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Electrolyte Replacement May Prevent Cramps

Have you ever experienced a muscle cramp in the middle of the night? It can be excruciating! Can you prevent cramps with liquid minerals?
Electrolyte Replacement May Prevent Cramps
Pregnant women with cramp in leg on bed

Have you ever experienced a muscle cramp? The pain can be excruciating. It is especially hard on athletes. We have heard from serious bike riders who are many miles from home and become incapacitated with a leg cramp. Then there are the people who wake up in agony the middle of the night with a calf muscle cramping. We have collected lots of home remedies for leg cramps. They are surprisingly effective. Here is one involving electrolyte-containing liquid to prevent cramps:

Q. I used to drink tonic water for nightly leg cramps, but I have found a far better solution: Pedialyte. I keep some powder handy in the bathroom. When I get a leg cramp, I mix up a solution and drink it. That’s the end of cramps for the night. The relief is more immediate and longer lasting than quinine.

I go kayaking. Previously, I’d get a leg cramp while I was paddling with no access to tonic water and no way to get out of the boat and no way to stretch my leg. Terrible! Now I take Pedialyte solution in my water bottle. I haven’t had trouble with leg cramps in the kayak.

A. Thank you for the suggestion. Pedialyte is an electrolyte solution originally intended to help re-hydrate children after an intestinal infection or high fever. The company now promotes its products for adults as well. The powder contains potassium and chloride along with flavoring agents.

Many readers have reported success with magnesium supplements to prevent nighttime leg cramps. We discuss a scientific explanation for home remedies such as pickle juice or apple cider vinegar in our eGuide to Favorite Home Remedies. This online resource may be found in the Health eGuides section.

Other Electrolytes Beverages May Prevent Cramps:

Another reader offers a different electrolyte solution to prevent cramps:

Q. I cramp easily even when I have not done anything strenuous, but more so after playing tennis. Drinking Gatorade before and after tennis helps some. What am I lacking?

A. If Gatorade helps somewhat, you may be low in some electrolytes. We have heard from another tennis player that drinking Pedialyte after a match can help prevent cramps. This liquid formulation is designed to help replenish lost fluids and minerals for babies who may become dehydrated from diarrhea or vomiting.

Another liquid you might not think of to prevent cramps is spicy soup. Here is a link to a reader’s success story with cabbage soup and chile peppers:

Can You Prevent Leg Cramps With Hot Soup?
Enjoying a bowl of spicy hot soup might be just the ticket to prevent bothersome nighttime leg cramps. The pungent flavors could be responsible.

And don’t forget to check out our eGuide to Favorite Home Remedies. Share your own success story to prevent cramps in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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