Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions of the muscle that can cause severe pain and discomfort. It is believed that magnesium deficiency may be a contributing factor to muscle cramps, which is why magnesium supplements are often recommended as a preventative measure. However, research on the efficacy of magnesium therapy in treating muscle cramps has been inconclusive. A recent randomized clinical trial suggests that magnesium oxide supplementation is no better than placebo for muscle cramps.
This means that older adults with muscle cramps are unlikely to benefit significantly from magnesium supplementation. Despite this, magnesium is still widely marketed and purchased as a treatment for muscle cramps. Health experts recommend consuming at least 300 milligrams of magnesium per day. This can be achieved through a supplement or by eating foods rich in magnesium, such as nuts, lentils, and quinoa.
The evidence on the role of magnesium administration for muscle cramps related to exercise or illness is unreliable. Common signs of magnesium deficiency include: muscle cramps, especially in the legs or feet, muscle contractions, muscle pain or tension, headaches, general muscle tension, anxiety, restless legs, confusion, disorientation, loss of appetite, depression, tingling, numbness, abnormal heart rhythms, coronary spasms and seizures. Magnesium is an essential mineral for nerve transmission and muscle contraction and its oral supplementation is marketed as an over-the-counter prophylaxis for muscle cramps. While research on the efficacy of magnesium therapy in treating muscle cramps has been inconclusive, it may still be beneficial to increase your daily intake of magnesium to help reduce the frequency of leg cramps at night.