Without delving into a huge amount of detail, the occurrence of muscle cramps during exercise is often associated with poor hydration or electrolyte imbalance. I remember back in the day when the red packet of Walkers Ready Salted crisps approach was used as treatment…because, salts. lol.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as this, purely because the exact aetiology of cramps is not fully understood.
It’s now thought that exercise induced cramps are neural in nature and initiated from fatigue. Although dehydration doesn’t directly cause cramps, it can speed up fatigue which brings the onset of cramps quicker.
I.e. Neither hydration nor electrolyte balance varies between crampers and non-crampers during endurance events…plus stretching alleviates cramping, but does hydration and electrolyte balance change during a static stretch? Nope.
So, here’s where things become tricky…and excuse me for getting really fucking ‘sciency’ here.
Exercised induced muscle cramps are potentially caused through the hyperexcitability or neurons; therefore the aim is to depress neural output and decrease said hyperexcitability to reduce the likeliness of cramping.
Now, activating Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels have been shown to reduce neuron hyperexcitability, and therefore cramping from exercise.
Still with me? Good…
So, the aim is to activate TRP channels via supplementation – Craighead et al (2017) demonstrated that supplementation of TRP activators (agonists) 15 minutes before ‘cramping induced exercises’ in the calf was shown to:
1) Increase the time taken to cramp.
2) Increase the force/fatigue needed to cramp.
3) Decrease initial post cramp soreness.
The question is, what WTF is a TRP agonist supplements?
Well, it’s a concoction of;
– Capsicum (up to 38 mg).
– Cinnamon (up to 500 mg).
– Ginger (up to 750 mg).
This was dissolved in 50mL of cordial to mask the pure putrid taste (imo). As TRP channels are activated through temperature and certain chemicals, these ingredients can initiate via the latter route and apparently work pretty effectively.
So, who wants to give this a go? 🧐
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