According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), almost six out of ten Americans report having sleep problems and insomnia at least a few nights a week. Insomnia is defined as “An inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when the problem continues over time.”
In an effort to combat this, as many as 25 percent of the people in the United States use medications to help them sleep. Most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, stay in the bloodstream, give a hangover effect the next day and beyond, and impair memory and performance on the job and at home.
From a nutritional perspective, several research studies have shown certain minerals to be effective as natural sleep aids that help people fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”
Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.
William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”
Regarding magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep.
The benefits of magnesium was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. The study was titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.”
Note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and these two minerals should be taken together in a two to one ratio for best results (twice as much calcium as magnesium).
Beyond being effective sleep remedies, the health benefits of calcium and magnesium are many. Studies have proven calcium to increase bone health, reduce high blood pressure, relax the nerves and muscles, prevent colon cancer and remedy kidney stones. Magnesium is an effective nutrient for strengthening heart health, reducing diabetes, and treating migraines, restlessness and depression.
Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural ingredients for relaxation and deeper sleep. The result was Sleep Minerals II, a natural sleep aid which contains absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc – all combined in a softgel with carrier oils. Oils such as rice bran oil have been shown to increase mineral absorption.
Chris M. of the United Kingdom says: “I take one softgel of Sleep Minerals II before bed every night and within 20 minutes I am asleep. The difference in the quality of my sleep and the ease with which I get to sleep using this product is monumental. I have stopped obsessing about sleep or dreading bedtime — I just take a softgel and drift off. If I stop taking them, within a week my sleep starts to lighten in quality, the amount of my sleep diminishes, and my old insomniac patterns reappear.”
Darleen T. of La Mesa, California says: “I purchased Sleep Minerals for my teenage daughter. When she started on the minerals she hadn’t been sleeping well for the past couple of years. She was run down and feeling beyond her years… exhausted. She is only 18. Once she started on Sleep Minerals she actually became tired at night, which is new. She can fall into a restful sleep by 10:30 p.m. and sleep all night. This product is a heaven-send and has given her a life back.”
Natural minerals for sleep that are combined in an effective formula are a much better option then enduring heavy side effects from sleeping drugs. For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.
This article reveals several proven natural remedies for insomnia in menopause, as well as those that work for hot flashes and night sweats.
The North American Menopause Society reports that an estimated 6,000 U.S. women reach menopause each day, which translates to over 2 million women every year.
The Women’s Health Initiative study, which followed 16,608 women being given hormone replacement therapy in menopause, discovered a high risk of heart disease and stroke from the use of these drugs. As a result, more and more women today are seeking the use of natural remedies for menopause symptoms such as insomnia and sleeplessness, hot flashes, night sweats, migraine headaches, anxiety and fatigue.
Vitamin E is famous for it’s health benefits to glands and organs, however it may not be generally known that vitamin E is a proven remedy for hot flashes. Adelle Davis, the first nutritionist to base her recommendations on science-based studies, says:
“During the menopause the need for vitamin E soars ten to fifty times over that previously required. Hot flashes and night sweats often disappear when 50 to 500 units of vitamin E are taken daily, but they quickly recur should the vitamin be stopped.”
One study supporting vitamin E comes from the University of Iran, published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation. 400 IU of vitamin E in a softgel cap was given to the participants daily for four weeks. A diary was used to measure hot flashes before the study and at the end. The researchers concluded that vitamin E is effective and is a recommended treatment for hot flashes.
Another natural remedy has been making headlines lately. Mayo Clinic breast health specialist Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., conducted a study on flaxseed for hot flashes. The 29 participants in this clinical trial were women with hot flashes who did not want to take estrogen because of an increased risk of breast cancer. The study gave them six weeks of flaxseed therapy, consisting of 40 grams of crushed flaxseed eaten daily.
The result was that the frequency of hot flashes decreased fifty percent. Participants also reported improvements in mood, joint or muscle pain, chills, and sweating. This was a significant improvement in their health and quality of life. Dr. Pruthi said: “We hope to find more effective non-hormonal options to assist women, and flaxseed looks promising.”
