Treating Restless Legs Syndrome Naturally - RLS Treatment
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that affects a significant portion of the population, causing an uncontrollable urge to move the legs due to uncomfortable sensations. While the exact cause remains elusive, RLS can be a challenging condition for those who experience it. Let's delve into the demographics, statistics, symptoms, lifestyle factors, and potential solutions associated with this enigmatic syndrome.
Demographics and Statistics
Restless Legs Syndrome is a widespread phenomenon, affecting people of all ages, although it is more common in middle-aged and older individuals. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), approximately 7-10% of the U.S. population is affected by RLS. It most commonly occurs in kids that have attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pregnant women and middle aged/older people.
The hallmark symptom of RLS is an irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations such as tingling, crawling, or aching. These symptoms typically worsen during periods of rest or inactivity, making it challenging for individuals to relax, especially during the evening or nighttime.
RLS is characterized by four main symptoms:
1. An unbearable urge to move the legs
2. Worse during rest (sitting in a chair for long periods, or in bed)
3. It's relieved (briefly) by movement
4. Worse at night
Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are also commonly reported causes for worsening/aggravation of RLS.
Additionally, prescription drugs like antidepressants and antihistamines can worsen RLS symptoms.
Certain lifestyle issues can exacerbate RLS symptoms. Factors such as lack of exercise, excessive caffeine intake, and irregular sleep patterns may contribute to the discomfort. Stress and anxiety can also play a role in intensifying symptoms, creating a vicious cycle of restlessness.
Several lifestyle modifications can help alleviate RLS symptoms.
Regular exercise, particularly activities that promote flexibility and muscle strength, can be beneficial
Establishing a consistent sleep routine
Minimizing caffeine intake
Managing stress through relaxation techniques are also recommended
Nutrition and RSLS
Iron deficiency is closely linked to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), and addressing this deficiency can sometimes alleviate or improve RLS symptoms. The relationship between iron levels and RLS is complex, and researchers are still exploring the precise mechanisms involved. Here's an overview of the connection between iron deficiency and RLS:
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron, and low ferritin levels are often associated with iron deficiency. Research suggests that low ferritin levels in the brain may be linked to the development or worsening of RLS symptoms. Therefore, assessing ferritin levels, rather than just serum iron levels, is important when investigating the connection between iron and RLS.
In cases where RLS symptoms are related to iron deficiency, supplementation with iron may lead to symptom relief. However, it's crucial for individuals to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any iron supplementation. Excessive iron levels can be harmful, and supplementation is typically recommended only if there is evidence of iron deficiency.
Healthcare providers may conduct blood tests to assess iron levels, including ferritin, when evaluating individuals with RLS symptoms. Monitoring and addressing iron levels, if necessary, can be part of the overall management strategy for RLS.
While iron deficiency is a potential contributor to RLS, not all individuals with RLS have low iron levels. RLS is a complex condition with various contributing factors, including genetic and environmental influences. Therefore, addressing iron deficiency may not be a universal solution for all cases of RLS.
Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays a role in various physiological functions, including muscle and nerve function. In the context of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), magnesium has been explored as a potential factor in managing symptoms. Here's an overview of the role magnesium may play in RLS:
Magnesium is involved in the regulation of muscle contractions and the function of the nervous system. Adequate magnesium levels are necessary for normal muscle function, and a deficiency can lead to muscle cramps and spasms, symptoms that share similarities with RLS.
Some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that magnesium supplementation may help alleviate RLS symptoms, possibly by promoting muscle relaxation and reducing the overactivity of nerves. However, the evidence is not as robust as it is for other factors like iron deficiency in RLS.
Responses to magnesium supplementation can vary among people. While some people with RLS report improvement in symptoms with magnesium supplementation, others may not experience the same benefits. As with any supplement, individual factors, such as overall health, diet, and the presence of other medical conditions, can influence how the body responds.
So, how can you fix it?
There are 5 top nutritional medicines you can use:
1. Magnesium - acts as a muscle relaxer, sleep aid and does a great job of calming the nervous system.
2. Iron - Iron deficiency is very highly associated with RLS - be sure to get your iron levels checked if you have RLS!
3. Adrenal Energy contains the necessary B vitamins for RLS but also includes several adaptogenic herbs that can help balance out stress and support adrenal function.
5. Tyrosine is an amino acid that serves as a precursor to several important neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating mood, movement, and the sleep-wake cycle. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) has been associated with alterations in dopamine function, leading some researchers to explore the potential role of tyrosine in managing RLS symptoms.
It's important to make sure your diet is rich in the above nutrients - magnesium can be found in green leafies, nuts, seeds, avocados, bananas, legumes, seafood, chocolate and coffee.
Iron and tyrosine rich foods include chicken, turkey, fish, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy products, lima beans, avocados, bananas and eggs. Tyrosine is also found in collagen supplements.
Folate + Vitamin B rich foods include meats, beans, lentils, peas, soy, spinach, beets, brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Additionally, keeping the legs moving frequently with exercise like walking and running spread throughout the day, stretching and acupuncture can lessen symptoms.
There are several possible causes for RSLS; due to the disruptive nature of this condition we recommend exploring a combination of lifestyle adjustments and targeted supplements to manage and improve this condition.
We'll cover the several nutrient deficiencies and lifestyle factors that can drastically worsen this condition in this video: