Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “I have restless legs syndrome (RLS) that keeps me up at night. Is there anything you can recommend that will help? Thanks.”— Tom A., San Rafael, CA
A. Dear Tom, Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition where people experience uncomfortable sensations in their legs (while not as common, these sensations can also occur in the arms). The unpleasant feelings are described as creeping, crawling, pulling, itching, tingling, burning, aching, or electric shocks. Individuals with RLS feel an irresistible urge to move their legs in an attempt to relieve the sensations. I feel strongly that making good decisions regarding exercise, food choices, and proven natural medicines can have a tremendous impact in reducing your symptoms.
First, I’d encourage you to include some moderate exercise in your daily regimen. One of the problems with RLS is that too little OR too much exercise tends to make symptoms worse, so try to find a comfortable middle ground where you take a few short walks throughout the day (but not close to bed time). Work on reducing the amount of stimulants such as caffeine in your diet. If you drink coffee or tea, try not to drink any past noon. You also have to be on the lookout for hidden stimulants. For example, some over-the-counter decongestants can contain ingredients (pseudoephedrine and synepherine) that act as stimulants that can aggravate RLS symptoms. Try taking a warm shower or bath in the evening, and if you don’t have dairy issues, drink some warm milk (I prefer goat’s milk) or eat a small piece of cheese. The protein will help keep your blood sugar levels stable as you sleep, and the calcium can help relax your muscles.
I recommend taking vitamin B6, blended with a highly absorbable magnesium, like magnesium glycinate chelate. In addition to optimizing vitamin B6 metabolism, the magnesium in the glycinate form is much less likely to cause loose stools, and delivers a good dose of magnesium to help with muscle relaxation and resistance to nerve excitability. Look for a formula that contains the active form of B6 – pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P). Many people (some estimate up to 30% 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. By using the form of vitamin B6 that is identical to the kind your body utilizes, you bypass this problem entirely. Take one or two capsules of this formula twice daily. While you may have results earlier, please give this protocol at least 30 days before you evaluate your progress. Good luck – let me know how it works.
Terry . . . Naturally