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Do Electrolytes Prevent Muscle Cramps 

Has it ever occurred to you that you feel severe muscular pains during sleeping or after a strenuous exercise? This painful and sudden contraction of muscles comes when you are least prepared for it, leaving you with a great deal of pain and discomfort. The tenderness in the muscle can take a few days to a week to fully heal. 

Unfortunately, muscular cramps are very common. Even though these involuntary  contractions are harmless, they do have the potential to ruin your days and nights. Do  you know why post-exercise or sudden muscle cramps happen and does electrolyte  imbalance really cause muscle cramps? Continue reading to find out the causes and  prevention strategies for muscular cramps.  

  1. Why do muscle cramps occur?  

Research suggests that there can be two leading causes of unexplained muscular  cramps. One theory relates to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in the body,  while the other theory suggests that muscular cramps stem from muscular overload  and neuromuscular fatigue. 

Muscle cramps

 Dehydration/ Electrolyte imbalance theory  

This theory is probably the oldest theory that explains muscle cramps.  According to this theory, muscular cramps are caused by a significant  disturbance in the body fluids and electrolyte balance.  

Muscles need to have sufficient amounts of electrolytes like sodium,  magnesium, potassium, and chlorides in balanced levels to function properly. If  the levels of these electrolytes are not in balance, it can lead to muscle  cramps and spasms. A lower level of the minerals mentioned above prevents  the muscles from relaxing after a contraction, causing tenderness and cramps.  

To prove this theory, a study was conducted in 2021, where two groups of  participants, mostly athletes, were given two different drinks and then made 

to work out. One group was given a placebo drink, while the other was given an  electrolyte drink (mostly sodium). And the results were similar to what  everyone expected. The participants who took the electrolyte drink were less  likely to develop muscular cramps, while the group given a placebo drink  complained of post-workout muscular cramps. 

Dehydration and Muscle cramps
  • Neuromuscular theory  

According to this theory, the muscular overload and extra pressure on the  muscles during workout causes muscular fatigue, resulting in an imbalance  between excitatory and inhibitory signals that the muscles send during  contraction and relaxation.  

Research indicates that this imbalance occurs when the muscles contract in a  relatively shortened position due to the muscle’s less tension pull. This causes  an amplified level of excitatory signals, resulting in muscular cramps.  

  1. Which theory applies best to the reason behind muscular cramps?  

Muscular cramps that are associated with exercises or workouts are very common.  Despite this fact, there is still little experimental data on the exact reasons why  muscle cramps happen. By far, both of the above theories have scientific backing, and  any one of them cannot be given a preference over the other. Also it is highly unlikely  that a single mechanism can be responsible for muscular cramps in various situations.  Therefore a single strategy for treating and preventing muscular cramps will not  work.  

Hydration Sauce

Muscular cramps prevention  

Based on the theories stated above and the studies conducted to find the reason  behind all the uncomfortable muscular cramping, research suggests that whatever the  reason maybe, the prevention strategies of exercise-associated muscle cramps stem  from both electrolyte imbalance theory and neuromuscular theory. Two most effective  preventive measures for muscular cramps are :  

  • Maintain fluid intake and keep electrolytes in balance  

Specifically for athletes, excessive sweating post-exercise causes a deficiency  of sodium. If not taken orally, the prolonged sodium insufficiency will most  likely cause contracted interstitial fluid compartment and intense and 

widespread muscle spasms. These muscular cramps can occur even if there is  no pressure or muscle overload.  

Unfortunately, contrary to the old beliefs, hydration alone isn’t enough to  replenish the electrolytes and help us prevent muscular cramping. When you  lose water after a workout through sweat, drinking more water will only result  in the body flushing out more electrolytes. Since water and the electrolyte  both are lost during sweating, they both have to be a part of the prevention/ treatment strategy.  

Electro Sauce

Hydrating Electrolyte Capsules

Since a lot of electrolytes are lost through sweat, the wise thing to do here  would be to hydrate and not just plain water but electrolyte drinks. Electrolyte  water is the name given to water infused with minerals such as sodium,  potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This water with electrically charged  minerals prevents muscle cramps after exercise and has numerous other  benefits like improving exercise performance, supporting the nervous system,  and preventing heat strokes.  

Besides the electrolyte-infused water, consuming electrolyte-rich foods,  particularly those with sodium, potassium, and chloride, is also suggested to  make up for the lost electrolytes. If you want to make it even more  convenient, try taking electrolyte capsules or hydration drinks. Cell Sauce has  some innovative products by the name of Electro Sauce and Hydration Sauce that provides the essential electrolytes and all the hydration your body needs.  These products help replenish the sodium and potassium lost through sweating.  To avoid muscle spasms, it is suggested to take the electrolytes during the  hours immediately before the workout or exercise. In just a little time after  consumption, you will quickly get to know if the product is effective or not.

  • Signs your muscular cramps are due to electrolyte imbalance  

Along with the muscular cramps post-workout, a few other signs indicate an  electrolyte imbalance. These signs are mental confusion, dizziness,  palpitations, or irregular heartbeat. If you have any of these symptoms coupled  with muscular cramps, it is high time you start consuming electrolyte balancing  products.  

  • Practice Stretching  

Another way to avoid muscular cramps is to practice stretching regularly.  Stretching can be a great way to warm up your muscles and prevent muscle  soreness. 

For people who experience cramping during night/sleep, often referred to as  nocturnal leg cramps, it is best to practice easy stretching techniques half an  hour before sleeping.  

 Muscular cramps can be due to various reasons, and one cause cannot fit in all  situations. Sometimes it is due to electrolyte imbalance, and other times it can be  due to the extra fatigue on the muscles. However, it is best to keep your electrolyte  levels in check and consume foods and drinks with electrolyte content to prevent  muscle cramps. 

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