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Alcohol and Leg Cramps

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First, I would like to thank my perceptive, caring and thoughtful spark friends who voiced their concern for my health. I am not an alcoholic, although alcohol is the ‘food’ I most struggle with. As some of are drawn to sweets or fats or salts, I am drawn to deep red wine. Alcoholism does run in my family genes (we had a Great Uncle Mumbles) and my mother would abstain from her Rose to prove she was not chemically dependent. I follow in her footsteps and give up alcohol for Lent each year.

It was then that I would lose the 5-10 pounds that kept me in a healthy weight range until I entered menopause. Not only did the weight not come off, but I continued to gain. (If you can’t tell I was not a physically active person and I still need to push myself to exercise…)

I continued to drink wine once I started my Spark journey in earnest (July 2009) and would read with interest the health articles pro and con. Was it good for your heart, cholesterol, what was considered moderation, etc..

Second, LIVELIGHTENFREE asked what I did with my gift from the Universe. As I was completing the Sleep Challenge in August, and waking with leg cramps, I researched some 'facts' about alcohol and sleep:

There are two main reasons why legs ache after drinking alcohol.
- One, alcohol intake increases the content of lactic acid in your body. Excessive build up of lactic acid in your body can lead to cramps or pain in your muscles.
- Two, alcohol leads to dehydration. Your body ends up falling short on electrolytes, and you tend to experience muscle pain or cramps.

Surprise, surprise - Water intake will not only hydrate you, but will also lessen the concentration of built-up lactic acid in your body.

As this is getting long, I will write more tomorrow how alcohol can interfere with the normal sleep process.

Namaste my friends
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I've noticed my leg cramps are worse when I drink wine and always wondered if there was a connection. My inquiries seem to be agreeing as well. Thanks for your post.
    369 days ago
    Hmmm, DH was told to take a glass of red wine at night and does get leg cramps...you again are giving us learning lessons..
    2558 days ago
    P.S. I'm still eating prunes for my bones, along with taking my calcium and vitamin D. I hardly ever drink alcohol, but I'm bad about drinking coffee and tea at work, which also dehydrates you. But, I'm drinking lots of water! My legs don't cramp, but they ache and swell from my varicose veins.
    2558 days ago
    I'm always learning new information from you. Thank you! emoticon
    2558 days ago
    I never knew that!

    When I was in my 20's (and I'm not saying how many decades ago that was) and I was going to the bars with my friends, we would meet for breakfast the next day and my legs would ache. When I tied to tell my friends about it I got my "L" mixed up and I'd say "my eggs are laking" - for some reason it wouldn't come out right!

    Well - thanks to you, Kaligirl I now know why.

    2558 days ago
    Sorry that I was away and missed your last blog.

    Gifts from the Universe are great - and so is red wine, in moderation! I share your love of it.

    I had to stay of alcohol completely for about 18 months and really missed red wine - much more than most food temptations. I'm not an alcoholic either but I love the taste. I suspect that we might have similarly wired taste buds (my bodkin) - dark chocolate, red wine, strong coffee..... I did do without while my liver recovered from last year's damage but I am now relishing 1 glass of red on Friday and Saturday evening. Bliss!

    I'm very interested in your research about wine and sleep and hope that you find a solution to the leg cramps. Oddly I have noticed that I now get hot knees when I have glass of red. I wonder if this is linked. Look forward to your next instalment.

    emoticon emoticon
    2558 days ago
    I agree with Memama about water and vinegar - although I do take them together! About 2 tbsp of vinegar in 32 ounces of water, sipped throughout the day. There are many things that this "potion" seems to fix for me, and for that I gratefully attribute to drinking vinegar water, including: candida, diminshed heartburn, weight loss, stronger nails. Does it taste good? Well, not so much - but it is tolerable or sometimes I "doll it up" with some stevia and a little sugar-free flavoring.
    2558 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/22/2010 12:29:54 PM
    I get lots of water, its all I drink other than one serving of soy beverage and one of green tea. But I do get the very rare leg cramp. I also take calcium (another thing you must get enough of as well to avoid leg cramps). Check to make sure you get at least 1,000 mg calcium each day..I have to supplement with tablets as I don't do enough dairy.
    It seems everyone agrees one cup of wine a day can be beneficial. Is more than that a problem then?
    2558 days ago
    More good info ..... you know me; water and vinegar (not necessarily together) are the answers to many problems!!! emoticon
    2558 days ago
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