QUESTION: Do you ever experience muscle cramping in your legs or your feet during a workout or in bed at night?
ANSWER: Muscle cramping is very common in athletes and also very easily treated with over the counter supplements. In my experience, 20% of cramping is due to electrolyte imbalance, but most of the time it’s due to a mineral deficiency. Make a conscious effort to eat dark green vegetables and purple/red fruits on a daily basis to improve your overall nutrition and mineral intake. In the short term, take 400 to 600 mg of Magnesium Citrate per day until cramping resolves. See the next question for electrolyte replacement.
Q: Do you often feel exhausted upon waking in the morning and wide awake after 9 p.m.?
A: Over time, chronic stress and caffeine deplete your adrenal glands — little hormone producers that sit on top of your kidneys and regulate stress and sleep/wake cycles. Taking care to live by a schedule is great for your adrenals — go to bed around the same time every night, get up at the same time even on weekends and get enough sleep. Take it easy on the coffee in the morning to rev up and wine at night to relax. Naturopathic doctors and herbalists have lots of tricks to improve adrenal health, but you can take care of yourself by adding a B vitamin complex in the morning and possibly Magnesium before bed.
Q: Are you a “Salty Sweater”? Do you ever see or feel salt on your skin or clothing (including the rim of your visor) after a workout?
A: Salty sweaters make up about 25% of the general population, and simply lose more electrolytes in their sweat than the rest of us. You need to pay closer attention to sports drinks during long or hot workouts than others, who can usually get by with just water on workouts of 90 minutes or less.
Try drinking coconut water, electrolyte replacing drinks with Nuun tablets, V8 juice or canned soups on days of major workouts. Look for sports drinks with around 100 mg of sodium per serving to use during the workout itself rather than plain water; avoid unnecessary calories and chemicals such as food colouring and High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Q: Do you feel urgently hungry, shaky or irritable between meals?
A: Hypoglycemia is very common, and usually due to high carbohydrate intake. Plan to eat at least eight grams of protein every four hours and cut way back on sugars and grains; instead, focus your diet on protein sources such as nuts, legumes, eggs, meats and plentiful vegetables and fruits.
Author: Evie Katahdin, ND, LAc has built a medical practice in Newport Beach, CA devoted to Preventive and Natural Healthcare.