Nighttime foot/calf cramps anyone?

So, I've been eating a 'rigorous' Keto diet for 2 months now. In the last month WOW do I have those nighttime foot and calf cramps 1-3 times EVERY night, having to jump out of bed to relieve them!!! I've researched and made sure my Magnesium is about 80% of what I'm supposed to have, Sodium intake is 100%. I also take a Potassium supplement as well as a Calcium/Vit D/Vit K supplement, although I can't seem to get those levels up very far. Daily walking/exercise or lack of doesn't seem to make a difference. I would love to hear what others who've experienced this are doing/have done.

Best Answers

  • Answer ✓

    My Mother In Law swears by having a magnet in her bed for this! She keeps it under her pillow and puts it on her leg whenever they start to cramp during the night.

  • Answer ✓

    WOW - CRAZY but I'm gonna do it! Remedies from a generation or so back have a lot of credence!! Sweet of you to share. Thanx.

  • Answer ✓

    I've had some luck with using a liquid magnesium in a roll-on. I roll it on my legs and feet at night if I've done some strenuous exercising, seems to help... I use an Ayurvedic product, if that's not enough I add Hyland's Nighttime Leg Cramp homeopathic tabs.

  • Answer ✓

    I mix up magnesium citrate with water and add a dash of salt and drink that before bed. (You can receive some free sample to try from

  • Answer ✓

    If you've lowered carbs and eliminated processed food, you might find you need salt, magnesium and potassium. I follow the recommendations of a FB group Ketogenic Diet Science & Support and I've increased my RDA limits to their recommendations. It's your call, if you are doing a LCHF/keto way of eating.

  • Answer ✓

    This is from the pinned post on the FB group associated with ImpulsiveKeto. "The process of becoming ketogenic is diuretic. You will lose electrolytes that must be replenished every day. We recommend you drink normally, and add 1.5 teaspoons of salt to your diet. Measure it out each morning in a dish, sprinkle on food, a pinch in your water, etc. You will also need magnesium, 400-600mg in malate or glycinate form (not oxide!!). Be deliberate about eating potassium rich foods, and we do not recommend supplementing it directly. Low electrolytes causes fatigue, headaches, leg cramps and constipation.

    You may want to add a probiotic to your supplement but outside of your electrolytes, take other supplements as you normally would for your needs."

    I suggest joining that group on Facebook, Kietogenic Diet Sciece & Support. Very inspiring shares from members and good advice from coaches. The companion groups are also good for KetoFit and recipes. KetoFit has an electrolyte drink recipe that might help you.

  • This happened to me a few years ago when I was doing a low carb diet. The Calcium/Magnesium/Vitamin D multivitamin eliminated the lower leg cramps for me.


  • Thank you 'dxkiss' and 'Maggie'. I will put those wonderful suggestions in my 'tool box', along with 'Melon555's" magnet. I have just found that up-ing my magnesium by one more capsule has been the answer, at least so far ... we'll see.

  • Thanks Maggie - Appreciate the FB Group info and will check it out! My magnesium and salt are no problem now, but getting the potassium up, even with a supplement, is near impossible it seems - and I know we have to watch the sodium/potassium ratios too, says Dr Mercola.

  • I have been on a drug, pantoprazole (generic) that inhibits the intake of magnesium. Any suggestions for leg cramps. I do not supplement with potassium. Will this possibly help?
    PS: Down 41 lbs so far!

  • 41 lbs! Wooot! If you check this site, they recommend supplements especially the electrolytes if you're following keto. (since we urinate so frequently and we don't get all the salt that's in processed food). I would check with your doctor or pharmacist. Does your doctor know that you are doing so well and how you're doing it? Maybe you don't even need pantoprazole anymore. Is that for GERD? Everyone seems to do so well with keto/LCHF. I'm a little nervous about potassium but I do take it. Back in the day, I used to eat a banana for leg cramps which I rarely had.

  • Way to go on the hard work to get where you are so far 'outdoord_5001'!!
    Maggie - just caught the post "The process of becoming ketogenic is diuretic". I very much appreciate that you posted the specifics - I'm implementing that info now. Waiting to be accepted into the FB group as of yesterday. Thank you again.

  • For outdoord_5001, if you take that medication for GERD, hopefully you can get off it soon. I WAS having some issues at night, but that's gone with the change in my way of eating. I hope you get better soon.

  • Here are some potassium rich foods (from one of the admins on the Ketogenic Science Support Group on FB)
    ⚫1,500mg - 16oz ribeye steak
    ⚫1,288mg - beet greens (1 cup)
    ⚫961mg - chard (1 cup)
    ⚫728mg - tomato sauce (1 cup)
    ⚫719mg - salmon filet (198g)
    ⚫708mg - avocado (1 cup)
    ⚫600mg - coconut water (1 cup)
    ⚫558mg - spinach measly 100g
    ⚫535mg - 3 ounces canned clams
    ⚫500mg - halibut (3 ounces)
    ⚫491mg - kale (100g)
    ⚫468mg - one serving broccoli (148g)

  • Maggie - You are a GEM!! Thank you for continually reaching out and giving precise information to many a question. So glad you're on this forum. (Hmmm, just thinking' that you might be one of the staff here at Cronomter someday - you seem to have the makings for it)

  • Thanks Kimberly, these are all the same questions I'm struggling with also. How to have a nutritiously dense diet.

