We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

A potential cause of leg cramps is a vitamin deficiency, though research into this is ongoing.

This article discusses whether vitamin deficiencies can cause leg cramps, home and medical treatment, and when a person should see a doctor.

According to BMJ Clinical Evidence, researchers do not know why people have leg cramps. The article indicates that common causes of leg cramps include exercise, pregnancy, and electrolyte and salt imbalances.

However, there is evidence that certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause leg cramps.

Some of these vitamins and minerals, alongside their recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults, include:

Please note that potassium has an adequate intake (AI) rather than an RDA. This is because there is not yet enough evidence to establish an RDA.

A person’s RDA or AI can change according to a range of factors, such as their age and sex and whether they are pregnant or breastfeeding. The above amounts are suitable for most adults.

There is a variety of vitamin supplements on the market. However, some of these products contain doses higher than the RDA. Always check with a doctor or healthcare professional before taking supplements to establish the correct dosage.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

People who have a vitamin B1 deficiency can experience aching and cramping in the lower legs.

Supplements

The following supplements contain vitamin B1 and may help prevent leg cramps due to deficiency.

Nutricost Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

This product contains 120 vitamin B1 capsules.

Each capsule contains 100 mg of vitamin B1.

The capsules are non-GMO, gluten-free, and third-party tested.

Nutricost makes this product in a GMP compliant and FDA registered facility.

Nutricost Vitamin B1 supplements are available to purchase online.

BulkSupplements Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) Powder

The company recommend taking 125 mg of this powder per serving. Each serving contains 101mg of vitamin B12.

The company claim that this supplement supports metabolic function, the kidneys, and the nervous system. It also helps recovery from exercise.

This product is free from sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives.

BulkSupplements Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) Powder is available for purchase online.

BariMelts B1 Dissolvable Bariatrics Vitamins

The company has designed this product specifically for people who have had gastric bypasses, gastric sleeves, or lap band surgery. The tablets are dissolvable for ease of consumption.

Each tablet contains 12.5 mg of vitamin B1, and people should take 1 tablet a day.

According to BariMelts, this product is gluten-free, non-GMO, sugar-free, and made with natural flavors, sweeteners, and colors.

BariMelts B1 Dissolvable Bariatrics Vitamins are available to buy online.

Foods high in vitamin B1

Some foods high in vitamin B1 include:

  • whole grains
  • brown rice
  • pork and poultry
  • soybeans
  • nuts
  • dried beans
  • peas
  • fortified grain products such as cereal

Cobalamin, or vitamin B12, is a vitamin that people can find in animal and dairy food.

People who have a vitamin B12 deficiency can sometimes experience muscle cramps all over the body.

Supplements

Since most good food sources of vitamin B12 are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans, people following plant-based diets may benefit from a supplement.

Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (B-12)

This product contains 60 chewable lozenges of vitamin B12. Each serving of 1 lozenge contains 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.

The company recommend chewing or dissolving 1 lozenge in the mouth every 3–4 days.

This product is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and contains no wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy products, or eggs.

Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin (B-12) is available for purchase online.

Wellabs Vitamin B-12 Extra Strength

This product comes in liquid form. The company makes this product in the United States.

It is vegan-friendly and is free from gluten, corn syrup, soy, and GMO.

Each serving of this product contains 5,000 mcg of vitamin B12.

The company recommend taking 2 drops a day to boost mood and energy.

Wellabs Vitamin B-12 Extra Strength is available for purchase online.

Naturelo Vegan B12

Made in the United States, this product contains 100% natural, non-GMO ingredients. It is gluten-free, soy-free, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It does not contain any coloring, flavoring, or preservatives.

The company recommend that people take 1 capsule daily with food. Each capsule contains 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 and 200 mg of organic spirulina.

Naturelo Vegan B12 is available for purchase online.

Foods high in vitamin B12

Some foods high in vitamin B12 include:

  • liver
  • beef
  • lamb
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • dairy

Learn about vegan and vegetarian food sources of vitamin B12 here.

While the evidence is not conclusive, some scientists and medical experts think that a lack of vitamin D may cause muscle aches and pains.

Current research shows that it is likely that a very severe vitamin D deficiency can reduce muscle mass and increase muscle weakness. However, minor deficiencies do not have a significant effect.

Supplements

The following vitamin D supplements may help prevent deficiency:

Fit Ox Vitamin D3 Gummies

This product contains 120 chewable gummies that are organic and strawberry flavored.

The company recommend taking 2 gummies per day with a meal, which provides 100 mcg (4,000 IU) vitamin D.

This product is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains no preservatives.

Fit Ox Vitamin D3 Gummies are available for purchase online.