Night sweats and hot flashes can become a form of insomnia in which a woman wakes up drenched in sweat and unable to sleep. Regarding mineral deficiency at the time of menopause, nutritionist Adelle Davis says:
“The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”
Magnesium can also balance hormones and remedy insomnia and hot flashes. One example is a study from the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. Women with at least 14 hot flashes a week received 400 milligrams of magnesium oxide daily for 4 weeks, increasing to 800 mg. per day if needed. At the end of the study, the magnesium supplements had reduced their frequency of hot flashes from 52 to 28 per week, which is a 41% reduction. Fatigue, sweating, and distress were also significantly reduced.
There is also an emerging link between estrogen decline, menopause symptoms and magnesium deficiency. Mildred Seeling, M.D. describes this in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. She says “Estrogen enhances magnesium utilization and its uptake by the soft tissues and bone, and may explain the resistance of young women to heart disease and osteoporosis — as well as the increased prevalence of these diseases when estrogen production ceases.”
Magnesium works best when it’s balanced with calcium in a two to one ratio. Dr. Seeling says: “The Cal/Mag ratio of two to one (twice as much calcium as magnesium) has long been considered physiologic (for healthy cells) and best for normal functioning. This was confirmed on the basis of long-term metabolic studies in young men and women done by the Research Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
Vitamin D is more than just a vitamin, it’s also a hormone. That means, after undergoing a couple of activation processes in the body, it binds to cells throughout the body to regulate a wide range of bodily functions.
Fom the journal “Medical Hypothesis” comes a research study that followed 1500 patients over a 2 year period. A consistent level of vitamin D3 was maintained in their blood over many months. This produced normal sleep in most of the participants, regardless of their type of sleep disorder, which suggests that many types of insomnia may share the same cause.
During the research, the authors discovered the presence of high concentrations of vitamin D “receiving sites” or “receptors” in those areas of the brain that are related to the onset and maintenance of sleep.
One insomnia remedy becoming popular among menopausal women is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This natural sleep aid contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium and is effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia.
Sleep Minerals also contains vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form mixed with natural rice bran oil, making it better assimilated than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
Sadie D. from The Netherlands says: “I am ever so grateful that I discovered Sleep Minerals II after suffering with premenopause and now the real menopausal insomnia. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind due to the continual lack of sleep. I can’t express the relief of getting a good night’s sleep and being able to function properly.”
Tammy M. of Meridian, Idaho says: “I was plagued with insomnia for five years and desperate for a breakthrough. Nothing has helped me more than Sleep Minerals — I*m so sold on them I could go door to door promoting them. I’m 60 years old and have never slept so soundly.”
Menopause has been found to be a fulfilling time of life for many women. In a recent survey sponsored by the North American Menopause Society, 51% of U.S. postmenopausal women reported being happiest and most fulfilled between the ages of 50 and 65. Menopause is an excellent time for a woman to keep her health at its peak and minimize symptoms such as night sweats and insomnia by using effective natural remedies.
Foods rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin E are particularly helpful for hot flashes. This includes most nuts, seeds, high-quality yogurt and cheese, sardines with bones, salmon, green leafy vegetables, other green vegetables, and avocado.
What is a natural remedy for hot flashes?
Vitamin E is famous for it’s health benefits to glands and organs, however it may not be generally known that vitamin E is a proven remedy for hot flashes. Other effective natural remedies include ground flax seeds, calcium and magnesium.
What causes hot flashes?
Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. explains the source of hot flashes in his book: “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause”. When the female hormones become depleted as in menopause, the brain sends out signals for the ovaries to make more hormones, but they no longer respond. The the brain begins to “shout”. This over-activity affects adjacent areas of the brain; particularly the area that controls body temperature and sweating mechanisms — thus the occurrence of hot flashes.
What triggers hotflashes?
