POSSIBLE CAUSES OF RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
After finding a number of patients from three states
unable to find a solution to their restless leg problem, I have done some basic
research to offer some options and causes that are often missed.
As you know, restless leg syndrome is not trivial, and the jerking of a patient’s
leg while sleeping can undermine their sleep, work, school, driving, hobbies,
sports and other activities.
Highlights of my research from academic sources:
- Magnesium — One of the constant medical findings of the last 15 years, which
is profoundly and seriously unappreciated, is the magnitude of this key mineral
in the brain, heart, and the entire body. It is unfortunate when smart
physicians or scientists mock magnesium as being some new fad or dangerous in
if one does not read the vast medical research on this mineral they should be
more timid with their mouth. I never realized how little I knew until I met an
Internist and Neurologist who sent me literally over 500 articles on essential
nutrients like magnesium from the leading journals in medicine. I had the
curious habit of skipping over them in my reading — I was trained to think
nutrition was trivial.
Blood tests and even more sensitive red blood cell
magnesium levels are not necessarily the best way to detect body tissue
levels. We test by body tissue intracellular levels. We scrap the cells
from under the tongue to test magnesium in the entire body, not just what is in
If the massive amounts of body magnesium are low,
you can have restless legs, cramps of the uterus and other muscles,
migraines, and other problems. It is an essential mineral critical in 300
enzyme reactions in the body.
Commonly, forms of magnesium offered are hard tablets of oxides,
which may cause diarrhea, because they are poorly absorbed. When magnesium is chelated or connected to
amino acids it costs more and is worth it. We have designed topical creams for application in children in which the
magnesium is absorbed through the skin-an option for children who dislike pills
or nutrient shakes. Liquid magnesium drops also exist as another option.
By the way, it is unfortunate that many companies and physicians
are on a pro-calcium fetish, and do not realize what happens when you give plenty
of calcium instead of a balance of both calcium and magnesium. According to a classic toxicology textbook
in conservative medicine, if you take a lot of calcium and only minimal
magnesium, the calcium kicks the magnesium out of your brain and muscle
- Zoloft (sertraline) the anti-depressant along with other serotonin
- Other psychiatric medications such as older tricyclic antidepressants
(Elavil and Imipramine), lithium, and all types of antipsychotics
- Stimulants like caffeine and cold medicine stimulants
- Extremes in blood sugar can probably worsen. Diabetics have increased
incidence. Low blood sugar may also worsen. Chromium helps control sugar extremes in the blood and is a poorly
absorbed essential nutrient. We have
found poor levels in 9/10 patients. Chrome Mate may be the best-absorbed form
- Iron deficiency or low amounts of the storage protein for iron, ferretin,
are clearly associated with the disorder. Iron helps make dopamine. Ferretin
should probably be at least 45 micrograms/L. Make sure you do not have a hemochromatosis in which excess iron is
stored in the liver and other critical organs. Iron studies should probably be done every 10-12 weeks. The doctor
should have an end point value in mind. Meaning, at some point you may be able
to reduce or stop the iron.
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Genetic causes which are being studied
- Severe kidney disease
- Stomach surgeries may cause it for unknown reasons.
- Dopamine inhibiting drugs such as Compazine and Reglan.
- Opiate or narcotic withdrawal might worsen or cause temporarily. An
example of an opiod is Darvon, Oxycontin, codeine or Percocet.
- Poor absorption or poor breakdown of protein in the gut might mean a
person gets low amounts of tyrosine from their diet. (Only my hypothesis based
on the fact that tyrosine is needed for dopamine creation). Tyrosine is an amino acid, which is one of
many building blocks for protein.
- Folate deficiency might play a small role
- Hormone changes might play a small role.
- Extremes of exercise — profound exhaustion or inactivity-may worsen for
- Benzodiazapine withdrawal-medications like Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax and
Valium are members of this class. If
someone is using them for panic attacks, social anxiety or general anxiety, and
tapers them one might find a restless leg disorder uncovered.
- Chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, leukemia, chronic lung
disease, ALS, and Fibromyalgia increase incidence. Perhaps the illness or the
medications used to treat it increase the incidence.
- Nerve damage may cause or worsen.
- Lyme Disease — if you have not been checked for this infectious illness by IgeneX labs with at least a Western Blot, using the Jones' Criteria on this web site, you have never been tested for Lyme. Routine labs are comical junk and have been a cause of many deaths.
- Babesia — the mild American form of this illness is often caught with Lyme illness. It must be tested by IgeneX and is associated with excess fatigue. I am not certain, but suspect it might be involved in restless leg.
Diplomate: American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology
Diplomate: Forensic Medicine & Forensic Examination