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cheebdragon's avatar

Do you ever get leg/foot cramps after eating a banana?

Asked by cheebdragon (18931points) July 12th, 2015 from iPhone

I’ve noticed that on days when I eat a banana, I always end up getting cramps in my legs &/or feet later that evening. It almost always happens when I’m asleep and sometimes they come on so sudden and painful, that I have to literally jump out of bed and step on my own foot, I have no idea why this works but the weight/pressure seems to stop the cramp immediately.
Have you ever had or heard of this reaction to bananas?

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20 Answers

cazzie's avatar

Are you on calcium blockers? The thing I know about bananas is that they have lots of potassium. It us usually good for cramps unless you have some sort of imbalance and can’t motabolise it.

JLeslie's avatar

No, I get them when I am low in vitamin D.

I agree with @cazzie about the potassium in bananas, have you ever had your blood potassium come back high? Do you take blood pressure medication?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Are you well hydrated? . Drink some water with the banana.

bossob's avatar

@cheebdragon I get and deal with foot/leg cramps the same way you do. Mine are brought on by physical activity way in excess of what I’m used to on a daily basis.

When I have leg cramps, my wife hands me a banana, and I’ve always wondered why so many people think the same way. According to the Mayo Clinic potatoes, raisins, yogurt, and 10 other fruits and vegetables have more potassium per serving than bananas.

Was there an old advertising campaign by Dole or Chiquita that touted the potassium content of bananas? Or is it simply that they come in a convenient disposable package?

Silence04's avatar

Craps usually occur due to dehydration. Maybe drink more water.

Pandora's avatar

@bossob, probably because bananas are most commonly known to have potassium and as a fruit, it is more common in homes because kids love it in cereals or with icecream or alone.

@cheebdragon Apparently, too much potassium can lead to leg cramps because your electrolytes need to be balanced. So you may want to get your blood checked and find out what may be the problem. Here’s a link by living strong on potassium and leg cramps.

cheebdragon's avatar

I will make a note to ask my new doctor about it, I know I asked my last doctor once and she said it was probably just “one of those things” and that “some people have different reactions to food”...she was one of the worst doctors I’ve ever had, she tried to give me a nearly lethal dose of antibiotics for a nail infection. She also tried to convince my mom that she should wait 6 months to check again for any changes on a recently found brain mass. She would have listened to her if my grandma and I hadn’t demanded she get a second opinion from someone else.

Pandora's avatar

Well just ask her for a blood draw to determine if your potassium is in normal range. If it is than it may be no big deal. If it is high then watch what you eat. Lot’s of fruits are actually high in potassium. Go on a low potassium diet and see if that helps. If your potassium is low and you are eating enough potassium than the cause may be something else.

Overdoing supplements can act like a diuretic or maybe taking diet pills which mostly are diuretics or having the runs can all cause your problems with your electrolytes because you may be losing more bodily fluids than you take in. The secret is to keep your electrolytes balanced. But if your potassium still can’t be kept in balance through diet, and none of the things I mentioned are the problem, then I would follow it up with a different doctor especially since it may indicate possible kidney problems. But I wouldn’t jump there if you are otherwise healthy. Just best to rule it out. Especially since I am not a doctor. LOL

When it comes to doctors I look at it this way. They all like to point out that they graduated with a medical diploma and should know more than you do about your body, but I always believed there is a big difference between one that graduated with D’s and one that graduated with A’s, and one that cares and one that just wants to pad his or her wallet or does it for the prestige.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of quacks. Makes me cringe to go see any of them. But unfortunately the are the only ones able to prescribe medication when needed.

kritiper's avatar

No, only during sex. What an eye-opener!

ibstubro's avatar

Eating a banana during sex gave you leg/foot cramps, @kritiper?

Next time try a Gogurt.

I don’t know that drinking more water will cure the craps, @Silence04, but I’ve been mistaken before.

cheebdragon's avatar

Tried drinking more water, I think it actually made them worse.

cazzie's avatar

Do you have a autoimmune problem? Like lymphodema? Are your ankles swollen?

cheebdragon's avatar

No problem with swollen ankles and as far as I know I don’t have any autoimmune problems. I think I was around 16 when I figured out the banana/cramp connection, I would think an autoimmune deficiency would have caused other symptoms by now (I’m 27), right?

jca's avatar

I have this problem too, about once a week, only at night and only when I’m laying down. Never when I’m out, driving, sitting, shopping, etc. I googled it recently and I believe I found it’s due to low magnesium levels. Of course, the last time I went to the doctor, I forgot to ask. I do have low Vitamin D levels, though, so there may be a link.

JLeslie's avatar

I really really doubt your potassium is high. Have you had blood tests recently? That’s a pretty common test to run, so you can just look back at recent tests.

@jca mentioned magnesium, which also is good in combo with vitamin D for muscles. You can buy magnesium spray also and it is absorbed fairly well through the skin, if you have a particular area that is cramping or sore. Just be careful not to spray too much because of how well it is absorbed. Magnesium, like potassium, affects heart rhythm.

If you get foot and leg cramps remember to flex your foot as soon as it’s happening to stop it. You can train yourself to do this in the middle of the night. Make sure your sheets are loose enough that you can freely move your feet.

Let us know if you go to get some blood tests. Bring a banana and eat it 30 minutes before (or whatever time it usually starts happening) the blood draw so you can see what happens.

You want at minimum:

It’s very possible your doctor regularly tests you for most of those already.

If you have any thyroid indications that would also be adding TSH, T4free and total T3. Those include dry skin, dry hair, excessive loss of hair, sleep changes both can’t sleep and needing too much sleep. You didn’t mention any of that, I only mention it because muscle problems are seen in thyroid patients, but I personally believe vitamin D is more often the most common culprit.

I’m not a doctor.

kritiper's avatar

@ibstubro No, I got a foot cramp during sex only. No problems while eating bananas. Separate instances.

cazzie's avatar

Have you tried a bath or foot soak in good old Epsom salts?

JLeslie's avatar

Epson salt is a good idea, that also causes absorption of magnesium if I remember correctly, and the warm water would be soothing.

The magnesium spray is inexpensive, by the way, if you want to just try that. I think it costs me $10 a bottle and lasts me a long time.

cazzie's avatar

It sounds like an electrolyte imbalance, especially if drinking more water is making them worse. You’d be surprised how autoimmune issues can present themselves. Before I was diagnosed and had full-flown Graves disease, I developed an allergy to shell fish (which are very high in iodine and it may have been related to the initial dysfunction of my thyroid.) I’m not saying you have an autoimmune system waiting to burst out or anything, just sharing my own story.

You’ve had this since you were 16, so I’m going to stick with my imbalance of electrolytes theory. The trouble is going to be figuring out why it is occurring. Have you been on some vegetarian diet since you were 16? Some veggos and vegans don’t get enough certain vit Bs. Have you tried cooking with any of those fancy salts on the market these days? Sometimes they contain good trace minerals that help.

And humour me one more time by answering another dumb question: Do you drink coffee? Did you start drinking coffee at 16?

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Your story about the shellfish is very interesting. I have a girlfriend who suddenly is allergic to shellfish.

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