Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

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Treating Leg Cramps

Monday, 22 Jun 2009 03:10 PM

Question: I get leg cramps all the time. Every night when I go to bed my toes and feet go into leg spasms. I am getting to the point where I don't want to go to bed because it hurts so much. I have tried quinine medication, but it doesn't help that much. Can you help me?

Dr. Brownstein’s Answer:


Unfortunately, leg cramps are a common (and painful) problem. My clinical experience has found that the vast majority of individuals suffering from leg cramps are salt and magnesium deficient.

In my May 2008 newsletter, I discussed the difference between refined and unrefined salt. Yes, Americans get too much toxic, devitalized, refined salt in their diet. However, they are usually lacking in unrefined salt. Unrefined salt contains more than 80 minerals and is a vital substance for the body. If you are not ingesting unrefined salt, by my definition you are salt-deficient.

Leg cramps are a sign of salt deficiency. Adding unrefined salt to your diet ends cramps in nearly all cases. How much unrefined salt do you need to add in to your diet? I tell my patients who suffer from leg cramps to take a large pinch of unrefined salt at bedtime with a small amount of water.

If you are still getting cramps, increase the dose. Generally, 1 to 1.5 teaspoons a day of unrefined salt supplies the body with basic salt needs. Please make sure the salt is unrefined — Celtic Brand Sea Salt from Selina Naturally is a good brand (www.celticseasalt.com). If the salt does not take care of the problem, add in a small amount of magnesium — 200 milligrams — at bedtime. Very rarely does this regimen fail, even for those suffering from the most severe leg cramps.



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