Sometimes spicy food, hot beverages, caffeine, alcohol or cigarettes can bring on a hot flash. For help with night sweats in bed, keep the bedroom cool and keep a washcloth in a bowl of ice near the bed to use on the forehead or chest as needed. To minimize hot flashes during the summer weather, stay cool by using fans and drinking cold drinks. Keep air conditioners on and make sure that the air is circulating throughout the room. Dress in layers so you can peel them off as needed.
Hot flashes and night sweats create a sudden feeling of warmth and often a breakout of sweating in the upper half of the body.
These flashes are experienced by up to 80% of women around the time of menopause, and also by men due to a lessening of testosterone in middle age.
Hot flashes are normally brought on by a reduced function in the brain’s temperature regulation, caused by changing hormone levels. Night sweats that occur while sleeping can cause overheating and frequent awakenings.
Another source of hot flashes are medications. According to WebMD, “Taking certain medications can lead to night sweats. Antidepressant medications are a common type of drug that can lead to night sweats. From 8% to 22% of people taking antidepressant drugs have night sweats. Other psychiatric drugs have also been associated with night sweats.”
The “Sleep in America” poll results from the National Sleep Foundation found that more than half of all Americans (60%) experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night. Interestingly, a ten-year study to discover which drugs are used to treat insomnia was published in the journal “Sleep”. The study found that prescriptions for sleeping medications have decreased by 53.7%, but that antidepressant drugs prescribed for insomnia have increased by a surprising 146%. Examples of antidepressants prescribed for insomnia are trazodone, doxepin, trimipramine, and amitriptyline.
Medications may not always have the desired effects. For example, Drugs.com says the following about an antidepressant drug called Welbutrin — “Nervous system side effects have frequently included headache (27%), insomnia (16% to 33%)….and sleep abnormalities.” Health.com lists some other possible side effects of antidepressants as sexual dysfunction, weight gain, dry mouth and throat, racing pulse, confusion, disturbed dreams, and an increased risk of suicide.
On the other hand, Nature has provided us with some natural sleep remedies and relaxants that have stood the test of time. Regarding mineral deficiency as we age and at the time of menopause, the pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis says, “The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”
One sleep remedy that’s increasing in popularity is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This natural sleep aid contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for restless legs syndrome, bone strength, aches and pains and menopause insomnia. The formula also includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making the minerals more quickly assimilated than tablets or capsules. The softgel formulation provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep and is an effective alternative to medications.
Anita L. of New Caney, Texas says: “I was having hot flashes every 30 minutes to an hour through the night and was so miserable. After about two weeks of taking the Sleep Minerals, I noticed an incredible difference with my sleep. I have much less interruption from flashes, I’m sleeping much better and I’m a lot more comfortable.”
Alex R. of Ramseur of North Carolina says: “Sleep Minerals II has been a blessing for me. It has given me the opportunity to withdraw from a highly addictive sleep medication over time, and has allowed me to sleep while going through this most difficult ordeal. What’s great about it is it doesn’t lose its effectiveness, which is something that happens with sleep medications. I am most thankful for this product.”
In summary, while antidepressant medications and other drugs are being prescribed widely for insomnia, natural remedies for sleep and relaxation should be tried first. Those with absorbable calcium and magnesium have been proven effective. And they come without side effects such as hot flashes and night sweats and can even be a good remedy for these. For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.
Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of Sleep Minerals II, the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid **************************************
“You are what you eat,” as the saying goes. Apparently, what you eat affects how you sleep too.
Studies have found that nutrition has a huge impact on how well you do (or do not) sleep. Ensuring that you get sufficient amounts of the four nutrients listed below is a great step toward ridding yourself of sleep troubles and insomnia.
It is common knowledge that calcium is necessary for bone development. What is not as well-known is the subtle role that calcium plays in allowing your body to sleep well.
Calcium naturally soothes the nervous system, which speeds up the process of quieting down the mind prior to sleep. When you are stressed, calcium levels are rapidly depleted, which makes it even harder to fall asleep.
Good sources of calcium are organic dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, seaweed, broccoli, and calcium-fortified products.
