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Magnesium for Muscle Spasms

by
author image Nadia Haris
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.
Magnesium for Muscle Spasms
Magnesium supplements Photo Credit Aurelio Scetta/iStock/Getty Images

Muscle spasms or twitches are common; you might experience one after strenuous exercise, long periods of standing or even while resting. Your muscles require magnesium and other minerals to help them contract and relax. Not getting enough of these nutrients in your diet can lead to muscle spasms. Although a magnesium deficiency is rare, it can occur.

Magnesium and Muscle Function

Magnesium works in conjunction with other minerals in your body to help your muscles contract and relax. Not getting enough magnesium in your diet can lead to muscular side effects, according to MedlinePlus. These side effects include muscle weakness because your muscles are not able to contract strongly, as well as muscle twitching or spasms. A magnesium deficiency can also lead to other symptoms such as fatigue and reduced production of certain enzymes and proteins that may also affect muscle health and function.

How Much?

Getting too much magnesium in your diet is rare because your body excretes any excess to balance the mineral levels in your body. A deficiency of this mineral is also not common, but can occur. Most adult women need at least 310 milligrams of magnesium a day, while men require 400 milligrams, notes the Linus Pauling Institute website. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need about 350 milligrams of magnesium a day.

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Food Sources

A healthy, balanced daily diet provides adequate amounts of magnesium. Most of your magnesium comes from vegetables and plant foods such as dark leafy greens, peas, legumes and seeds. Fruits, such as bananas and avocados, nuts and whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and oats also provide this mineral. For example, a 1/2-cup serving of oat bran gives you 96 milligrams of magnesium, while 1 ounce of almonds provides 78 milligrams.

Causes of Deficiencies

In some cases, you may have a deficiency of magnesium even if you eat a healthy balanced diet every day. This can occur due to some illnesses and disorders that affect the body's nutrient absorption or excretion, notes the Linus Pauling Institute website. These conditions include gastrointestinal disorders such as prolonged or chronic diarrhea, Crohn's disease, celiac disease and intestinal surgery. Diabetes can also lead to low magnesium levels in the body. Additionally, chronic alcoholism can deplete a host of nutrients including magnesium.

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