The human body works like an amazing piece of machinery. Each part contributes perfectly to the larger goal of survival. When we are healthy and fit, many body processes remain unnoticed by us.  However, in order to function smoothly, the body needs sustenance from outside. The food we eat is the single most important form of energy for our body. What we eat therefore determines our state of health in the long run. Vitamins and minerals contribute a lot to the wellbeing and health of our bodies. Vitamins are defined as organic compounds that the body cannot manufacture on its own. Food is the only way to supply the body with these nutrients.

Leg Cramps and Vitamin Deficiency

A well-balanced diet is critical in many ways, and just surviving on empty calories can lead to severe nutrient deficiencies. This can result in various unpleasant symptoms and can even lead to medical complications, leg cramps being one of them. Leg cramps are a common occurrence, and they happen due to a variety of reasons. Over exertion and exercising after a long gap is one of the most common reasons for cramps. However, recent studies suggest that a lack of vitamins in the diet can also cause cramping in the legs.

Nocturnal leg cramps happen usually at night and can be quite painful. If you are suffering from leg cramps, it is a good idea to get in touch with a doctor and have a qualified opinion on what maybe causing it. Trying to resolve the situation on your own may not be a good idea and may even lead to further complications.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies that Cause Leg Cramps

  • Vitamin D: Deficiency in vitamin D is known to cause leg cramps at night. In addition, it may also cause weakness or numbness in the legs. A physician may best be able to ascertain this by taking a blood test to assess the extent of this deficiency.
  • Vitamin B: Vitamin B is a water soluble vitamin. This means that it dissolves in water and is flushed out by the body as a part of the urine. It is therefore essential to keep providing the body with a constant supply of food items that are rich in vitamin B. Studies have shown that vitamin B complex can help to treat painful nocturnal leg cramps.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is an important nutrient that is needed by the body for a variety of reasons. It is found in whole grains, spinach and other leafy green vegetables. A deficiency in magnesium can cause painful leg cramps, migraines, and also insomnia.
  • Potassium: Potassium is another important mineral, the lack of which can cause fatigue, muscle tightness, and cramping. It is naturally available in bananas, nuts and tomatoes.
  • Iron: Iron carries out the important function of transporting oxygen in the body.  A lack of iron can be a cause of concern and is often responsible for the restless leg syndrome. Blood tests can reveal for sure the lack of iron in the body. It is found in food items such as whole grain, nuts, fish, and poultry. A doctor may additionally recommend iron supplements depending on each case.
Home Remedies: Leg cramps can be extremely uncomfortable. Here are a few simple home remedies that can bring about some immediate relief.
  • Gentle stretching exercises are the simplest and most effective way to ease up leg cramps. Nocturnal leg cramps happen at a time when one is disoriented with sleep, so it may take a few minutes to understand the situation at hand. Walking slowly will help to stretch the muscles of the leg. One can also try bringing the leg up to the chest and then away from the chest as a form of stretching. Jiggling the foot up and down may also help the muscles to stretch and relax.
  • Alternative therapy like acupressure can help to alleviate foot cramps. Certain herbs are also believed to have medicinal properties that can reduce foot cramps. Please consult your doctor before trying these alternative practices.
  • A warm shower can help to relax the muscles of the legs and stop them from cramping. Using a hot water bottle may also have a similar effect. Surprisingly, cold therapy also works, and using ice packs can help relieve leg cramps.
Please note that these remedies are for instantaneous relief. While they may reduce symptoms, they cannot stop the problem all together. Leg cramps can be indicative of a serious vitamin deficiency. Consulting a doctor will help to get a more accurate picture of the body’s needs and requirements. While eating healthy is the best possible remedy to prevent ailments such as leg cramps, if you do have leg cramps due to a certain deficiency, only a doctor will be able to tell you the alterations that you need to make to your diet and lifestyle.