If you decide to take calcium supplements before bed, remember that your vitamin should also contain vitamin D as vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to unexplained anxiety and nervousness, which makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Even worse is that once asleep, people with magnesium deficiency sleep lightly and wake up frequently. As a result, it is difficult to feel rested in the morning even if you were able to fall asleep.
To counteract a deficiency, eat foods that are high in magnesium like almonds, cashews, and bran.
3. B-Complex Vitamins
Several vitamins are included in the B-complex. Vitamins B3, B5, B9, and B12 are particularly important in the body for regulating sleep cycles.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is recommended to help people with depression or those who wake up frequently to sleep better. Vitamin B3 also enhances the effectiveness of tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin (a mood regulator).
Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, can help reduce feelings of anxiety or stress. Without enough vitamin B5, you may start to feel fatigued yet unable to sleep.
In its natural state, vitamin B9 is called folate; folic acid is the term used when the nutrient is man-made. Whether you get folate from your diet or folic acid from a supplement, it is yet another B vitamin deficiency that can exacerbate insomnia. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce, broccoli), beans, peas, lentils, lemons, bananas, and melons.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, helps the body maintain its circadian rhythms, which control the sleep and wake cycles. Without enough B12, you may start to feel irritable, exhausted, and have trouble focusing and falling asleep. Many doctors recommend vitamin B12 to treat insomnia and possibly rectify other sleep disorders.
A study on the zinc levels of adults found that higher levels resulted in participants sleeping uninterrupted for longer duration.
Zinc is found in beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, turkey and lentils.
In closing, if you suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbances, take a moment to consider your diet. In general, if you eat well, you sleep well. Talk to your doctor about potential absorption issues that can lead to deficiencies, which in turn can cause insomnia.
A note from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Sleep Minerals II contains the necessary minerals and vitamins to remedy insomnia and support better sleep – calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc — all combined in a softgel with healthy oils. The softgel form is more quickly absorbed than tablets or capsules and provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
Tammy M. of Meridian, Idaho says: “I was plagued with insomnia for five years and desperate for a breakthrough. Nothing has helped me more than Sleep Minerals II – I’m so sold on them I could go door to door promoting them. I’m 60 years old and have never slept so soundly.”
Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference. I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours. This has been a great improvement.”
Nutrition Breakthroughs of Glendale, California is providing Sleep Minerals II, a potent natural weapon in the war against insomnia and its many side effects.
This new generation of Sleep Minerals features fast absorbing forms of nature’s best-known minerals for relaxation – calcium and magnesium. Sleep Minerals II answers the demands of a National Sleep Foundation poll which reports that American insomnia rates have increased from 51% to 64% in the last few years.
According to the National Institutes of Health, insomnia can wreak havoc on the health and lives of its sufferers, causing excessive daytime sleepiness and extreme lack of energy. The sleep-deprived can become irritable and depressed and may have trouble focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning and remembering. Insomnia can contribute to accidents with machinery, accidents from poor balance, and accidents on the road while driving.
The use of prescription sleeping drugs has steadily increased, and most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, stay in the bloodstream, give a hangover effect the next day and beyond, and impair performance on the job and at home.
Insomnia is a major problem for millions of Americans, with 25% of the U.S. using sleeping drugs in an effort to get some rest (per the National Sleep Foundation). Because of the side effects of sleeping drugs, an increasing number of people are reaching out to find an effective natural insomnia remedy .
Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs has stepped forward as a potent natural alternative. It can help the restless sleep whether they are unable to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, or they habitually wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
It is an effective insomnia remedy due to its unique combination of ingredients. It contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc, all combined in a softgel with healthy carrier oils. Oils such as rice bran oil have been shown to increase mineral absorption. Inside of the softgel, there is a creamy paste of absorbable nutrients which fuel the relaxing results that Sleep Minerals II provides.
Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. One study found that calcium levels were higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. Calcium is one of the few minerals that acts as a natural sedative, because it causes the release of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.
