Information and inspiration for scleroderma patients and caregivers. Serving people in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Q: What are the foot and leg cramps I get every night from and what can I do about them. I have tried using drinks with additional potassium like drip drop but there is a lot of sugar in it and that gives me diarrhea too.
BD: Leg cramps can really interfere with a good night’s rest. Good sleep is essential to battling fatigue. To combat leg or muscle cramps, we need to consider both Potassium and Vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps absorb calcium which your muscles use to contract. Vitamin D deficiency can make muscle cramps worse. If you have not had your blood levels of vitamin D checked yet do talk with your doctor. Most Americans need approximately 800 IU vitamin D daily and you may need more if your blood levels are very low. Vitamin D is difficult to get entirely from foods and often we have to rely on some amount of vitamin supplements as well as a diet rich in fortified foods.
If you are looking to eat more potassium I have included a list of potassium rich foods which might be less likely to cause stomach upset. A typical diet can provide you with approximately 2000 mg of potassium. Aim to boost your diet with potassium rich food by another 500-1000 mg to fight muscle cramps and dehydration.
Spinach (1 cup cooked): 900 mg potassium
Baked potato (1 medium): 920 mg potassium
Dried Apricots (1/2 cup): 755 mg potassium
Acorn Squash (1 cup cooked): 899 mg potassium
Yogurt (1 cup nonfat): 625 mg potassium
Salmon (3 oz) 534 mg potassium
Avocado (1/2 cup mashed): 558 mg potassium