Foot cramps are not only painful and annoying, but they can interfere with your sleep, which in turn has a negative effect on your entire health. Among the things that you can do to help combat foot cramps is to increase your intake of certain vitamins or take over-the-counter supplements. Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, is one substance that may help with the cramping; however, check with your doctor before adding it to your diet.
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Vitamin B-12 is often found in combination with other B vitamins. It is water-soluble and helps to maintain healthy red blood and nerve cells. It is also needed in the making of DNA. Vitamin B is stored in the body for years, and it is uncommon to be deficient in this vitamin; however, deficiencies have been seen in the elderly, vegetarians and those with pernicious anemia, a condition that makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B-12.
Foot cramps – also referred to as spasms – can occur in the muscles of the feet. They usually don’t last very long, but they can be painful. During a foot cramp, you may feel weakness, numbness, tingling, twitching or uncontrollable movements. Foot cramps can occur for many different reasons, including brain disorders, kidney disease, nerve damage, dehydration, injuries, heavy exercise, thyroid disorders and pregnancy. Regardless of the cause, foot cramps most often occur at night.
A deficiency in certain B complex vitamins, including vitamin B-12, can cause muscle cramps. One condition in particular, focal dystonia, causes uncontrolled movements and spasms in specific parts of the body, which could include the feet. A cause of this condition is a deficiency in vitamin B-12. If you lack this nutrient and have focal dystonia, foot cramps could be one of the symptoms.
Vitamin B-12 Sources
Vitamin B-12 is available in supplements by itself or with other B complex vitamins that can be purchased in health food stores and drugstores. It can also be obtained through the diet by eating more of the food products that contain it -- meat, poultry, eggs, shellfish and dairy products. Since these are animal byproducts, it is not uncommon for vegans and vegetarians to be deficient in vitamin B-12, which may increase their risk of suffering foot cramps.
You should not increase your intake of vitamin B-12 or any other supplement without first consulting with your healthcare professional, as it could be dangerous if you have certain conditions. Vitamin B-12 should not be taken if you are undergoing angioplasty or have Leber's disease. Side effects from vitamin B-12 use can include rash, itching and diarrhea. See your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms or any other unexplained conditions after starting vitamin B-12 supplementation.