Late night muscle cramps - LCHF diet

Halo all! I have been on a LCHF (Banting) diet since 2015, and a few months in started getting muscle cramps in the evenings. I am drinking 2 Slow Mag capsules every night - sometimes I can sleep through without cramping, other nights I still get cramps. If I don't take Slow Mags before I go to bed, I can be assured of a long sleepless night! Does anyone else have this issue? How can I overcome it?

Replies

  • Poisonedpawn78
    Poisonedpawn78 Posts: 1,145 Member
    Cramping is usually a sign of dehydration. Get a bit more water but make sure you arent restricting salt too much.
  • baconslave
    baconslave Posts: 6,857 Member
    Salt is the great preserver. If you still aren't getting 3000mg-5000mg daily (the range is because some people need more than others. I have know people who temporarily require up to 6 or 7 thou) then it is not enough to encourage your body to preserve your other electrolytes. Get enough salt. And while doing so, make sure you are getting enough potassium through food to "top up" for a few days. Enough sodium will preserve them all, including your hydration. If your carbs are low enough to put you into ketosis, your body performs naturesis. Dumps sodium since it isn't keeping the water from more stored glycogen. So you have less sodium on hand. You must replenish it.

    Do this by drinking broth made from bouillon, or making your own Powerade. I call it Ketoade, and you take 8-12oz water add 1/4 tsp salt, a healthy squeeze of water flavoring like Mio, stir, chug. Optionally, if you have some potassium chloride (No Salt or Lite Salt) shake a little in the first few days.
    Drink 2 of whichever daily.


    HTH.
  • nvmomketo
    nvmomketo Posts: 12,020 Member
    baconslave wrote: »
    Salt is the great preserver. If you still aren't getting 3000mg-5000mg daily (the range is because some people need more than others. I have know people who temporarily require up to 6 or 7 thou) then it is not enough to encourage your body to preserve your other electrolytes. Get enough salt. And while doing so, make sure you are getting enough potassium through food to "top up" for a few days. Enough sodium will preserve them all, including your hydration. If your carbs are low enough to put you into ketosis, your body performs naturesis. Dumps sodium since it isn't keeping the water from more stored glycogen. So you have less sodium on hand. You must replenish it.

    Do this by drinking broth made from bouillon, or making your own Powerade. I call it Ketoade, and you take 8-12oz water add 1/4 tsp salt, a healthy squeeze of water flavoring like Mio, stir, chug. Optionally, if you have some potassium chloride (No Salt or Lite Salt) shake a little in the first few days.
    Drink 2 of whichever daily.


    HTH.

    I agree with this. Cramps are probably stemming from low sodium. If you don't replenish sodium the body leeches out potassium and magnesium to use as an electrolyte instead. I had the leg cramps for a while and had a hard time believing that I needed that much sodium. Once I added a 1/2 to full teaspoon to some water every day, my cramps were gone within a couple of days.
  • vegmebuff
    vegmebuff Posts: 31,389 Member
    Halo all! I have been on a LCHF (Banting) diet since 2015, and a few months in started getting muscle cramps in the evenings. I am drinking 2 Slow Mag capsules every night - sometimes I can sleep through without cramping, other nights I still get cramps. If I don't take Slow Mags before I go to bed, I can be assured of a long sleepless night! Does anyone else have this issue? How can I overcome it?

    You can overcome it by not doing such a silly diet that causes you cramps that then require pills to fix a self-inflicted problem. Why would you opt to take supplements in lieu of actual whole foods simply because they have carbs? That's nuts.

    Just eat a healthier, more balanced diet at whatever calorie level or deficit level you need to lose weight or maintain. And yes, I too used to get cramps on LCHF/paleo which I'd never had before and I've not had since quitting (plus digestive issues and high cholesterol). All issues resolved after stopping the diet and eating more carbs (beans, lentils, rice, oats, starchy veg, fruits etc) but less fat and I still lost weight and maintaining 2 yrs later.


    I agree...I use to get leg cramps so bad I thought I was going to lose my mind. I would have to get up and try to walk in out. So painful!

    However, after eating more calories (healthy carbs/fats/protein)- I rarely, if ever get them now! A miracle.

    I do take magnesium though too.

    Good luck
  • toxikon
    toxikon Posts: 2,384 Member
    Another vote for more sodium and potassium.

    When I was doing keto, I'd make "ketorade" out of water, Mio/Crystal Lite and a few sprinkles of Nu-Salt and table salt.
  • losergood2011
    losergood2011 Posts: 172 Member
    Yup chicken bullion.
  • duskyjewel
    duskyjewel Posts: 286 Member
    I find that eating more bananas always helps if I get leg cramps. Clearly, potassium is the problem when I get them. I completely agree with Traveler120.
  • peggy_polenta
    peggy_polenta Posts: 252 Member
    yes, very common in low carb. we don't hold salt on lc. and like others said...potassium and magnesium goes with it. eat a pickle or green olives or take a sip of pickle juice right out of the jar.
  • peggy_polenta
    peggy_polenta Posts: 252 Member
    duskyjewel wrote: »
    I find that eating more bananas always helps if I get leg cramps. Clearly, potassium is the problem when I get them. I completely agree with Traveler120.

    she eats lchf. bananas are a very high carbohydrate food... so that is not the solution for her.
  • dsboohead
    dsboohead Posts: 1,900 Member
    Couple spoonfuls of pickle juice alleviated mine.
  • bbell1985
    bbell1985 Posts: 4,582 Member
    Like others have said...salt. Perhaps potassium as well. One reason I loved being super low carb was just carrying a salt shaker around with me and salting the *kitten* out of my food. I love it.
  • duskyjewel
    duskyjewel Posts: 286 Member
    karen8787 wrote: »
    duskyjewel wrote: »
    I find that eating more bananas always helps if I get leg cramps. Clearly, potassium is the problem when I get them. I completely agree with Traveler120.

    she eats lchf. bananas are a very high carbohydrate food... so that is not the solution for her.

    Yeah, that's kinda the problem....