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Ask the Wellness Educator

WRESTLING WITH RESTLESS LEGS
Dear Dr. Jen,
I have suffered for years with Restless Legs Syndrome and am in desperate need of help. I am wondering if you have any nutritional supplement recommendations for this condition. I currently take between 600-700 mg of magnesium glycinate, your B-Healthy Vitamin B Complex daily, with an herbal relaxing formula at night, as well as follow a clean, anti-inflammatory diet. I am wondering if you have any other suggestions for me.
Thank you so much!


Sincerely,
Louise



DR.JEN'S ANSWER:

Dear Louise;

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) can be frustrating disorder because of the continual unpleasant sensations in the legs when you are trying to sleep. Many people with this condition have the urge to move their legs to lessen the irritations, at the cost of significant sleep disruption. RLS can be a secondary symptom from other serious conditions, such as diabetes, or deep vein thrombosis. First and foremost, be sure to ask your doctor to rule out such conditions. If RLS is secondary to another disease, you will have to treat that in order to find relief. RLS can also occur unrelated to other health problems, and in this case, about half of the patients have a family history of the condition.

Because of the variety of possible causes, it can be difficult to determine what supplements might be helpful. What you are currently taking should help symptoms. Hopefully, the herbal formula you are taking contains valerian, which has been shown in one study to help relieve RLS symptoms and improve sleep quality. One suggestion I would make is to consider switching the magnesium glycinate for magnesium threonate. Both forms of magnesium have excellent absorption rates, but the threonate form is particularly well absorbed by the Central Nervous System, so in theory may be more effective. Iron may be helpful if lab tests show that you are deficient. I recommend iron bisglycinate; it absorbs well and does not have a constipating effect like other forms. Depending on the cause of RLS, folate, D-ribose, and vitamin C and Vitamin E can be beneficial. Unfortunately, there isn't one magic bullet for this condition, so keep experimenting to see what helps you.

Beyond supplements, exercise is important. Physical activity improves circulation and sleep, and when combined with stretching, can help relax muscles. Massage, acupuncture, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release help enhance the positive effects of exercise. It is also recommended to avoid caffeine and nicotine.

In Health,
Dr. Jen


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