The well-known nutritionist Adelle Davis says: “A calcium deficiency often shows itself by insomnia, another form of an inability to relax. The harm done by sleeping tablets, to say nothing of the thousands of dollars spent on them, could largely be avoided if the calcium intake were adequate.”
Insomnia is also one of the main symptoms of a chronic magnesium deficiency. Sleep in magnesium deficiency is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center called “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.”
However, no matter how many studies support the use of these ingredients and their unique formulation, the proof is in the pudding. Reviews of Sleep Minerals II continue to demonstrate it’s effectiveness.
W.W. of Perth, Australia says: “I have been taking the Sleep Minerals for the past 15 nights and am noticing an improvement in my ability to go back to sleep when waking during the night. I have also been able to start reducing the medication that I have been taking for the past 7 years for sleep. I will definitely keep taking them and hope to keep reducing the prescription meds and continue to feel more rested during the day.”
S. K of Indianapolis, Indiana says: “I have been using Sleep Minerals II religiously every single night. I suffered from years of anxiety-related insomnia. Nothing helped. My doctor couldn’t find a medicinal combination of medications to treat my anxiety well enough to allow me to get some good sleep. On my first night of Sleep Minerals II, I was able to sleep all the way through the night. I’ve been using it for almost two years now. I am absolutely 1000% satisfied with this product and have even recommended it to my friends and family when they discuss their sleep issues with me.”
J.H. of Manitoba, Canada says: “Sleep Minerals II has made a huge difference in my life as I was having debilitating leg cramps that used to occur every night. My legs were sore even into the next day. These have now become history. My sleep is so much better and now I don’t worry constantly about my calcium and magnesium levels. I am 70 years old and look forward to a very healthy old age. I suffered with sleep deprivation for a very long time and I will continue to pass the word to my friends about how Sleep Minerals II has changed my life.”
In summary, if you or someone you care about is suffering with sleeplessness and insomnia, try putting some Sleep Minerals II into your natural medicine cabinet for effective relief.
By Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine who provides up-to-date natural health information.
This article is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium, magnesium and vitamin D based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.
A charley horse, or muscle cramp particularly in your calf muscles, is an incredibly common condition that results in your muscles becoming tight, stiff and extremely painful. If you’re an adult, there’s a good chance you’ve had one at some point (and likely multiple points) during your lifetime.
In case you’re a trivia buff and wondering why these muscle cramps are referred to as “charley horses” (a name that’s primarily used in North America), it’s said to be a tribute to Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourne, an 1880s-era baseball pitcher who often suffered from muscle cramps during games.
Another version states the term came from a lame work horse named Charley who limped around doing various jobs around the baseball park (also in the 1880s).
Whenever a baseball player would get injured or have a cramp in the lower legs, thus limping around like Charley the horse, teammates would call the player “Charley Horse.”Regardless of the name’s origin, the pain of a charley horse is unmistakable and can be excruciating.
What Causes a Charley Horse?
According to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, about 1 in every 3 adults is affected by muscle cramps in their lower limbs. In many cases, the pain is temporary and goes away on its own, but for some the cramps interfere with sleep, quality of life and daily activities.
In one study of more than 500 people aged 60 years and older, 31 percent reported being woken up by muscle cramps and 15 percent had cramps more than three times a month. Anyone can get a charley horse, but they’re most common in the following populations and scenarios:
At nighttime, especially in the elderly
In pregnant women
In people with neurological disease
During kidney dialysis
It’s not clear what triggers a charley horse to occur, but it is thought the cramp may be related to a rapidly firing nerve (up to 150 electrical dischargers per second), which causes the muscle to tense up, as opposed to an issue with the muscle tissue itself.
Many medications are also associated with muscle cramps, including statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, ACE inhibitors (blood pressure drugs), certain asthma drugs, diuretics and more. In addition, the following factors may also increase your risk of a charley horse:
Poor blood circulation in your legs
Mineral deficiencies, including magnesium, potassium or calcium
Is Magnesium Deficiency Causing Your Charley Horses?
