RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME (RLS)
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH
Restless leg syndrome causes a temporary tingling sensation that is accompanied by an overwhelming urge to move legs. This numbness is usually more intense in the evening and may cause the legs to twitch while you sleep.
The unpleasant sensation in legs can range from mild to unbearable and are usually worse in the evening and while trying to fall asleep.
Some people experience symptoms occasionally, while others have them every day.
Although the cause of this condition can be difficult to find yet the following factors are believed to have the potential to trigger RLS or contribute to it:
MOST FREQUENT CAUSE: deficiency of iron, vit. E, dopamine, and serotonin
– Researchers have discovered a link between RLS and low levels of dopamine in the brain (often caused by various addictions including sexual, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, etc.).
– Deficiency of serotonin caused by lack of exercise, insufficient exposures to sunlight, deficiency amino acid tryptophan (out of which serotonin is made), B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
– Too much of glutamate in the body.
– Numbness in one leg, or both, may result from inflammation, trauma, disease, or infection that lead to a compression of the blood flow to nerves and gradually damage them.
– About 50 % of people with RLS also experience episodes of lower back pain indicating in their case it is most probably caused by spine problems.
– Lack of physical activity (sedentary lifestyle).
– Dehydration (drinking insufficient amount of water) especially in warm weather.
– Poor blood circulation.
– Stress, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, low mood, depression.
– For some people with RLS, caffeine is a trigger.
– Studies show that RLS symptoms are more frequent and more severe in people with vitamin D deficiency.
– There are reasons to assume sometimes RLS could be a result of a neurological damage caused by chronic high blood sugar levels (peripheral neuropathy), use of statins and other medications, deficiency of vitamin B12, other B vitamins, alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, and zinc.
– Some experts maintain RLS could be caused by an autoimmune problem such as lupus. Lupus is one of many autoimmune diseases that can cause peripheral neuropathy. Often this results in numbness in the hands and feet, but it can also affect the legs. Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis can have the same effect.
– Iron deficiency can contribute to the problem.
– Kidney disease and other chronic conditions.
– Leg numbness is a common symptom among patients with fibromyalgia.
– Folate deficiency has been linked to RLS, which may explain why restless legs are so common in pregnant women (folate plays a key role in healthy foetal development).
– Poor vein function with valves that fail or leak blood backward into the legs, can trigger RLS symptoms.
– Certain medications (birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy) can also cause RLS.
– Most important aspect of the treatment is implementing principles included in the HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN >
Pramipexole and ropinirole (dopamine agonists used also for Parkinson’s disease) are usually prescribed for RLS in the UK. Unfortunately, like all drugs, they also cause side effects including nausea, daytime sleepiness, etc.
Levodopa has also been used successfully off-licence but over 80 % of patients develop the spread of the condition to the upper limbs or the reappearance of symptoms in the morning.
NUTRITIONAL AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
MOST IMPORTANT: Address deficiency of iron, vit. E, dopamine, and serotonin by taking supplemental iron and vitamin E and by boosting dopamine and serotonin (see below).
– One of the most important aspects of the treatment is to increase dopamine levels by implementing principles found here >
– Boost dopamine by avoiding addictions (including sexual, caffeine, chocolate, sugar, alcohol, smoking, etc.) and by taking L-tyrosine (the major building block of dopamine), all B vitamins, vitamin D3, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron.
– Boost brain serotonin levels by regular daily outdoor exercises, taking 5-HTP Tryptophan, and increasing consumption of foods high in tryptophan, especially organic non-GMO Tofu, which is by far the highest source of this amino acid. Make sure you have some complex carbohydrates every day in the form of fresh and dried fruits, bananas, etc. as they increase ability of tryptophan to pass blood/brain barrier to produce serotonin.
– Exercise every day for at least 60 minutes. RLS can often be relieved by moving (exercising) legs or rubbing them (especially with magnesium chloride oil).
– Treat spine problems such as lower back pain >
– Treat lupus >
– Treat peripheral neuropathy >
– Learn to control stress > as it is associated with RLS.
– Drink more water between meals as dehydration and dry skin is often the key cause of the problem (distilled water is the best option). Read more >
– Avoid caffeine > as for some people with RLS, caffeine is a trigger.
– Drink vegetable juices instead of fruit juices.
– Avoid or reduce sugar, white flour products, dairy, peanuts, wheat, gluten, spicy foods, alcohol, as they are linked to RLS.
– If RLS strikes when you’re falling sleep, take a brief walk. Sometimes, just getting out of bed quickly can make symptoms disappear.
