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10805050 tn?1420939120

Tonic Water for Night Leg Cramps?

With End Stage Liver Disease resulting from Alcoholic Cirrhosis, Alcoholic Hepatitis, H.E. TIPS placement and Chronic Anemia caused by several Massive Bleeds, I always  have a slue of resulting symptoms that just never seem to cut me a break.  Two that are not life threatening, but extremely uncomfortable. They are severe leg cramping when I get in bed, and when the cramps aren't killing me....AND the Night time itching starts...from head to toe, often scratching till I bleed (Which of course bleeds forever)  I drink a Vitamin C with electrolytes  fizzy packet drink, and started taking it at night in hopes the increased bed time electrolytes would help with cramping...no such luck.  Now I've heard about drinking Tonic Water before bed.  The nurse at my Liver Docs office mentioned it and then the next day I saw it in an unrelated post. Anyone have luck with Quinine Water?  Would love to hear from you.  I don't think there's anything I can do about the itching...Doc said its from not processing bile back into the liver from digestive track so it swims around in my blood and when it hits the surface it itches.  Tried 75 mg Benadryl, nothing...? any ideas or witches brews for the Itching? I'm open to any suggestions.  Thank you.... Andy
18 Responses
9683500 tn?1407867884

According to the above, quinine can cause blood platelets to decrease: mine have been in the low 60's for a long time so I decided not to drink quinine for my  cramps which started after treating with Sovaldi Olysio for 12 weeks. When I eat a banana every day for potassium, and drink lots of water (about 9 8 oz glasses per day) the cramps don't bother me.
Avatar universal
I, too, had success with tonic water before bed, or if I woke up at night and used it for a number of years.

Now that I am on treatment and drinking half my wight ib ounces of water everyday, I find that I have less leg cramps, unless I get over 150+ oz - then I sip about one to 2 oz of an electrolyte drink and that takes care of the problem.  I don't used the tonic water as it took 6 - 8 oz per day, every day to keep cramps under control.  enought water, as bassetgirl said, usually takes care of the problem now - and if not, 1 - 2 oz electrolytes does.

Someone on a thread I started about this same subject, months ago, said to try cocoanut water, that she got relief from that and that it is hydrating.  I recently got some at the grocery store but have not tried it yet.

Good luck.  Pat
Avatar universal
I did that very thing and the results were mixed.

When I got into a drug trial during the screening process it was found I had a form of heart arrhythmia, and I felt that I was able to conclude that the issue may have been the tonic water.

I stopped drinking it and the heart went back to normal patterns. One thing I found was ...possibly.... it's safe, but the older you are the less safe it may be. (I also infer, that health compromised may = older in increased risk of adverse side effects.)



Many people are currently unaware of such a connection, and I would float out the possibility that a one time TX is no big deal, but a little each day used prophylactically may end up adding up to a clinical dose.

10805050 tn?1420939120
Thank you so much for your post and links. I thought it would be no big deal. Was i wrong. Because of my massive bleeds this year, i suffer from chronic anemia as well as alcoholic thrombotypenia associated with alcoholic bone marrow suppression, hypokalenemia (chronically low potassium) hypomagnesia (chronically low magnesium) and chronic anemia from iron deficiency. My CBC blood tests are dismal. My low potassium can cause arithmetic problems, and the last thing I need is further suppression of my RBC and increased RBW. I would have never guessed that a virgin tonic on the rock could have such effect on my blood counts. Thank you so much for the head's up. That could have serious debilitated me and set me way back in my efforts to do better with all these problems. Thank you again, and I'll definitely discuss this with my doctors... Andy
10805050 tn?1420939120
Post Script: I do have prescriptions for potassium chloride and Iron 324gm x2 daily. I also take B12. I stopped calcium supplement as it greatly interferes with iron absorption. And in my condition the iron if far more important to me. And i take a fizzy drink with mega vitamin C and high dose electrolytes which includes the potassium, magnesium,calcium,phosphorus, chloride,sodium, and bicarbonate. And i now drink it before bedtime. But it just doesn't work for me, I have no idea why...Andy
Avatar universal
I've learned from a Dr. friend of mine, that if you swallow 1 TSP. of mustard, any kind of mustard, just the kind you would put on a hotdog, you will never have leg cramps again. I've done this everyday because I'm Diabetic, and when my blood sugar goes to high I used to get leg cramps all the time, since I started taking teaspoon of mustard I've had no more charliehorses
10805050 tn?1420939120
odd as it sounds, i'll try the mustard...thank god I like it.  i'll let you know.  I really will try just about anything because these cramps have gotten so bad, and with increased frequency. thank you...Andy
10805050 tn?1420939120
PS. I would imagine it's the vinegar in the mustard...who knows...Andy
Avatar universal
I'm glad you saw the post. Doctors do not always catch diet type stuff, and to be fair, we all respond differently to drugs, foods, etc.

I presume you have your B-vitamins checked? Sometimes if the gut flora is messed up it interferes with pick up of nutrients.

