Stiff muscles? You may be lacking this mineral
Whether you exercise frequently or, well, not so frequently, muscle cramps and stiffness can occur suddenly and keep you from moving around comfortably. The point is that you don't have to be an extreme athlete to experience muscle weakness and discomfort.
Stiff muscles can happen to anyone that may be experiencing a deficiency in certain nutrients that our body requires to function. The human body needs a variety of nutrients to feel and work its best.
When you don't feel your best, you may want to look at the foods you've been eating and recognize which vitamins and minerals you are lacking. When it comes to muscle stiffness and soreness in general, there are a few nutrients we need to talk about. Let's get into it!
What causes muscle cramps?
Most of the time muscle cramps and muscle tightness can occur when a muscle is overused, dehydrated, or holding the same position for a prolonged period of time.
These events can cause an inadequate blood supply to your legs and feet, which is usually where people experience muscle cramping.
Though, the more important reason we want to discuss in terms of muscle stiffness comes from the nutrients you give your body or rather a lack of certain nutrients.
Nutrient deficiency is common among adults whether we try to live healthily or not. There are just a lot of factors at play in modern-day life that can take a toll on the number of nutrients we get each day.
Iron deficiency, calcium deficiency, potassium deficiency and vitamin d deficiency are up there with the more common nutrient deficiencies and can certainly cause discomfort and spasms in your muscles. A daily multivitamin can usually cover these bases, as well as a well-balanced diet and plenty of water.
When you have low potassium levels you may feel tired, muscle weakness or spasms. These symptoms are common with iron and calcium deficiencies, too. For optimal health, you may want to monitor how much of these essential nutrients you are getting each day.
Remember, too, that excessive intake of any one nutrient can also be harmful to your overall health, so you don't want to overdo it in any one area.
Tight muscles can also be a sign of dehydration, so it's always good to remember to get enough water to keep yourself hydrated throughout your day and especially when exercising.
However, the main mineral we want to discuss in this article is magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is arguably more common and more problematic than the other nutrients listed above.
What is magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency is simply when you do not have enough magnesium in your bloodstream. The human body contains around 25 g of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for the functioning of over 300 enzymes in human, with 90% of total body magnesium being contained in the muscles and bones.
It can cause a number of uncomfortable feelings in your body including muscle twitches and cramps, fatigue and muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and irregular heart rhythms.
Obviously, all of these things we want to avoid on a daily basis, so taking a magnesium supplement each day might just be the answer. By increasing your magnesium intake you're giving your body the mineral that every single cell in your body needs to function.
That's right, every cell in your body needs magnesium to function properly, so it's a pretty important mineral to either include in your daily diet or to supplement. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body.
If you experience abnormal heart rhythms or extreme muscle cramping it's always best to consult your doctor to find out if something more serious is occurring. However, mineral deficiencies can sometimes be a cause of some of these bodily concerns.
We always want to get our nutrients from food first and supplements second. So, here's a list of foods that are high in magnesium that you may want to add more of to your diet if you experience frequent muscle cramps and muscle tightness.
What are the benefits of magnesium supplementation?
Magnesium supplements usually come in a 1 or 2-per-day capsule that can be taken at any time of the day. People turn to supplements because it can sometimes be easier to get the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals this way.
Your overall health and wellness depends on a healthy lifestyle that cannot simply be fixed by taking a single supplement.
For example, you will still need to limit processed foods and alcohol, exercise regularly, and try to get as many essential nutrients from your diet as possible. Taking supplements simply cannot make up for a poor diet.
When you begin taking your daily magnesium supplement, there are a few benefits you may notice such as improved sleep, better mood, and fewer sugar cravings.
There are also more underlying benefits that you may not notice right away but are working beneath the surface such as reduced blood pressure and reduced risk of any heart-related issues down the line.
Of course, magnesium supplementation also help with those pesky cramps and muscle tightness that may occur during sleep, exercise, or sitting for too long, as well.
Why supplementation matters
When you want to feel better there are certain known ways to do so, which we discuss often in our blogs. However, as we age it's not always as easy to exercise regularly, get nutrients from food, and stick to our goals.
Not only that, but as we age we lose a lot of the natural vitamins and minerals that occur in our bodies. When our bodies get older they just have a harder time retaining nutrients and also producing them.
This is why many people turn to supplements to combat this decline. Nutrient deficiencies can happen at any age though, so it's important to know what is going into your body and why you may be feeling "off."
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