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Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is an urge to move legs due to uncomfortable sensations especially when relaxed or during sleep read our nutrition and lifestyle advice for restless legs, Therapy Approved by our Nutritional Therapists in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?

There are several naturopathic health strategies that may help alleviate symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS). It’s important to note that natural remedies should be used in conjunction with medical treatments for RLS.

Restless legs syndrome triggers uncomfortable sensations in the legs that result in a strong desire to move them, with the urge tending to be being more intense when relaxed or attempting to sleep.

(RLS) is a neurological disorder that is also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease (RLS/WED)[i]. The primary indication of RLS is an intense urge to move your legs, particularly when you are sitting or lying down[ii]. You may also experience peculiar sensations such as tingling, crawling, or pulling in the legs, which can be alleviated by movement.

The primary concern with RLS is that it disrupts sleep, leading to daytime drowsiness and exhaustion. If left untreated, RLS and lack of sleep can increase the risk of other health complications, including depression[iii].

Why Do We Get Restless Legs?

The causes of RLS are, as of yet, unclear, although a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers may be involved.

Over 40%, of people with RLS have a familial history of the disorder, and there are five gene variations linked to RLS[iv][v]. Typically, symptoms manifest before the age of 40 in familial cases[vi].

Risk Factors For Restless Leg Syndrome [vii]

There are certain things that may put you in a higher risk category for RLS. But it’s uncertain if any of these factors cause RLS. Some possible factors include:

Diet and Supplement Advice For Restless Leg Syndrome:

It is recommended to assess your diet to ensure that you're receiving adequate essential vitamins and nutrients. It's advisable to avoid high calorie processed foods with low or no nutritional value.

In some cases, those with RLS may have a deficiency in specific vitamins and minerals. Based on your test results, you may need to modify your diet or take dietary supplements.

If you have an iron deficiency, consider incorporating these iron-rich foods into your diet: dark green leafy vegetables, peas, dried fruit, beans, red meat and pork and poultry and seafood. Pairing iron-rich foods with vitamin C sources can help your body absorb iron. Consider incorporating these sources of vitamin C into your diet: citrus juices, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, strawberries, kiwi, melons, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and leafy greens[xv].

Including folate and magnesium in your diet can be helpful for RLS, since deficiencies in these nutrients can contribute to the condition. Folate and magnesium are important for proper muscle function and nerve signalling. By eating more foods that contain these nutrients, you may be able to alleviate your RLS symptoms. To boost your folate and magnesium intake, consider adding the following foods to your diet: liver, spinach and other dark leafy greens, black-eyed peas, lentils and beans, rice and quinoa, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and avocado[xvi].

What to avoid:

Consuming foods and beverages that contain caffeine may exacerbate RLS symptoms by overstimulating your nerves. These items may include coffee, tea and energy drinks. It is also advisable to reduce your intake of high calorie processed foods with little nutritional value, such as fizzy drinks, fried foods, and those with high sugar content.

Supplements For Restless Leg Syndrome:

Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for many bodily functions, including proper muscle and nerve function. It has been suggested that magnesium supplementation may be beneficial for individuals with RLS. Studies have shown that magnesium can improve sleep quality, reduce muscle cramping, and decrease RLS symptoms[xvii]. Try: Magnesium Bisglycinate

Vitamin C: also known as ascorbic acid, is a type of water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in the growth and repair of various body cells[xviii]. Try: PureGenomic Ultra Multivitamin (90 Capsules)

Vitamin D: Several studies have indicated that individuals with RLS tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. In addition, lower levels of vitamin D have been linked to more severe RLS symptoms, depression, and lower sleep quality in these individuals [xix]. Try: Liquid Vitamin D3 (1000IU per drop)

Vitamin E: Vitamin E helps with protecting and slowing cell damage and boosting the immune system [xx]. Try: Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols, 90 caps)

Functional Testing:

Functional testing options for restless legs syndrome may include blood tests to assess iron, magnesium, vitamin D, and folate levels. Read more here about NutrEval

Lifestyle factors[xxi]:

Lack of exercise, smoking, and alcohol use may increase the risk of RLS. It's important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will develop RLS, and some people with RLS have no known risk factors. If you are experiencing symptoms of RLS, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.