Often times other drugs that we take can also block absorption or create deficiencies.
Google side effects of any drugs you are currently on and consider running them by your pharmacist.

Also, IF you want to pick up more IRON (this is what I am reading in your post) try drinking OJ with your meals; drinking coffee and tea with meals will prevent iron from being picked up, OJ will increase iron pick up.

If you need more iron, and only if, you might also look up hemochromatosis. Many of the helpful tips that help these patients from prevent iron overload may be used to (IF you invert those tips. : )) may help you in your quest to increase iron stores.

As I take it that you are cirrhotic it is always a good idea to run changes in diet or drugs past your health car providers.
179856 tn?1333550962
I'm 7 years post treatment but still take my potassium/magnesium/cardizem for my heart.

Take a multi, iron,super B complex, extra b12, iron, and D.

It sounds like a lot but I found when I stop my potassium and magnesium bottom out along with my Bs.

It gets tiresome but it's better than being admitted. Make sure you know how to read your lab results. I get mine on line before I go for my appt, every two weeks. We are much more diligent than the doctor...it's our bodies and there is only one of you instead of several hundred patients.

Best of luck!
10805050 tn?1420939120
Funny you should mention that.  I thought I was the only one who broke my labs down over time per result and translate the to excel graphs and charts.  I like to know exactly what my professionals are talking about, I also compare them to weight, starting and stopping of meds, dietary intake, and how they ultimately transfer to my exercise routine and how they make me feel and affect my mood and energy.  Improving my condition as much as possible is my number one priority right now.  I'm glad to see others actively monitoring cause and affect given our conditions and prognosis.  Thanks for all the input.  I wish everyone the best... Andy  
4670047 tn?1375734001
I've just been taking a Potassium capsule every other night, or as needed.
Also liquid calcium/magnesium.
I tried the packets with potassium. Didn't work for me either. Don't understand why the capsules do work. But they do.

I have compensated cirrhosis. Attained SVR in Oct/2013 from hep c.

Itching has just started driving me nuts. No resolve. Yes the itching just laughs at Benadryl.  

Read you other post/response about your meld score. Fantastic Andy, good work on your end.

I need try harder with my diet. Not doing so well. Eating a lot of fat and sugar.

Avatar universal
I used to get bad cramps in my calves at night that would force me to jump out of bed from the pain but they would go away after walking around the house for 10 minutes or so. But then they got worse and were located in my inner thighs and the pain was so excruciating I couldn't really walk but it hurt too bad not to. My doctor suggested 400-600 mg of Magnesium and they went away and I haven't had one since. Not a one, and it's been about a year now. However, I was low in Mg.
If you do try Mg, the Mg Oxide gave me diarrhea so I started taking chelated Mg Glycinate and it works perfect.

Tonic water on a regular basis is probably not a good idea but I do keep a bottle stashed for just in case.
Avatar universal
I drink a little bit of Tonic Water mixed with a little bit of Powerade Zero (electrolyte drink) mixed with a little splash of cranberry juice.., every day.  The majority of the day, I'm drinking water, except I have coffee in the AM and decaf green tea in the afternoon.  I was getting leg cramps, too.  I added some zinc to my supplements and somebody told me about pickle juice.  I know it sounds nutty, but I bought some dill pickles (which I like anyway) and periodically would take a couple of teas of the juice out and drink it.  I has the chloride in it, which on some of my labs was low.  Most of my labs had a low sodium and have for years, so, hence the reason for my Powerade Zero.  Powerade is just like Gatorade, but I think that it has more of the electrolytes maybe and less of the sugar (at least the zero does).  I don't eat alot of bananas because of the deal with it being high in carbs and sugar.  I like that and I know that they have the good for potassium in them, I just can't eat alot of them.  
Avatar universal
Ever tried adding organic raw apple cider vinegar to your organic apple juice....helps me...do just a little research and see what you find
Avatar universal
...and drink plenty of plain water
10805050 tn?1420939120
I hear a lot of people talking about supplement with Magnesium. By Doctor runs a magnesium level when the do my blood work as part of an evaluation of malabsorption, and kidney function.  It also can determine it my potassium is in order.  But every time I check it, it's within normal range.  Everything is so interrelated and liver disease certainly puts many of those relationships of various minerals, vitamins and proper metabolism right in your face.  I don't like to mess around with anything I can manage to get and keep in proper range.  I'll talk to the doctor.  I thought calcium would help with my extremely low blood counts, only to find out it hinders the absorption or the Iron supplement I take.  What a maze.  Thank you everyone for your very helpful suggestions.  I have tried the vinegar and it does settle them down a little, but it seems to have a very short duration of relief.  Who Knows.  Thanks again.  I wish everyone the best... Andy
Avatar universal
Beetroot, celery, apple  & carrot juice.Drinking this liver tonic and detox juice a couple of days a week for a fortnight should have some noticeable effects on your mood and energy levels and start to improve the tone of your skin. You may end up liking it so much that you want to have it long-term and see just what it can do to improve your liver’s function and by association your appearance, general immunity and ultimately your overall health.
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