Topical magnesium products such as MagPro
, Fibro Flex
are often promoted as easy, effective ways to get magnesium and to reduce muscle pain and cramps, improve flexibility, and promote relaxation and sleep. However, there is little reliable clinical evidence showing these products are effective and topical magnesium products may cause skin irritation, itching and rash. (Note: Some companies claim this irritation is a sign of magnesium deficiency, but this is not scientifically supported). For more details, see the Magnesium Creams, Sprays and Oils
section of the Magnesium Supplements Review. Be aware that oral magnesium supplements have also not been found to reduce leg cramps in most people, although one particular form of magnesium
supplement may decrease the frequency and severity of leg cramps in women who are pregnant (see our Top Picks
for magnesium supplements).
Can other supplements help?
Other supplements can be helpful for muscle cramps and pain caused by specific conditions. For example, CoQ10
can reduce statin-related muscle pain and cramps, and taurine
has been shown to reduce the number and severity of muscle cramps in people with cirrhosis.
There is some evidence that curcumin
(from turmeric), tart cherry juice
, and a particular omega-3 supplement
may help to reduce exercise-related muscle pain (delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)).
To date, topical CBD (cannabidiol)
cream has not been found to help with exercise-related muscle pain.
Other vitamins & minerals and deficiencies
Deficiency in vitamin B6
may cause painful muscle cramps.
is sometimes promoted to prevent muscle cramps because it is a rich source of potassium, a mineral which is essential for proper muscle and nerve function. Potassium deficiency
can cause muscle spasms. However, there are no good studies on the effects of coconut water on muscle cramps. Additionally, nighttime
muscle cramps and exercise-related
muscle cramps do not appear to be related to potassium levels — but be aware that getting too much potassium
has actually been reported to cause
Leg cramps were reported
in an individual in a clinical trial who was taking a form of niacin (nicotinamide riboside) sold as Niagen