Nighttime leg/calf cramps

So, I've been eating a 'rigorous' Keto diet for 2 months now. In the last month WOW do I have those NIGHTTIME FOOT/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, and of course the Expert's thoughts.


  • I would aim for 100% of your requirement of magnesium and consider supplementing with it as well at a max dose of 350 mg.

    If the cramping doesn't go away, I would suggest speaking with your MD.

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Since Dr. Mercola recommends use of the Cron-o-meter App I guess its OK to refer to something that helped me with the horrible leg cramp issue. In "Fat For Fuel" (p. 170) "Many new studies show that Fit K2 (as MK-7) will radically reduce nighttime muscle cramps, so it is best to take the K2 before bedtime."
    Tried it and it works! As another assist, I drink it down with Smart Water that has calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

  • Hi there :) I'm going to look into that vitamin K2 info thanks. I have found for me that in general staying high fats, keto template AND cutting way back in alcohol have helped the most. Drinking less, increases better sleeping and with that less cramps at night. Also, pulling back a little in exercise. Too much walking or too long of a hike always guarantees me sore muscles then cramps at night. Fatigue for me is a big precursor of nighttime leg issues.

  • Also, don't forget the importance of stretching! Hips, ham strings, and glutes are key for those who run or hike!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • @Susan_RD_101 Not to mention Epsom salt baths! ;)

  • Once I cut my carbs really low I got severe nocturnal leg muscle cramps.

    Unfortunately, I have tried all the different forms of magnesium supplementation and all upset my gut.

    Topical "magnesium oil" worked but eventually it gave me a very nasty rash.

    Epsom salt baths worked but they were very time consuming.

    Then I made my own solution of Epsom salt and water and just applied it to my skin and that did the trick without the irritation of magnesium oil.

    But starting two months ago I found something that is bizarre and undocumented on even the internet (or at least I have not yet been able to find any references to it).

    After reading a couple of books on so-called "Buteyko breathing" I started doing about three 10-minute breathing sessions per day where I stood, closed my eyes, and consciously reduced the volume of air breathed. I tried to inhale less then normal and exhale as slowly as possible.

    Amazingly, this stopped my cramps and stopped my need for topical magnesium. Please note, there seems to an almost cult-like worship of Buteyko by some and others will say that the only way to learn the proper breathing method is by paying an expert large sums of money. That's not the path I chose and I do not endorse any form of Buteyko worship.

    I still get some sinus infections and congested nose. I still get winded more than I would like when doing high-intensity physical activities. Relaxed breathing is not a panacea but it did seem to eliminate a problem that I had had for seven years. In addition, avoid mouth breathing as much as possible, including during exercise. Hyper/hypoventilation are proven to affect the body's pH so maybe that affects the leg cramps. Or maybe not.

  • This leg cramp thing sure seems comm. I too experience it and yes on potassium, mag oil n sup. I keep org raw Apple cider vinegar handy. Down to about 1 episode every 2 weeks now. Earlier when I started it might be 2-3 times a night! I don't understand WHY the leg cramps, but whatever works. I learned of ACC on Dr Bergs site. Wish I'd known this 50 yrs ago when swimming!

  • ACV....... dear my fingers!

  • How much ACV helps you? I've been using it for a few years and it does not help my muscle cramps. Only topical magnesium helps me, either chloride or sulfate.

  • I have not had my luck with the ACV. I have had some luck with increasing potassium and magnesium as well as good ole pink salt. I use the NOW brand potassium citrate powder and the NOW brand magnesium citrate powder. I blend them in my coffee as well as make an electrolyte drink with them. They dissolve well and don’t have a bad taste, or at least my coffe hides it! But mostly what helps is to be as hydrated as possible by bedtime........

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