– The following foods and herbs are known to help reduce leg numbness: Karela, Avocado, cooked soybeans and tofu (only organic and non-GMO), cayenne, ginger, garlic, turmeric.
– Go to sleep not later than 10pm and sleep at least 7 hours.
– Research shows that those who take care of their spiritual condition by reading right spiritual literature (such as the Gospel of John) and regular meditation such as daily prayers in the form of heart-felt conversations with God as well as people who managed to find a community of supportive, like-minded people find noticeable relief from stress and RLS. However, studies also clearly show that spirituality is effective only for those who believe in a loving, carrying and saving God. On the other hand, believing in a severe, expecting, and punitive God significantly reduces the ability to cope with stress and increases the risk of various mental health problems, depression or anxiety.
SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBAL REMEDIES
– Ginkgo biloba has been known to improve blood circulation in legs.
– Take 2000 mcg of active vitamin B12 supplement (in the form of sublingual methylcobalamin) a day only after breakfast. Methylcobalamin (especially when combined with alpha lipoic acid) will help regenerate nerves that cause RLS. Find out more fascinating facts about vitamin B12 >
– Consume foods high in omega 3 fatty acids: Ground flaxseed, flax oil, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes chia seeds to treat dry skin problem. In addition take 2000mg a day of good quality and free from heavy metals (molecularly distilled) omega 3 fish oil.
– Take 400 to 800mg of Magnesium citrate every day before bed as it supports muscle function, sleep, nervous system function and bone health. People with RLS often confirm the effectiveness of magnesium in reducing or even eliminating RLS. The following testimony is a good example: “I can’t speak for others, but I started taking magnesium and have been very faithfully for almost a year now. I haven’t seen it make a difference in my weight, though it has made other positive changes, like significantly reducing migraines and eliminating restless leg syndrome.”
– Take 5,000 – 20,000 IU of Vitamin D3 after breakfast. Studies show that RLS symptoms are more frequent and more severe in people with vitamin D deficiency. Remember that without enough magnesium in your body vitamin D is useless.
– Other beneficial supplements and remedies: All B vitamins, Calcium citrate, Zinc, Vitamin A, C, E, Biotin, Iron.
– Include good quality Probiotic formula to boost good bacteria in your colon.
– Everyday take organic Chlorella and other super foods such as Barley grass, Alfalfa, Wheat grass, etc.
– Folate deficiency has been linked to RLS, which may explain why restless legs are so common in pregnant women (folate plays a key role in healthy foetal development). Take folic acid with all B vitamins.
– Increase serotonin levels by taking 5HTP (most bioavailable form of tryptophan), vitamin B6, B1, B3 (Niacin), folic acid, magnesium, zinc as all of them are required to produce this precious happy hormone.
– Chamomile has been known for centuries as an excellent natural aid in calming the nervous system and easing stress and worry. Clinical and laboratory research has provided strong evidence that Chamomile is not only relaxing, but it can be effective in improving mood and psychological well-being. Scientific research also confirms that Chamomile’s relaxing effect increases when it is used regularly over a longer period of time. Chamomile has been widely used for a very long time as a folk remedy for its presumed sedative effects and sleep aid, which was repeatedly confirmed by modern research. For instance according to a 2016 study Chamomile may be safely used and recommended to postpartum women as a supplementary approach to alleviating sleep quality problems and low mood.
– Apart from chamomile the following herbal remedies and adaptogens are known for their relaxing and strengthening our nerves system properties: Rhodiola, Siberian and Korean Ginseng, Astragalus, Maca, Damiana, Gotu Kola, Ashwaganda, Tulsi (Holy basil), L-Theanine, Lemon balm, etc.
REMEDIES FOR EXTERNAL USE
– Alternative hot and very cold water applications such as showers are very effective in improving blood circulation and reducing RLS. Heat works much better when used alternatively with ice pack or a very cold application such as compress or a shower. Read more >
– Applying icy or very cold compress on the affected area for 5-10 minutes is often very effective in bringing relieve.
– Bathing in a magnesium chloride or magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution works very well for those with RLS.
– Spray legs with magnesium chloride oil before bed and massage the oil into both legs.
– 2-3 drops of peppermint oil mixed with a tablespoon of a base oil such as raw organic coconut oil used externally may help reduce numbness.
– Use only soaps, gels, shampoos, cosmetics, deodorant or detergents with only harmless natural ingredients.
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.
© 2016 Slawomir Gromadzki – All Rights Reserved