Should You Drink Tonic Water For Leg Cramps?

If you suffer from leg cramps, you know what excruciating pain feels like. But should you drink tonic water for leg cramps?

Some cramps can get so bad that they’re debilitating. These “put-you-on-the-floor” leg cramps can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.

While some people find relief in leg cramp medicine, others do not. That’s because the FDA took something called “Quinine” out of it.

Quinine is a compound that can alleviate leg cramp severity and frequency. Unfortunately, it’s also been known to cause severe adverse reactions.

For susceptible people, just a small dose of leg cramp medicine can be enough to kill.

Warning: This article is for informational purposes only. Quinine, the compound in tonic water and other leg cramp medicines, has been shown to have adverse side effects in some people. For this reason, always consult your doctor before drinking high doses of tonic water to treat your cramps.

How Much Quinine is in Tonic Water?

Most people don’t know that tonic water contains quinine (yes, the same compound found in leg cramp medicine).

So in theory, drinking tonic water for leg cramps can be a good idea. The trick is to drink enough so that you get the pharmacological dose of quinine that you need.

Below, we’ll crunch the numbers and attempt to give you an accurate answer.

Bottom Line: Tonic water contains quinine, which is the same compound found in medicines for leg cramps.

How Much Tonic Water Do You Need?

The average cramp medicine dose contains approximately 200-300 milligrams of quinine. Exactly one liter of tonic water contains about 83 milligrams of quinine.

Since an eight-ounce glass is about 20 milligrams in volume, you’d need to drink about 10 glasses of tonic water to get the same dose doctors prescribe to patients experiencing leg cramps.

As you can imagine, this isn’t very practical. While drinking tonic water for leg cramps is possible in theory, it’s hard to force down 10 glasses of it each day. There has to be a better solution.

Bottom Line: Drinking 10 glasses of tonic water per day would be required to limit leg cramps, which simply isn’t practical.

Home Remedies

The good news is that there are other solutions you can try. Muscle cramps are caused by fatigue, stress, and most commonly, dehydration.

If you’re calves are cramping up while you’re trying to sleep, it can hinder your quality of life. Here are some home remedies you can try:

  • Electric Heating Pad: Put it on the muscle that’s cramping to increase blood flow to it. Let the heating pad sit for about 20 minutes, then remove it for 20 minutes before reapplying.
  • Epsom Salt Bath: One thing you can try is taking a warm bath in Epsom salt. The magnesium in the Epsom salt can help induce muscle relaxation, hopefully stopping a cramp from happening.
  • Drink Gatorade: Instead of drinking tonic water for leg cramps, drink more Gatorade. It contains electrolytes that your muscles need to stay healthy. PowerAde is also a good option.
  • Drink More Water: If you’re not drinking 8 glasses of water daily, then you’re probably not getting enough. You need much more than this if you exercise a lot.

The final tip we can give is to not sleep with your toes pointed. Believe it or not, this position can actually induce leg cramps.

By staying hydrated throughout the day, this should reduce the severity and frequency of your leg cramps. If nothing is working, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Bottom Line: Drinking more Gatorade and water, as well as taking Epsom salt baths, can help reduce cramp frequency and severity.

The People’s Pharmacy: Quick and Handy Home Remedies


If you’re not keen on drinking tonic water for leg cramps, then check out The People’s Pharmacy: Quick and Handy Home Remedies.

It contains tons of great ways to prevent leg cramps (as well as many other ailments).

This book is a must-have for anyone’s home. It already has 150 positive reviews on Amazon and growing.

Drinking Tonic Water For Leg Cramps – Bottom Line

To summarize, quinine is the active ingredient in cramp medicine that can also be found in tonic water.

The bad news is that you have to drink a lot (about 10 glasses) of it to get an equivalent dosage.

For this reason, it’s probably better to try the remedies listed above. We understand what it’s like to deal with the excruciating pain associated with leg cramps.

At least now you know that you don’t need to rely solely on drinking water for leg cramps- you also have other options.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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