Battling restless leg syndrome

This Week In The HSI Healthier Talk Community

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) may sound like a fairly benign health problem, but for those who experience the uncontrollable jumps and jerks that can interrupt normal sleep patterns for years on end, RLS is a source of major exasperation. The good news: This condition can be addressed without drugs.

In a thread titled “Restless Legs” on the General Health Topics forum in the Healthier Talk community one member tells of a friend who “gets really powerful leg jerks as soon as she settles down to sleep,” while a member named Dlynn says that her nighttime leg jolts were so powerful “I could have kicked my husband right out of bed.”

Dlynn adds: “I was prescribed clonazapam which is in the valium family. I take 1mg before bedtime, and no longer have this problem. But if anyone does know of a natural remedy, I would love to learn about it.”

The most common response to Dlynn’s plea: try calcium and magnesium. Here’s a member named JonB: “Calcium, magnesium, potassium helps to cure restless legs, however I have found even better with a full dose of colloidal minerals, as it is highly absorbable. The calcium is the key but getting it absorbed is the hardest thing.”

A member named Gal.Sal, who has also used calcium/magnesium to relieve restless legs, adds some vitamin D to the mix, which may also help with the calcium absorbency issue. She says: “It works like a charm.”

When a member notes that the “old” HSI Forum had lots of information about RLS, a member named Jerry supplies the Forum link: http://www.agora-inc.com/forums/Main.cfm?CFApp=16

Here are just a few of the RLS comments from the old Forum:

Omie: “Occasionally I have restless legs, and to alleviate the spasms a glass of diet tonic water does the trick for me. The quinine in the tonic water is I believe the ‘magic’ ingredient.”

Carol: “I used to have this a lot and it was even effecting my arms after I went to bed. I started the Atkins Diet, which meant leaving carbs off my diet. The RLS went away. When I lapsed on the diet and ate carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes) RLS returned. Back to no carbs and it went away. By now this is a no-brainer and others have found this also to be true for them.”

And Millie agrees: “If I eat any sugar or carbs late in the day, it becomes unbearable.”

Gl “I also have found that some gentle leg exercises before bed (not to raise heart beat, but to stretch) helps. Sometimes during the night I will do them as well if I start having a problem.”

Lisa: ” I take a calcium/magnesium supplement, folic acid, vitamin E, and occasionally an iron tablet. In the mornings, I take a multi-vitamin and fish oils (for omega fatty acids). Certain ingredients in the fish oils, are in clinical studies for treatment of Huntington’s Disease, which is an involuntary movement disorder. I’m a PhD level scientist, so I usually scoff at so-called homeopathic remedies, but I swear I noticed immediate effects. By the second night my legs were no longer jumping. It was amazing.”

Kim: “Whenever I consume any caffeine (even early in the day), I notice at night that my legs have a twitching sensation so severe that it interferes with my sleep. Then just yesterday I read an article by (HSI Panelist) Ann Louise Gittleman stating that one of the effects of caffeine is restless legs.”

Kim adds that researchers at Duke University Medical Center have shown that caffeine taken in the morning may produce subtle effects that persist until bedtime.

Other topics being discussed this week in the Healthier Talk community forums include:

  • General Health Topics: Antioxidants
  • Memory: Alzheimer’s and coumadin
  • Vitamin Questions: B-12 cream for eczema
  • Cancer: PSA levels
  • Fibromyalgia: Connection between soy/fibro?
  • Auto-Immune Diseases: Safety of glucosamine sulfate