Editor’s Note: Please understand that although I publish any hopeful information I can when it comes to natural remedies for RLS, I still stand firm in the belief that INFLAMMATION is the cause of RLS. So, a Vitamin D deficiency may be the cause (or may contribute) for some people, while others it may be a Vitamin B12 deficiency, for other an Iron deficiency, for others a Magnesium deficiency … and in most cases, just bad eating habits and stress.
They have yet to identify inflammation as being the real problem, and the ways that the inflammation is created, as being secondary. I don’t mean secondary as being ” less important,” what I mean is that you first have to identify the problem, admit that it exists, before the REAL healing can start. Once you have identified the problem, that your RLS is a symptom of the chronic inflammation in your body, then you can try and figure out how it got there, and how you can get rid of it.
As the saying goes “identifying the problem is HALF of the solution.”
However, instead of articles and studies that identify the real problem, what continually appears in the press are articles like the one below that attempts to identify the “ONE THING” that will set your legs free. They look for something we can BLAME it all on.
I totally agree with what Dr. Sircus stated in my previous post “no single medicine or nutritional agent has the power to both treat and prevent chronic inflammatory conditions.”
In other words, yes, a Vitamin D deficiency is inflammatory, and should be avoided at all costs. However, taking Vitamin D is not going to “cure” you if you are still leading an inflammatory lifestyle (including stress) or are consuming inflammatory foods.
“Within the past few years there have been several studies linking vitamin D to various sleep disorders. This connection is not surprising since vitamin D is involved in the regulation of calcium, phosphorous, and bone growth, as well as muscle function, immune regulation, and brain function.
There have also been studies linking vitamin D deficiency to sleepiness and enlarged tonsils in children, resulting in pediatric sleep apnea. Among the newer studies released, one of the most interesting studies is a new study, published August 2014 in the journal Sleep Breath titled The Effect of Vitamin D Supplements on the Severity of Restless Legs Syndrome, which links vitamin D deficiency to restless legs syndrome (RLS).
The study followed 12 subjects, all of whom were diagnosed with both primary RLS (meaning there was no other obvious cause) and vitamin D deficiency. All 12 patients were treated with vitamin D. After their levels returned to normal, they were reassessed. The severity of their RLS also significantly improved after treatment, causing the study authors to conclude that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with RLS.
This news comes on the heels of several other studies that have shown low levels of vitamin D in people with RLS.
Oily fish (salmon, cod, and mackerel)
Low levels of vitamin D can be caused by dark skin pigmentation, limited sunlight exposure, pregnancy, abnormal intestinal absorption, and some medications.
As a result of these studies — and several other studies correlating vitamin D to restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, excessive sleepiness, and nighttime muscle cramps – I intend to start checking my patient’s vitamin D levels more often. I am only sorry that I was not aware of this relationship before. Just a decade ago, most of us in sleep medicine would never have imagined that the same vitamin deficiency that can cause rickets and osteoporosis could be
involved in sleep disorders. Modern medicine never fails to amaze or humble me.”
Dr. Robert Rosenberg first started practicing medicine in Chicago as an associate professor at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine where he taught students, interns, and residents and attended to patients. In 1982, he moved to Arizona and opened a private practice focusing on internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine. He continued to teach in Arizona and California. In recent years, he’s limited his practice to sleep medicine, and he’s also started writing, blogging, and lecturing on sleep. His expertise as a sleep physician has been featured in various publications, including Newsweek and Oprah Magazine, and he also serves as a forensic sleep medical consultant for legal cases. Dr. Rosenberg sees patients at his private practices, the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, both in northern Arizona. His first book is titled “Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day,”