Which vitamins help with restless legs syndrome? triggers and treatments
We all know the fear of having to get up early in the morning but going to bed the night before and not falling asleep. For some, this can be compounded by an odd urge to move their legs. If you’ve ever had uncomfortable sensations in your legs in the evening or when lying down, you may have something called Restless Legs Syndrome, or RLS.
RLS can be difficult to describe — but most people say they experience things like an odd feeling when resting, a feeling of relief with exercise, and a worsening of symptoms at night.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that between 7% and 10% of the US population may have RLS.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
RLS can be viewed as either a neurological disorder or a sleep disorder. There have been a few genes that have been linked to the disorder, but in general the cause is unknown. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are a few conditions associated or associated with RLS:
- Sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
- Pregnancy or hormonal changes, especially in the last trimester.
- Consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine
- End-stage renal disease and hemodialysis
- neuropathy (nerve damage)
Can Vitamins Help Treat Restless Legs Syndrome?
Sometimes RLS can be treated by correcting the underlying vitamin deficiency — for example, severe iron deficiency can cause RLS. Elise Heeney, clinical nutritionist at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, says, “Iron deficiency can cause or worsen restless legs syndrome. If you suspect a deficiency is causing or contributing to RLS symptoms, talk to your doctor about checking for iron deficiency. If you are iron deficient, your doctor can help you decide if iron supplementation may be helpful to improve or relieve symptoms.”
According to Heeney, there’s also some research from a 2018 study linking vitamin D deficiency to RLS. “Treating vitamin D deficiency may improve RLS symptoms, but more research is needed,” she said.
It’s important to note that some medications can make symptoms of RLS worse. These include:
- anti-nausea medication
- antipsychotic drugs
- Antidepressants that increase serotonin
- Cold and allergy medicines that contain older antihistamines
What Are Other Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome?
dr Pedro R. Rodriguez Guggiari, board-certified internal medicine physician and chief of staff at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City West, Arizona, says, “Once supplementation (for vitamin deficiencies) has been corrected, it may still warrant pharmacological intervention for better outcomes , including medication for movement disorders.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, these drugs include:
- Drugs that increase dopamine in the brain. Rotigotine (Neupro) and pramipexole (Mirapex) are FDA-approved for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.
- Drugs that affect calcium channels. Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise), gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant), and pregabalin (Lyrica) may work for some people with RLS.
- muscle relaxants and sleeping pills. These drugs help you sleep better at night, but they don’t eliminate the sensations in your legs and can make you drowsy. These drugs are generally only used when no other treatment is providing relief.
- opioids. Narcotics are used for severe symptoms but can be addictive. Examples are tramadol (Ultram, ConZip), codeine, oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone, others), and hydrocodone (Hysingla ER).
Read more about vitamins, sleep health here:
What is vitamin K?Here’s how to benefit from it and how to know if you’ve had enough.
More:What is vitamin B12 good for and how often should you take it?
Magnesium is more popular than ever.But can it help you sleep better at night?
Are you getting enough REM sleep?The answer might lie in your dreams.