Although magnesium has a reputation for helping against muscle cramps, the data available is rather weak. The use of magnesium appears to be mainly effective against cramps at night or during rest, usually in the calves or feet, less so for performance-related muscle cramps during training and competition.

In fact, magnesium has a crucial function in the normal contraction releasing of muscles. But it is questionable whether an additional supply of magnesium is of any use, when there is no explicit magnesium deficiency. Although it seems that the triggering of cramps is related to a magnesium imbalance in the locally affected muscles, the overall magnesium status of the body appears to be sufficient. To envisage: If water in an elongated bowl is considered magnesium and the bowl is tilted to one side, there is obviously low tide (undersupply) on one side, but the overall quantity remains the same. As soon as the water flows back again, the water is evenly levelled again and the balance in the body is restored.

Nevertheless, there are many people who respond well to magnesium supplementation. Anyone who suffers from cramps can therefore try it with MAGNESIUM PLUS or MAGNESIUM 375. Importantly, do not take magnesium during physical activity, as it may provoke a laxative effect. It is better to take it in the evening and after exercise together with a recovery shake or meal.

MUSCLE RELAX helps with acute cramps
In the case of acute cramps at rest or under stress, the intake of bitter, acidic or even spicy solutions shows great success. The solution does not even have to be drunk. It apparently suffices to rinse the mouth with it to trigger a neural signal in the brain that "relaxes" cramping muscles. MUSCLE RELAX from SPONSER® has proven its effectiveness in practice already. The bitter-sour cucumber vinegar solution is primarily taken directly when a cramp occurs. Hold/rinse in the mouth for a few seconds, then swallow or spit out again. However, there are also numerous athletes who recommend its prophylactic use. MUSCLE RELAX is taken relatively shortly before exercise or a few minutes prior to an expected cramping event during activity.

Author: Remo Jutzeler
Ing. Applied Food Sciences UAS
MAS Nutrition & Health ETHZ

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