Sports Research Vitamin D3+K2 Softgels

This product is 100% vegan and contains coconut oil and non-GMO ingredients.

It contains vitamin D3 and K2.

The company recommend taking 1 softgel as a serving.

The company state that each serving contains 125mcg (5,000 IU) of vitamin D and 100 mcg of vitamin K.

Sports Research Vitamin D3+K2 Softgels are available for purchase online.

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3

This product contains 240 softgels. The ingredients are non-GMO, gluten-free, sugar-free, and do not contain artificial colors or sweeteners.

The company recommend taking 1 softgel per day with a meal. Each serving contains 125 mcg (5,000 IU) of vitamin D.

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 is available for purchase online.

Foods high in vitamin D

Some foods that are high in vitamin D include:

  • fish, such as halibut, trout, and cod
  • morel mushrooms
  • pork
  • beef and beef liver
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • dairy products
  • orange juice

Learn more about vitamin D food sources here.

Magnesium is a mineral that helps transport calcium and potassium across the body. Most magnesium in the body is in the bones, and the kidneys regulate how much magnesium is in the body at any one time.

A lack of magnesium may contribute to muscle cramps. Severe magnesium deficiency is rare, but low to moderate magnesium deficiency is not uncommon.

Supplements

The following supplements may help prevent magnesium deficiency:

Nobi Nutrition Magnesium Complex Premium

This vegan product contains 60 U.S.-formulated capsules.

The company recommend taking 1 capsule one to two times daily with a meal.

The product contains 60 capsules.

Each serving contains 500 mg of magnesium.

Nobi Nutrition Magnesium Complex Premium is available for purchase online.

Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium

This product contains magnesium glycinate.

The company recommend taking 2 tablets two times a day.

Each serving contains 100 mg of magnesium.

The ingredients are non-GMO, gluten and soy-free, and vegan friendly.

Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium is available for purchase online.

SlowMag Mg Muscle + Heart

This product contains slow-releasing magnesium chloride and calcium.

The company formulates this product with slow releasing magnesium chloride to help the body better absorb this mineral.

The company recommend taking 2 tablets once or twice a day. Each serving contains 238 mg of calcium, 143 mg of magnesium, and 416 mg of chloride.

SlowMag Mg Muscle + Heart is available for purchase online.

Foods high in magnesium

Some foods that are high in magnesium include:

  • green vegetables such as spinach
  • nuts, seeds, and unprocessed cereals
  • legumes
  • fruit
  • fish
  • meat products

Learn more about foods rich in magnesium here.

Potassium helps maintain normal cell function in the body, particularly in the nerves and muscles.

It is relatively common for people to have a potassium deficiency. However, if a person has a severe deficiency, they may experience symptoms such as leg cramps.

Supplements

Life Enhancement Potassium Basics

This product contains 240 potassium capsules. This product contains gelatin, making it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans or people following certain religious or cultural diets.

The company recommend that people take 2 capsules daily, always with food. Each serving contains 1,020 mg potassium as potassium bicarbonate.

Life Enhancement Potassium Basics is available for purchase online.

Nutricost Potassium Citrate

This product contains 500 capsules of potassium citrate.

The company makes this product in a GMP compliant, FDA registered facility.

This product contains gelatin and rice flour.

The company recommend taking 1 capsule per day. Each capsule contains 99mg of potassium.

Nutricost Potassium Citrate is available to buy online.

Nature Made Potassium Gluconate

This product contains 100 potassium gluconate tablets.

The company recommend that people take 1 tablet per day with a meal and some water. Each serving contains 90 mg of potassium gluconate.

The ingredients are gluten-, preservative-, artificial flavor-, and color-free.

Nature Made Potassium Gluconate is available to buy online.

Foods high in potassium

Some foods high in potassium include:

Learn more about foods high in potassium.

Vitamin supplements may help prevent deficiencies that cause muscle cramps. However, other treatments may be more effective or offer more immediate relief for leg cramps:

Home remedies

There are some home remedies that people can try to reduce muscle cramps. These include:

  • gently stretching the muscle that is cramping
  • deep tissue massage
  • warming up and cooling down before physical activity
  • making sure to drink enough water to remain hydrated

Medical treatment

There is little evidence that suggests medication for leg cramps is effective. However, doctors may prescribe the following medications:

Some people may have had quinine in the past. However, according to a 2015 article, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recommended that doctors avoid prescribing this medication for leg cramps.

Learn more treatments for leg cramps here.

People should see a doctor if they continuously experience leg cramps after exercise or the legs cramps are adversely impacting their ability to partake in daily activities.

There is some evidence that certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies may contribute towards people experiencing leg cramps.

Some supplements and foods may reduce vitamin or mineral deficiency, and people can use home remedies to reduce symptoms of leg cramps.