By some estimates, up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and may be deficient. Other research shows only about 25 percent of U.S. adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men.
Magnesium is often thought of primarily as a mineral for your heart and bones, but this is misleading. Researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated.
Further, if you suffer from charley horses, low levels of magnesium could be to blame. Magnesium is necessary for activating muscles and nerves, and a key sign of ongoing magnesium deficiency can be muscle contractions and cramps like charley horses.
Magnesium deficiency may be particularly problematic for your muscles in the presence of an overabundance of calcium. Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor:
“What happens is the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm.
Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract and create their activity.”
This underscores the importance of eating a nutritious diet, which will naturally give you optimal amounts of the minerals and other nutrients your body needs.
Eating plenty of organic leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds every day, and drinking fresh green vegetable juice will help keep your magnesium stores replenished. In addition, Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin.
Soaking in a bath with Epsom salts is an excellent way to not only help prevent magnesium deficiency but also to soothe and relieve the pain of a charley horse.
Low Potassium Levels May Also Trigger a Charley Horse
Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte. (An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrical conducting solution when dissolved in water. Electrolytes carry a charge and are essential for life. In our bodies, electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium).
Potassium is essential for your cells, tissues and organs to function properly. It plays a vital role in heart health, digestive and muscular function, bone health and more. One of the symptoms of low potassium levels is muscle cramps.
While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. — including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines and nuts — only 2 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 mg.
This is especially problematic because potassium is a nutrient that needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood. If you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium.
Others who are at particular risk of low potassium, or hypokalemia, are those with chronic malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, or those taking heart medicine (particularly loop diuretics). However, anyone who eats a poor diet — an excess of processed foods and not enough fresh, whole foods — is potentially at risk of inadequate potassium levels and related muscle cramps.
Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300 mg to 400 mg of potassium per cup. Some additional rich sources of potassium are:
Lima beans (955 mg/cup)
Winter squash (896 mg/cup)
Cooked spinach (839 mg/cup)
Avocado (500 mg per medium)
Too Little Calcium May Trigger Muscle Cramps
While too much calcium in the absence of magnesium can be problematic for muscle cramps, so too can a calcium deficiency. Low blood levels of calcium (as well as magnesium) may increase the excitability of nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate.
This may be a trigger for muscle cramps, especially in the elderly and during pregnancy. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, meanwhile, your body may have inadequate calcium absorption, again predisposing you to muscle cramps.
It’s very important to maintain a proper balance of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and also vitamin K2, as these four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. If you’re calcium deficient, your best bet is to increase consumption of foods high in calcium before opting for a supplement. This is because many high-calcium foods also contain naturally high amounts of vitamin K2; nature cleverly gives us these two nutrients in combination, so they work optimally.
Good sources of calcium include nuts, seeds and raw, organic, grass-fed dairy especially cheeses, and vegetables, although veggies aren’t high in vitamin K2. One exception is fermented vegetables where a starter culture specifically designed to produce ample amounts of vitamin K2 was used.
Homemade bone broth is another excellent source. Simply simmer leftover bones over low heat for an entire day to extract the calcium from the bones. You can use this broth for soups and stews or drink it straight.
What to Do If You Get a Charley Horse
A charley horse often occurs without notice, sometimes waking you up from sound sleep. If you’re lying down when the pain starts, stand up and put some weight on your foot. Walking around will help to increase blood circulation to your muscles and possibly help to soothe and relax the cramp.
You can also try a simple stretch. If the cramp is in your calf in the back of your lower leg, pull your toes and foot upward until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. You can also do this sitting down with your legs outstretched. Put a towel around your feet and gently pull both ends toward you until you feel a stretch.
As mentioned, soaking in an Epsom salt bath may also help to relieve pain (and possibly help with prevention). Massaging the area and applying a heat pack, which will increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing and soothing pain, may also help.
