Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is generally treated with prescription medication, but vitamins for restless legs may have some beneficial effects. RLS is a movement disorder characterized by an uncontrollable desire to move the legs due to odd sensations in them, and this desire and the accompanying sensations become worse when the person is at rest or sleeping. RLS makes it very difficult for sufferers of the disorder to fall or stay asleep.
Vitamins for Restless Legs
Vitamin E for Restless Leg Syndrome
One study on the effects of Vitamin E on nocturnal leg cramps showed a small correlation between the use of vitamin E and RLS symptom relief. The study subjects took 100 IU three times daily during the study, which is quite a bit above the recommended daily allowance of 22.4 IU. It's wise to discuss any supplementation with the doctor who is treating you for the condition, and to find out if there are any side effects or problems to watch out for. It also helps to ask about possible interactions with medications you are already taking, and to discontinue use of vitamin E if any new symptoms or problems arise.
Folate and folic acid are the natural and synthetic forms of a water-soluble B vitamin, and is one of the most helpful vitamins for restless legs. Low folate levels during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, but may also contribute to the development of restless leg syndrome.A doctor can check folate levels in the body with a simple blood test, and can then recommend a safe amount for a pregnant woman to take. Folate is found naturally in foods like spinach, broccoli, and avocado, but folic acid supplements are inexpensive and readily available at drug stores.
Iron for Restless Leg Syndrome
Iron is technically a mineral and not a vitamin, but it is an extremely important nutrient in the body. Low iron levels may provoke or exacerbate RLS symptoms, especially during pregnancy. Studies have shown RLS to be linked to poor iron uptake in certain brain cells, caused by low levels of iron transport proteins. This is a delivery and use problem within the brain, rather than a simple supply issue, so RLS sufferers should consult with their doctor to find out if iron supplementation is appropriate for them.RLS studies that have studied iron as a treatment have administered very large doses of iron intravenously, which can only be done under a doctor's care. Excessively high levels of iron can be very dangerous, causing low blood pressure, dizziness, headaches, or coma. It is very important to be supervised by a doctor when on iron therapy for RLS, or any condition.
Magnesium for RLS
A recent study of the effectiveness of magnesium as a treatment for restless leg syndrome revealed that the mineral does show some promise in treating mild to moderate RLS.Magnesium is found in its naturally occurring form in foods such as fish, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 320 milligrams for adults over 31. Again, anyone who is using or wants to use nutritional supplements should contact a doctor first, and nutritional supplements need to be included whenever any physician asks about current medications.
Nutritional Supplements for RLS
For people who can't tolerate the conventional pharmaceutical treatments for RLS or are concerned about the side effects of medication, vitamins and minerals can be a great alternative treatment for RLS. However, taking too much or the wrong type of any supplement can have serious effects on health, and RLS sufferers should discuss the risks and benefits of any supplement with their doctor.