Q. Dear Terry, “I started having restless leg symptoms about three years ago. I’m not sure what caused it, but it’s really starting to disrupt my sleep and overall comfort. How can I get rid of restless legs?” – Andi P., Louisville, KY
A. Dear Andi, Restless leg syndrome affects about 10 percent of the population. Because there can be many causes or contributing factors to restless leg syndrome, I encourage you to discuss further with your healthcare practitioner. With that being said, I think there are some natural options that can help.
First, I recommend adding some moderate exercise to your daily regimen, if you are not doing so already. One of the issues with restless leg syndrome is that too little or too much exercise can make the symptoms worse, so do your best to find a comfortable middle ground. Also, you could try and reduce the amount of stimulants (such as caffeine) in your diet. You may also want to try taking a warm shower or bath in the evening. If you don’t have dairy issues, you can drink some warm milk (I prefer goat’s milk) or eat a small piece of cheese before bed. The protein will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable as you sleep, and the calcium will help to relax the muscles.
In addition to diet and lifestyle choices, there are natural ingredients that I think could be very beneficial: vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc. I strongly recommend vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) in combination with magnesium glycinate and zinc glycinate. P-5-P is the biologically active form of vitamin B6. Many people (some estimate up to 50% of the population) cannot fully utilize B-vitamins from food and supplements, because these forms of B-vitamins must be converted into the active form before they will function. Magnesium, in the glycinate form, delivers a good dose of magnesium to help with muscle relaxation and resistance to nerve excitability. Zinc also works synergistically with magnesium and vitamin B6.
I would take 10 mg of vitamin B6 (as P-5-P), 100 mg of magnesium (as magnesium bisglycinate chelate), and 5 mg of zinc (as zinc bisglycinate chelate) twice per day.
Low iron levels can also contribute to restless leg syndrome. To replenish low iron levels, I recommend heme iron that comes from beef liver concentrate. This specific form of iron is attached to hemoglobin – the protein that transports energizing oxygen to muscle cells. Up to 33 percent of the quantity of heme iron ingested can be absorbed, compared to as little as two percent absorption of iron salts. This means your body is better able to use the iron, without causing constipation. The best liver extract comes from beef cattle raised on the grassy plains of Argentina without any chemical sprays, pesticides, or antibiotics. Look for a “predigested” form of liver extract, meaning it has been broken down to be more readily absorbed by the body.
To aid in the absorption of iron, I think folate and vitamin B12 can be very useful. I would take 5 mg of iron (as iron bisglycinate chelate) with 1,300 mg of liver fractions, plus 340 mcg of folate (from methyltetrahydrofolic acid) and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin) twice daily.
Terry . . . Naturally