Correct Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance (NNI)

In order to correct NNI and relieve nighttime cramps, you have to accomplish three objectives:


1. Correct key nutrient deficiencies with specific nutrients taken prior to bed.
2. Re-establish a healthy sleep architecture (Circadian Rhythm) to prevent frequent waking throughout the night.

3. Relax both muscles and the nervous system immediately prior to bed.


In our research, we identified 8 natural compounds that help relax tense muscles, reverse nutrient deficiencies, and improve sleep quality.

Together, these nutrients effectively break the NNI cycle and reduce nocturnal leg cramps.

Since there is no viable pharmaceutical or therapy treatment for nocturnal leg cramps — and other magnesium or cramp supplements don't work for this condition — we assembled the world's first natural muscle relaxer specifically designed to help you correct Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance and conquer nighttime leg cramps for good.


It's called Mag R&R

Mag R&R is manufactured in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) approved, FDA-inspected facility right here in the USA. It's designed to be taken once per day, immediately before bed.

To test the formula's effectiveness before releasing to the public, we worked closely with our clients suffering from nocturnal leg cramps and took notes on their progress.

We were excited to launch Mag R&R and finally offer a solution to nocturnal cramps.

But we never could have predicted the overwhelming response from our clients — and people we’d never met who found our product online.

Like Judith, who wrote to us: 

Mag R&R review for nocturnal leg cramps

*Results may vary. Testimonials from Mag R&R customers do not guarantee similar or specific results. See full list of testimonials on next page.


Or Michael, who is finally sleeping through the night and waking up without fatigue:

best supplement for nocturnal leg cramps

*Results may vary. Testimonials from Mag R&R customers do not guarantee similar or specific results. See full list of testimonials on next page.


Since releasing Mag R&R, we've received thousands of emails, reviews and thank you notes from people who — after years of battling nighttime leg cramps — are finally sleeping through the night. Cramp-free.

While Mag R&R is not guaranteed to solve your nocturnal cramps overnight, many people do indeed experience immediate relief. 

The success rate is so high with Mag R&R that we even implemented a 90-day, 100% Money-Back Guarantee

This means we will refund your entire purchase if you don't get the relief you are looking for.
All you have to do is send us an email or use the Contact Us page on our website. No hassles, no questions asked


Mag R&R truly is the only natural solution designed to correct Nocturnal Neuromuscular Imbalance and break free from nocturnal cramps.


While it's important for you to understand the science behind Mag R&R, it's also important that you see the real-world results our clients have achieved.

On the next page, we've assembled unedited reviews and emails from people who have taken Mag R&R.
You can also read more about the 8 natural ingredients in this ground-breaking formula.


If you're ready to finally conquer nighttime cramps, click the button below to read real, verified-purchase reviews from people just like you. Who after suffering with nocturnal leg cramps for years, are now finally getting relief and sleeping through the night:



ABOUT SALTWRAP:

Our mission at SaltWrap is to bridge the gap between sports performance and longevity.
To provide the tools you need to stay healthy while tackling your fitness goals.
We create solutions in the categories of nutritional supplements, books & media, and therapeutic fitness equipment — all designed to keep you healthy and performing at your best. Our products and content help you achieve your highest level of fitness, without sacrificing your health later.
Read the full About Us page here.

RESEARCH REFERENCES:

  1. https://pmj.bmj.com/content/78/924/596
  2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/pmj.78.924.596
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30688424
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22364157
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference_Daily_Intake
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221451411500121X
  7. http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/rapid-resolution-of-chronic-back-pain-with-magnesium
    -glycinate-in-a-pediatric-patient-2167-0846.1000101.php?aid=3932#8
  8. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.2010.197004/abstract
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855626/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855626/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24280947#
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24606715
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11983310
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9727088
  15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27150227
  16. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26327875
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507250/




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Should you have any health care related questions, please contact your physician. You should always consult your physician before taking any nutritional supplements, making changes to your health or fitness regimens, or implementing any health related advice. Results will vary depending on the circumstances of each individual. Prior results do not predict, warrant or guarantee a similar outcome. 
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