As many as 12 million Americans are plagued by as Restless leg syndrome (RLS)--an uncontrollable urge to move their legs while trying to rest or sleep.
RLS can also occur during prolonged periods of sitting, such as on a long plane ride.
Sufferers report feelings of tingling, aching, itching or slight burning deep in their lower legs, and moving the legs usually provides relief. Sometimes sensations are also felt in the thighs, feet, hands or arms.
Because it typically strikes at night, people who have it are often sleep-deprived and have to deal with the ramifications of that as well—including brain fog and difficulty concentrating.
Let’s take a closer look at this disturbing condition and see how you can safely and naturally get relief!
RLS is an inflammatory condition similar to autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses (such as heart disease and arthritis), and heaven knows we Americans are an inflamed society.
Nutrients play a big role too—especially magnesium. Magnesium is your body’s natural relaxant, so it’s no coincidence that the classic symptoms of low magnesium (tremors, muscle contractions, twitches, involuntary jerks and tetanic cramps) are all similar to RLS.
In addition, deficiencies of folate and iron have also been seen with RLS.
Also, medications can exacerbate symptoms, especially anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants (SSRIs) and some antihistamines.
Safe, natural ways to ease RLS
The standard treatment of RLS is medication to combat the symptoms (dopamine drugs, benzodiazepines, opioids and anticonvulsants), but the potential side effects of these drugs can arguably be as bad or worse than RLS itself and include addiction, depression, compulsive behaviors, memory loss, sleep disturbances, dyskinesia (uncontrolled movements) blurred vision and even hallucinations!
Luckily there are some safe, natural and very effective ways you can help to ease RLS—without running the risk of dangerous medication side effects.
Here are some measures you can try:
Ease inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water.
And most importantly, take advantage of Nature’s potent anti-inflammatory—Omega-3 essential fatty acids!
Many Americans are dangerously low in these inflammation-fighting powerhouses due to our typical refined food diets and heavy reliance on grain-fed animals—which are high in inflammatory Omega-6 EFAs, while lacking Omega-3 EFAs—and we have the inflammation to prove it!
But a top-quality fish oil formula like VitalMega-3 can help make sure your Omega-3 EFA supply is where it should be to effectively combat inflammation.
Get enough magnesium
Food sources of magnesium including dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, milk, meats, avocados, yogurt, bananas and dried fruit.
If you want to consider supplementation, the recommended dose is 500 mg a day in the form of magnesium carbonate or magnesium oxide, as those forms have the greatest potency.
Get sources of folate and iron too
Sources of folate include Includes beef, liver, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli and whole wheat. Recommended doses for supplements are 400 mcg per day.
Iron-rich foods include beef, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, leafy greens, potatoes, lentils, beans and milk. Supplement doses are typically 15-25 mg/day for men and 18-30 mg/day for women.
Other forms of relief
Some additional ways to help relieve RLS that many sufferers have benefitted from include leg massages, hot baths, and heating pads or cool packs applied to the legs before bedtime. Acupuncture, exercise and yoga have also been used with success.
A Relaxis™ pad, which can be placed at the site of discomfort when in bed and provides 30 minutes of vibrations (counter-stimulation) that taper off after 30 minutes, has also been recommended for individuals with RLS.
Also, vein problems have been associated with RLS. If you are prone to varicose veins or other vein problems, consider consulting with a venous specialist to see if it is an underlying cause of RLS for you.
Last but not least, although this may sound like an old wives’ tale, many people swear that putting a bar of soap under their bottom sheet prevents restless leg syndrome and nighttime leg cramps. I personally know at least two people who have had success with this. Although it can’t scientifically be explained, it’s worth a shot!
To your health,