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RLS, Diet, and Finding Information

Last updated: August 2022

I recently read an article about whether diet could treat or manage restless legs syndrome (RLS).

It caught my eye and I thought I might see what it had to say, if anything, that I didn’t already know. The article is very generic; I imagine it could be on 1,000 different neurology sites — as in, déjà vu, I think I have seen this before.

Getting vitamins from food vs. taking supplements

It wasn’t so much that the article astounded me with its profound insights. It reminded me I don’t actually have to buy vitamins and supplements. I can eat them, too, in that food stuff. The vitamins are actually stored inside the food stuff I eat. So weird.

The ones it mentioned, though, are all ones I was already aware of: iron, folate, magnesium. But if diet alone worked, I would be fine, because iron wouldn’t be an issue with my current dietary habits. And many people wouldn’t be low on magnesium.

Magnesium happens to be one of the supplements I do take, mostly because it is recommended in such high amounts for fibromyalgia and migraine disease (along with vitamin D and calcium). I think with these particular ones, diet goes a long way, but sometimes diet isn’t enough, either. Sometimes supplements help, on the recommendation of a doctor.

Dietary do-nots for RLS: sugar and caffeine

The things that tick off RLS are more important for me right now than the things that help, mostly because the things that aggravate RLS are causing me problems and the things that help are just not cutting it.

The article mentions the basics — limiting sugar and caffeine, basically. Sugar is one I notice for sure when I have a lot of it. It can spike the intensity of my RLS and make the onset earlier in the day.

Things like caffeine can be an agitator for me, but only when I consume more than I would normally — and normal for me is quite a lot. Caffeine is one of those things that really affects everyone differently, and I don’t seem to get much "va-voom" from it myself, but if I have more than my usual it has caused problems with my RLS. I've only noticed this because I have increased my caffeine intake in an effort to keep my brain awake during the day; I am aware it isn’t the best solution.

Diet is definitely something I have to remind myself about, mostly on the trigger side of the equation. I have noticed maintaining that aspect of things can prevent the more erratic and intense sensations. Those weird abrupt symptom pattern changes I can have are often the result of diet changes. Like, oops, I had 2 large pieces of cake in the evening... and I immediately regretted that.

What I don't like about the article I found

The click-bait title irks me, for one: "Can Restless Leg Syndrome Be Cured with the Proper Diet?" CURED. The author doesn’t claim that this is a fact, thankfully, but he uses the "cure" word to get people to click on the article. And the article isn’t even mind-blowing. Nothing in it is like, "Wow, I have never read this before."

All I am saying is that if you write an article using the word "cure," I expect a cure, man. Like, "Research says potato chips cure RLS... who knew?" Something like that.

I hate it when I want information and all I get is a) magnesium, b) iron, and c) generic diet information ("manage your weight," etc.), which is why I am thankful for the resource that RestlessLegsSyndrome.Sleep-Disorders.net is on a topic that is frequently ignored or minimized.

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