  • I have had some really bad calf/feet cramps and Iam on a keto site and they are telling me that my magnesium is too low. I take dr carolyn deans Pico-ionic remag . it is 150 mg magnesium chloride. we are taking 600mg a day. but I have been told that magnesium & chloride is only about 20mg of actual magnesium which would mean my dose is way too low and i need to take 400mg of magnesium malate. can anyone shed some light on this for me please.

  • Hi Pam, yes I spent several hours calculating the cheapest source of magnesium and potassium supplements. There is no magic about it. Magnesium Chloride is made up of magnesium plus chloride. Magnesium citrate is magnesium plus citrate and so on. That means that the weight is made up of two parts, so you need to subtract the weight of the second part.
    That's not all - the dose you get is the dose you digest, not the dose you swallow. The most notorious example is calcium tablets which go right through you undigested.
    That's why you consider things like malate and citrate and gluconate. These are more digestible than oxides.
    Next you want a supplier that gives you the information. If you go to iHerb and type in magnesium, you'll be shown an enormous list. I type in magnesium powder, because that is cheaper than capsules or tablets. Click on an example and cursor down a page or two and you'll find details of the recommended dosage (don't trust it) and the amount of magnesium in the recommended dose.
    From there it is simple arithmetic to calculate the percentage of what you want. Say it is 20% for example, that means that only a fifth of the powder is what you want. So multiply by five (or divide by 20 and multiply by 100 for percentage) to get the amount that you will need to take for the required dose.
    Now that you know the percentage, you can look at any pure powder on offer by any company to work out the monthly cost.
    You have to be wealthy to buy capsules.
    I've thrown out my calculations, but if I got them right, my supply for 16g/day of potassium powder three times 28 days (about a week less than three months), and my supply of 3.5g/day for two times 65 days (a bit over four months) came to 77 australian dollars. You are likely to pay that much for a one-month supply of capsules, and you'll be swallowing all that gelatinous stuff that makes up the capsules.
    Oh - Chronometer allows you to see what vitamins and minerals are deficient in your diet. Don't forget your 10g of salt each day. Look at what is deficient, and calculate by how much - if Chronometer says you are 50% deficient each day, then you don't need to take supplements for 100%.
    One final trap - I looked for a multi-mineral supplement and finally found two with potassium and magnesium. Then I looked at the weights - I would be getting about a fifth of what I needed together with far too much of the other minerals. This is a concern, because men probably get too much iron, so there is danger in iron supplements.

  • Hi Ianmac.
    Thanks for your research. Yes I buy all my supplements from iherb.
    I have found if I take 425mg magnesium malate source naturals brand and Potassium Citrate - 2 teaspoons a day i have now eliminated my cramps. I do take liposomal if I can get it of other vitamins and I have joined a group called Optimal Ketogenic Living and this group is the best i have read to date on keto (just my opinion). I also take vit D, vit C, a multi B and fish oil. Seem to be feeling heaps better. Unfortunately have strayed a little over christmas so about to start a 2-3 day fast I think. 😄

  • Yes Pam, I too will have a one-day fast tomorrow. I hope the magnesium and potassium will make my restless leg syndrome a thing of the past too. One thing that is hopeful is that it has got worse since I started the Mercola diet. That involved eating less meat, and a list that I saw recently showed that meat is the main source.
    So two supplements might just reverse the deficiency.

  • This is clearly a magnesium deficit. Check out Dr Carolyn Dean. She’s a brilliant magnesium researcher and if you do a search for Dean and Mercola on YouTube, you’ll find an extraordinarily helpful video that illuminates the ubiquitous magnesium deficiency most of our population suffers from, the signs and symptoms and how to give your body this most necessary mineral.

    edited January 2018

    Hi Elle
    I was using dr deans remag and remyte for approx 12 months but found it did not help. I doubled the dose with some improvement nut it wasnt until i added the potassium that i saw results. It is very expensive if you have to take high doses which is a shame as i much prefer using liposomal supplements. Another thing i have found to help overall was dit d3. I get that as a liposomal spray and take 5000iu a day. I am on a fb page called optimal ketigenic living and the wealth of information and support is amazing.

  • Im totally on board with you Pam. I didn’t mention her supplements on purpose because they didn’t help me. Either. But she’s an enormous wealth of free information and while she’s a “one-note Johnny” with magnesium, what she knows is extraordinary.

    Thanks for sharing what works for you. When I stopped getting Charlie horses is when I started taking Dr Tennant’s RESTORE shake each day and I supplement that with 2 capsules of Dr Mercola’s Magnesium L-Threonate morning and night time. Not one cramp since. Woohoo!

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