Can Real Food Eliminate Cramp? / Might Magnesium From Food Prove Better for Stabilizing Mood Than Lithium Tablets?

I have debated before whether the mood stabilizing successes attributed to lithium are due to it helping people who have been magnesium deficient.

Here however, I seem to have left bipolar a long way behind me. I am now, on a lower carbohydrate diet, having the steadiest moods I have ever had. It is great to be sleeping well, getting lots of work done and spending time with lots of lovely positive people. Yet, as one of my bipolar clients said to me, years ago, “Even when moods are steady, it is never just right.” It seems life always involves some things that cause some discomfort.

In 2019, I think I only had cramp in my leg (calf) once. It was early in the morning and it hurt at lot! Early on 28th January 2020, I had a similar occurrence of cramp in my calf. It was over in less than a minute but left me hobbling a bit for a few hours.

As a teenager, when fell-walking in hot weather, I would get this kind of cramp the next morning and was told, and believed, this happened because I was sweating out sodium and failing to add salt to my food. Putting a little salt in the palm of my hand and licking that off seemed to stop it happening the next morning. Yet, was this real biochemistry or simply placebo?

These days, most people say that most cramp in legs is related to low magnesium and it does seem that taking a good magnesium supplement or a bath in Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) makes cramp far less likely.

So what might be the truth about my cramps that may be of use to others wanting to avoid this pain?

Well, I had just completed a study on myself where I recorded everything I ate over 6 days. This has allowed me to plot my intake of 4 minerals. This reveals that (compared with what I usually eat) my consumption of Calcium, Magnesium and Sodium were all low leading up to the morning I got the cramp.

Cramp due to low magnesium

Was that cramp, to some extent due to low sodium, magnesium and calcium intake?

 

I am aware of another factor. The day before, I had cycled up a steep-ish hill I do not normally  cycle up and so may well have been using my calf muscles in a different way. I can well believe this will have increased my risk of cramp. Overall, though I currently believe the cramp was induced mainly by a mineral imbalance.

Having considered the above graph, what will I do now?

In a moment, I am going to cycle to a local supermarket, fill my rucksack with fresh veg and cycle home (up a moderate hill). I need the exercise and I need to get back to eating lots of veg. I can do this while keeping my carbs low (surprisingly easy to do when avoiding bread) as that will get these minerals back in balance. I have taken a magnesium citrate tablet 2 nights since the cramp. I am not keen on supplements – dare I stop taking the extra magnesium?

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

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