I'm 47 years old and play basketball. My calves seem to cramp almost every time I play. I stretch them for about 20 minutes beforehand, but it doesn't help. Could this be due to a lack of calcium or potassium?
Muscle cramps can be caused by all sorts of things, including a lack of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. In such cases, replenishing the minerals may prevent the cramps.
Please pass this on to the woman who cannot stay awake while driving. I have always had the same problem, but a friend gave me the solution about nine years ago — sunflower seeds! There is something about having to concentrate on cracking them open with your teeth that keeps the brain alert.
We received many messages from readers who were concerned about the woman who could not stay awake while driving. Most feared that she was being poisoned by carbon monoxide and pleaded that she have her car checked.
Other suggestions included keeping a squirt bottle of water in the cup holder for an occasional refreshing spritz. One reader realized that the doughnut and coffee she had at the beginning of her drive were making her blood sugar drop later. She switched to nuts or cheese sticks as a snack, avoiding cookies, candy, crackers or sugary sodas, and had no further problems with drowsiness while driving.
Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition, can be reached at http://www.peoplespharmacy.com or care of this newspaper.