Recently, there has been a growing interest in using natural supplements for restless leg syndrome. In addition, some believe supplements can provide a safe and effective alternative to traditional medications.
In this article, we will explore this disorder, some of the most popular supplements for restless leg syndrome, that may help this condition, and other possible treatments for it.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move one’s legs. A tingling or aching sensation in the legs usually accompanies the urge. Symptoms typically worsen during periods of inactivity and are temporarily relieved by movement.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), 7% to 10% of the U.S. population may have RLS.
Furthermore, NIH also says 1 in 5 pregnant people can have RLS during their last trimester. The exact cause for this is still unknown.
Often the sensation of RLS worsens during the night-time while you are sleeping.
RLS can also have an effect on the arms, the trunk, and the face.
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome
The leading cause of RLS is unknown, but it can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, and physical therapy.
Although it can also be due to family, this type of RLS is called idiopathic or primary RLS. The secondary type of RLS is due to other underlying health conditions, such as iron deficiency, end-stage renal disease, pregnancy, and neuropathy.
There is also a link between restless leg syndrome and high dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the brain’s reward and pleasure. It is also involved in regulating movement and mood.
Is restless legs a vitamin deficiency?
Low levels of Iron, Magnesium, B6, Vitamin D, and other vitamins are studied to be connected to RLS.
A study suggests that vitamin D can improve symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Other research indicated that magnesium and vitamin B6 administered for two months could lessen RLS and Willis-Ekbom Disease symptoms and enhance sleep quality in people with this condition. A study also found a possible association between vitamin B12 deficiency and RLS.
A study also found that a combination of Vitamins C and E, as well as individual supplementation of each vitamin, is a viable and safe treatment option for reducing the severity of RLS in hemodialysis patients over the short-term.
According to the NIH, low iron levels in the brain are likely linked to RLS. The institution also explains that RLS can be connected to a dysfunction in a part of your brain that controls movement. Besides that, other possible causes for RLS can be accompanied to:
- Use of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- End-stage renal disease and hemodialysis
- Sleep deprivation and other sleep conditions
- Pregnancy or hormonal changes.
Again, according to the NIH, medications may aggravate RLS symptoms. For example, anti-nausea drugs, antidepressants, and cold and allergy medications that contain older antihistamines.
As we can see, it is hard to determine the exact cause of RLS, as it can be due to one or more other health factors.
Supplements for Restless Leg Syndrome and Treatments
Iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, B12, D, C, E, and other supplements for restless leg syndrome can significantly help treat this condition if you have a deficiency in any of those. Besides that, medications such as benzodiazepines, dopaminergic agents, anti-seizure drugs – the first-line prescription – and opioids are also used to treat RLS.
Let’s learn more about each supplement:
- Magnesium: a mineral that is essential for many bodily functions. It helps regulate muscle and nerve function, supports a healthy immune system, and is involved in the production of energy. Magnesium can be found in many foods, including dark leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin essential for the proper functioning of many bodily processes. It metabolizes amino acids and synthesizes neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in immune function and the regulation of hormones.
- Vitamin D: is a vitamin that helps the body maintain healthy bones. It is also involved in regulating the immune system and neuromuscular function. Vitamin D can be absorbed from sun exposure and in dietary sources such as fatty fish and fortified foods, and supplements.
- Iron: a mineral that is essential for the production of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron also involves many other bodily functions, including energy production and immune function. Iron can be found in animal products such as meat and poultry and in plant sources such as beans and fortified cereals.
Moreover, lifestyle changes can significantly help improve RLS, such as decreasing or avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine consumption, improving your daily sleep, often exercising, and eating healthy foods.
You can apply heating or iced packs to your legs, take a warm bath before sleep, and stretch and massage your legs.
Always consult your doctor before treating any disorder or health issue. Certain medications and supplements can have side effects and may not be the best option for you, for they can interact with other drugs or have adverse outcomes.
Everyone is different, and seeing a professional about any problem and correctly diagnosing if you have RLS is crucial. The doctor will be able to investigate the root cause better than you.
Overall, while there are many treatment options for RLS, finding the right one can be a process of trial and error. It is essential to work with the best course of treatment for each individual. It is also important to note that supplements and medications should not be used without consulting a healthcare professional.
In conclusion, Restless Leg Syndrome can be a distressing condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
However, with the right treatment plan, many people can effectively manage their symptoms and improve their sleep and overall well-being. Whether using lifestyle changes, medications, or natural supplements, finding the right treatment plan requires patience, persistence, and the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.