Staying well-hydrated is also important for muscle cramp prevention. You’ll want to drink enough pure filtered water so that your urine is pale yellow in color. In addition, performing regular stretching exercises on your legs may help reduce your risk of a charley horse.
———————————- Comment from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Interestingly, the same mineral deficiencies that can cause charley horses are the same ones that can cause sleeplessness and insomnia. Studies show that calcium and magnesium are effective natural sleep aids. Highly absorbable forms of these minerals are featured in the Sleep Minerals II softgels. For more information visit the Sleep Minerals II page.
There’s a helpful chart below that shows the healthiest fats for glowing skin and hair, as well as for good nutrition of the organs and hormones. All hormones are formed with healthy fats, so eating more of these foods can nourish you in many ways.
Eating healthy fats with our meals can play a vital role in helping us sleep better and achieve overall greater health as these provide the basic building blocks for cholesterol production — a surprisingly healthy substance in our bodies. The best fats to eat are nutrient rich foods like eggs, natural butter, salmon, sardines, fish oils, avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.
For example, a healthy heart and long life are associated with eating walnuts. They have been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and also extend life spans in general. Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers protective benefits for the heart.
Walnuts can be a good sleep inducing food. Eating a handful of walnuts before bedtime may be a good way to calm down sleeplessness and insomnia. Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin and that it is absorbed when it is eaten.”
Avocados are a healthy, creamy, tasty food, whether they sit on top of a sandwich, an omelet or a salad, or become transformed into guacamole. The healthy fats in avocados balance hormones and this food features over twenty vitamins and minerals.
In summary, eating good healthy fats can enhance one’s health in many ways. This information is brought to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective natural insomnia remedy Sleep Minerals II.
A team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently embarked upon a study to help determine the causes of insomnia among premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
The team conducted phone interviews with 982 women and gathered information about their sleep history, frequency of hot flashes, and overall health. They found that 51% of postmenopausal women suffer with hot flashes and that 79% of premenopausal women have them. Among the women with the most intense hot flashes (based on their severity and frequency), 81% of them experienced sleeplessness and insomnia.
The lead researcher said: “In this paper, we have observed without any doubt and in a significant way that hot flashes are associated with insomnia. This is the first observational study showing the link between insomnia and hot flashes while controlling for other factors that could account for insomnia in women.”
Night sweats and hot flashes can become a form of insomnia in which a woman can wake up sweating and be unable to sleep. Regarding mineral deficiency at the time of menopause, the pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis says in her book ‘Let’s Get Well’ that: “The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”
Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.
Regarding the use of vitamin D as an insomnia remedy, Researchers at the East Texas Medical Center recently discovered that vitamin D helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. They found a definite link between vitamin D deficiency and the current epidemic of sleep disorders. During the research, the authors discovered the presence of high concentrations of vitamin D “receiving sites” or “receptors” in those areas of the brain that are related to the onset and maintenance of sleep.
One natural insomnia remedy gaining in popularity with women is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Sleep Minerals II contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, heart health, restless legs syndrome and bone strength. The formula also includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils. The mixture of oils and minerals makes it more quickly assimilated than tablets or capsules and provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
Anita L. of New Caney, Texas says: “I was having hot flashes every 30 minutes to an hour through the night and was so miserable. After about two weeks of taking the Sleep Minerals, I noticed an incredible difference with my sleep. I have much less interruption from hot flashes, I’m sleeping much better, and I’m a lot more comfortable.”
The Stanford research study shows a definite link between hot flashes and insomnia and suggests that if a woman can address and remedy her hot flashes, she will also likely improve her insomnia.
Surprise: One natural remedy proven in a research study to relieve hot flashes may be unexpected to some, as it is such a well-known, widely used vitamin with many benefits. It’s the famous vitamin C.
The study was called “Non-Hormonal Control of Vaso-Motor Flushing in Menopausal Patients”, published in the journal: “Chicago Medicine.” Vasomotor refers to the nerves and muscles causing blood vessels to constrict (narrow) or dilate (open). Blood vessels dilate during hot flashes — this process is the body’s way to release the heat. Extensive research indicates that vitamin C strengthens blood vessel membranes, eases hot flashes and helps slow the overall aging process.
