Although tight muscles may have various causes — from the flu to overexertion the day before — diet plays a major role in muscle function. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals may play out in muscle performance, giving you cramps or muscle tightness. If you’re concerned about a serious vitamin deficiency, discuss your diet with your doctor. Adding a few vitamins to your daily regimen may help loosen up those tight muscles.
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While trace amounts of vitamin D are found in food sources, and some food products are fortified with additional amounts of the vitamin, the overwhelming majority of the vitamin D most people receive comes from exposure to sunlight. Some doctors recommend a specific type of vitamin D supplement, D3 (cholecalciferol), as treatment for tight muscles, particularly when patients are also taking a type of medication known as statins.
If you suffer from diarrhea, take diuretics or work out strenuously enough to sweat on a regular basis, you may suffer from a potassium deficiency. Your body uses potassium to convert carbohydrates into energy and to help proteins form amino acids to repair damaged tissue. When your body doesn’t get enough potassium, it has trouble regulating the acid-base balance in your muscles, making it more difficult for your body to deal with the lactic acids produced by muscles in exertion. Although the U.S. National Institute of Health hasn’t found a direct link between muscular function and potassium, it also hasn’t ruled it out as an effective treatment. The National Institute of Health recommends adults consume 4.7 grams of potassium each day, but don’t overdo it: Too much potassium in the body causes hyperkalemia, which can lead to kidney damage.
Magnesium is a mineral that’s essential for muscles for many reasons. It helps in the synthesis of protein, and it helps aid in the proper contraction and relaxation of muscles. Deficiencies in magnesium are directly linked to muscle cramps and tightness, and increasing your intake of the mineral may help stave off stiffness. Most of the magnesium you naturally get comes from leafy vegetables and fruits, though supplements are also available. The National Institute of Health recommends adult men consume 400 to 420 milligrams and adult women consume 310 to 320 milligrams of magnesium each day.
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