Restless Legs Syndrome 26 August 2009
Restless Legs Syndrome (RSL) is an unusual sensation in the legs with no obvious cause. The sensations usually occur at night and result in poor sleep. It appears to be associated in some people with iron deficiency, low magnesium levels or a relative folic acid deficiency. Investigations should include ferritin (iron stores) levels.
Management can involve:
- Improving general health e.g. stopping tobacco and alcohol, increasing exercise.
- Iron supplements if ferritin levels are low. Research has shown that iron supplementation in patients with RLS who have low levels of ferritin is a very effective treatment.
- Herbs to improve circulation including horsechestnut, butchers broom and Gingko biloba.
- Individuals with a family history of RSL often benefit from large doses (5-60mg) of folic acid. It is important to ensure you are taking 500-1000mcg vitamin B12 as well.
- Magnesium supplementation, especially if RLS is associated with muscle camps at night.
- Individuals over the age of 40, should consider using melatonin to assist with sleep.
- New research using RNA based therapies appears promising for resistant cases.