The 3 Best Vitamins and Minerals to Help Treat Muscle Cramping
A healthy diet includes eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals each day. These nutrients play a powerful role in not only satisfying hunger and providing energy but can prevent and relieve many different health conditions.
This means that when it comes to muscle cramping, there are certain vitamins and minerals that may help you prevent and relieve your cramping symptoms.
What are vitamins?
The word vitamin is derived from the words “vital” and “amine”. Vital is defined as something that is “absolutely necessary or important” while amine is defined as an “organic compound”. This means that vitamins are essential organic compounds that your body requires to survive and thrive.
There are 13 essential vitamins that your body needs for proper functioning. These vitamins include Vitamin A, C, D, E, K and the Vitamin B complex (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotic, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin and folate) .
With the exception of Vitamin D (that can be produced in your skin with the help of sunlight), your body cannot produce these vitamins in sufficient amounts required for optimal health. This means that vitamins must be consumed through foods or supplements.
What are minerals?
Minerals are elements found in the soil on Earth and in the foods you eat that are necessary for your body to function properly .
If you recall the periodic table of elements from a high school chemistry class, the following 15 essential minerals may sound familiar to you: Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium .
Similar to vitamins, these minerals play a role in hundreds of different metabolic processes in your body. . All the above minerals are essential, meaning you must obtain them through diet or through supplements..
What is the link between vitamins & minerals and muscle cramps?
Vitamins and minerals play hundreds of different roles in normal body metabolism. One of these roles is healthy muscle contraction.
Muscle cramps are defined as the sudden and involuntary contraction of a muscle . These involuntary contractions, or muscle cramps may be related to deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals.
Furthermore, older adults are at higher risk of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies . For example, some older adults experience less production of stomach acid, which is required for the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12. Others may be simply eating not enough nutrient-dense foods throughout the day related to a diminishing sense of hunger or decreased appetite.
Ultimately, whether through diet or a nutritional supplement, meeting your vitamin and mineral needs each day is essential for healthy muscle contractions.
Vitamins & minerals that may play a role in treating or preventing muscle cramps
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that may help treat and prevent muscle cramps. One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency includes muscle cramping .
Magnesium is found in many healthy foods, including dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains .
For healthy adults, the recommended daily intake of magnesium ranges from 270-300 mg . This includes magnesium from food and supplements.
Older adults usually need slightly more magnesium as their digestive system is less efficient at absorbing magnesium and their kidneys get rid of more magnesium in the urine. However, taking too much magnesium can also cause side effects, including diarrhea and abdominal cramping .
Note: MediCramp supplement contains 300 mg of elemental magnesium.
Zinc is an essential mineral that has been shown to improve muscle cramps. Our body contains no storage reservoirs of zinc, meaning that a regular, daily intake of zinc - whether from supplements or diet - is important .
Zinc is found in some foods and is required in small amounts. The main sources include both animal and plant proteins, like beef, pork, fish and nuts, seeds and legumes .
For healthy adults, the recommended daily intake of zinc ranges from 7-9.5 mg per day . Since the daily amount needed is low, ensure you are not consuming too much zinc from supplements and food. It is recommended not to exceed more than 25 mg of zinc per day.
Note: Medi Cramp supplement contains around 7 mg of elemental zinc
Vitamin B Complexes
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is bound to protein foods and begins to be digested by your body with the help of the acidity of your stomach . It plays a role in healthy nerve function and healthy blood cell formation, which is associated with reducing muscle cramps.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-based foods, like fish, meat, chicken, eggs and milk. It is found in some plant-foods that are fortified, including cereals .
For healthy adults, the recommended daily intake ranges from 1.5 - 2.5 micrograms of Vitamin B12 . Up to 30% of older adults have less stomach acid, meaning they are less efficient at absorbing vitamin B12 and should supplement with vitamin B12 .
Note: Medi Cramp supplement contains around 5 micrograms of Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Thiamin is essential for converting food into energy. Thiamin is found primarily in whole grains, including wheat, rice, oats, rye and barley. It is also found in meat and fish and some fruits & vegetables .
For healthy adults, the recommended daily intake ranges from 0.8-1 mg per day of thiamin . Taking 100mg or less of thiamin per day (including supplements and foods) is considered to be safe .
Note: MediCramp supplement contains about 50 mg of thiamine mononitrate.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin is an essential vitamin for converting food into energy, as well as maintaining serotonin levels, known as the happy hormone .
Riboflavin is found in dairy products, like milk and yoghurt, and in eggs and fortified breakfast cereals .
For healthy adults, the recommended daily intake ranges from 1.1 to 1.3 mg per day of riboflavin . Taking 40 mg or less of riboflavin per day (including supplements and foods) is considered to be safe.
Note: Medi Cramp supplement contains about 5 mg of riboflavin.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine helps our body process proteins from food and helps form healthy blood cells. The vitamin is found in many foods, including legumes, beef, liver, potatoes and other starchy vegetables .
For healthy adults, the recommended daily intake ranges from 1.2-1.4 mg per day of pyridoxine. It’s important to avoid consuming more than 100 mg of pyridoxine per day, both from food and supplements .
Note: Medi Cramp supplement contains about 30 mg of pyridoxine.
Calcium, potassium and vitamin E are also considered to play a role in the treatment and prevention of muscle cramps.
- Calcium is the primary mineral involved in muscle contractions, but issues with muscle cramping and calcium are likely related to issues at the cellular level rather than a nutrient deficiency .
- Potassium is an important mineral for healthy blood pressure. Poor blood circulation or high blood pressure may cause muscle cramps, tingling, or discomfort .
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, where some studies suggest supplementing with this vitamin may decrease muscle cramps, but not specifically for older adults 
How can I make sure I reach my recommended intake of vitamins & minerals each day to prevent or treat muscle cramping?
Make sure to eat a varied, healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean proteins. To understand how much vitamins and minerals you are consuming per day, try keeping a food journal and then analyzing it with the help of a registered dietitian or doctor.
To summarize, the recommended daily intake of the vitamins and minerals shown to reduce muscle cramping are the following:
- Magnesium: 270-300 mg per day
- Zinc: 7-9.5 mg per day
- Vitamin B1(Thiamin): 8-1 mg per day
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1-1.3 mg per day
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 2-1.4 mg per day
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin): 5-2.5 mcg per day
If you uncover certain deficiencies in your diet, supplementing with a product that can meet your vitamin and mineral requirements while decreasing muscle cramps may be a good choice for you. This is especially the case for older adults over the age of 50, who often experience nutrient deficiencies and muscle cramps.
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