In the vitamin C study, A total of 94 patients were studied, all of who had reached menopause. They were given 200 milligrams of vitamin C and 200 milligrams of bioflavonoids (the substance contained on the inside of orange peels) six times daily. Therefore each subject received 1200 mg of both the bioflavonoids and vitamin C each day. The results were that 67% of the subjects reported complete relief from hot flashes and 21% reported partial relief, giving this combination an overall 88% success rate.
Vitamin C is also proven to be a “Beauty Vitamin.” In support of vitamin C as an anti wrinkle nutrient, a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition announced the results of researchers from the United Kingdom. They discovered that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled skin appearance and skin dryness. Vitamin C majorly improved overall skin appearance in a study of 4,025 women aged 40 to 74.
Mineral deficiency can also be a factor in contributing to menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. The pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis writes of this in her book “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit”.
Davis says, “The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”
Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own menopausal battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural insomnia remedies for relaxation and deeper sleep.
The result was Sleep Minerals II, a natural insomnia remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, combined with vitamin D and zinc. The ingredients are formulated in a softgel with healthy oils, making them more quickly absorbable than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.
Anita L. of New Caney, Texas says: “I was having hot flashes every 30 minutes to an hour through the night and was so miserable. After about two weeks of taking the Sleep Minerals, I noticed an incredible difference with my sleep. I have much less interruption from flashes, I’m sleeping much better and I’m a lot more comfortable.”
The minerals in Sleep Minerals II are also proven to be beneficial for strong bones, healthy muscles, menopause symptoms, teenage insomnia, and correction of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D deficiencies.
Vitamin C can be found in many delicious foods and is known to be beneficial for immunity, stomach health, maintaining blood vessels, strengthening bones and teeth, healing wounds, and supporting heart and eye health.
Vitamin C is a key player in the production of collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body and is a component of muscle, joints, bone, skin, hair and nails. High amounts of vitamin C is supplied by citrus fruits, many berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green peppers, and in supplements.
For good health, smooth skin, hot flash relief, and a refreshing night of beauty sleep each night, keep your vitamin C levels high and take some absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium. For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit the natural sleep aid page.
Vitamin C night sweats?
Studies have shown that vitamin C for night sweats and hot flashes is an effective remedy. Blood vessels dilate and widen during hot flashes — this process is the body’s way to release the heat. Vitamin C strengthens blood vessel membranes and can ease hot flashes per a study in “Chicago Medicine.”
I’ve included an interesting and useful chart below containing healing herbs and spices – “A Medicine Cabinet in Your Kitchen.”
One good example is a healing herb that was the subject of a research study published in the journal “Circulation”. Researchers found that a pain ointment containing the main ingredient in cayenne pepper was able to reduce damage to the heart during a heart attack. An incredible 85 percent reduction in cardiac cell death was observed.
Cinnamon is more than a delicious seasoning. Studies from the University of Toronto and Ball State University in Indiana have confirmed that consuming cinnamon can significantly reduce blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels by adding cinnamon to the morning cereal.
Ginger contains many healing properties. For women with PMS, scientists at the University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran compared ginger capsules with two different kinds of anti-inflammatory drugs. 150 women participated and they were divided into three groups. At the end of the five-month study, ginger was shown to be as effective as the drugs with relieving pain and providing relief.
Sage is a delicious herb used in cooking, particularly with poultry and pasta sauces, and it has a long history of use for medicinal purposes. It’s been used by herbalists to treat sore throats, strengthen the nervous system and improve brain function.
The German Health Commission officially approved the use of sage for excessive sweating and one German study found sage to reduce excessive perspiration by 50%. Sage leaf is also a well-researched remedy for hot flashes and night sweats in menopause.
Regarding the use of minerals such as calcium and magnesium for good sleep and remedying insomnia, William Sears, M.D. writes that: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”
In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep.