Posts Tagged nutrution

Participants sought for restless legs study

Individuals with restless or unpleasant feelings in their legs at night or at rest, that are relieved by movement are needed. We are studying the possible benefits of yoga versus an educational film program for reducing symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Participants will attend up to two classes per week in Morgantown for 12 weeks. The study also involves two visits to WVU to complete questionnaires. Compensation is $150 upon completion of this research study. IRB approval on file (1505699758)

For additional information, contact:

  • WVU School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Caitlin Montgomery, MPH
  • 304.293.2082, cmontgo2@mix.wvu.edu

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“The Common Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome” by Dr. Aaron Ernst

AskDrErnstRestless legs syndrome is a seemingly unique condition and the cause is often difficult to pinpoint.

Few things are more frustrating than lying in bed at night, exhausted, but not being able to fall asleep because of an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. It seems so strange, doesn’t it? This phenomenon, known as restless legs syndrome (RLS), affects between 4% and 29% of adults in Western populations, and is a major contributor to sleep loss.

Pinpointing the cause of RLS has been an active research topic for years, but the condition is still not fully understood. The symptoms have been convincingly linked to impaired dopamine function in the brain, but the cause of this dysfunction is still being explored. Here are my top causes:

1. Systemic Inflammation & Immune Dysregulation (Subluxation)

One review paper published in 2012 investigated health conditions that were reported to Acute pain in a woman hand. Isolation on a white backgroundcause or exacerbate RLS symptoms, and found that 95% of the health conditions that are associated with RLS have an inflammation or immune component. As further evidence, an elevated blood level of C-reactive protein (a marker of systemic inflammation) has been associated with increased RLS severity.

Researchers have proposed three potential mechanisms to explain the association between RLS and inflammatory or autoimmune states: direct autoimmune attack on the nervous system; genetic factors that could predispose an individual to RLS and be triggered by inflammation or autoimmunity; and vitamin D deficiency caused by inflammation, which I’ll talk more about below.

What to do: If your RLS is a symptom of underlying systemic inflammation or immune dysregulation, the goal should be to find and treat the root cause & reduce the stressors to the central nerve system and spine. Often we see the issue target to L5/S1 regions.

2. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and IBS

A recent study found that 69% of RLS patients also had SIBO, compared with only 28% of control subjects. They also found that 28% of RLS patients had IBS, compared to only 4% of controls. And according to the 2012 review I mentioned above 32% of the health conditions associated with RLS are also associated with SIBO. As I’ve mentioned many times in the past neurological interference & gut infections are often the culprit—even if you don’t have noticeable symptoms—its worth getting your gut tested.

What to do: If you have RLS and suspect you may have SIBO or a gut issue its best to get tested to find our what is going on in there. Generally speaking, the intestines need to be flushed or cleansed then re-inoculated with healthy living strains of bacteria. Your typical probiotic won’t be able to do that. Overall the best approach is to follow a ketosis diet with bone broth until symptoms subside (and your SIBO tests are normal), and then gradually re-introduce fermented foods and probiotics.

3. Vitamin D Deficiency

One of the most-researched theories about the cause of restless legs syndrome is impaired dopamine signaling, which has led to the conventional treatment of RLS by dopamine agonists (i.e. chemicals that can bind to and activate dopamine receptors). Unfortunately, these treatments can become less effective over time, and can even result in a worsening of symptoms.

vitaminThis is where vitamin D comes into play. The role of vitamin D in dopamine signaling is only beginning to be investigated, but some evidence indicates that vitamin D could play an important role by increasing levels of dopamine and its metabolites in the brain, as well as protecting dopamine-associated neurons from toxins.

RLS has been associated with vitamin D deficiency in several studies, and disease severity has been inversely correlated with vitamin D levels. One study has also found that vitamin D supplementation improved the severity of RLS symptoms.

What to do: If you have RLS, one of the easiest first steps you can take is to get your vitamin D levels tested. A good range to shoot for is typically between 40-60 ng/mL. If you have an autoimmune disease or another chronic health condition, optimal levels are between 60-80 ng/mL. One way to supplement vitamin D is through taking it directly. And of course, you should get regular sun exposure.

We’re still learning more and more about this syndrome, and hopefully we’ll come to some truly concrete answers soon enough. But as is so often the case, watching your nutrition and lifestyle goes a really long way in taking care of these sorts of issues.

This information originally appeared on the “Ask Dr. Ernst” website.
https://askdrernst.com/common-causes-restless-leg-syndrome

Dr. Aaron Ernst completed his undergraduate education in pre-medicine/biology at Messiah University in Grantham, PA. As a first generation holistic practitioner, he began his career with a Doctorate in Chiropractic from Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, MO.  While in Missouri, Dr. Aaron began helping patients rebuild their health in a Maximized Living Health center, which was the largest wellness clinic in Missouri. His experience has led him to spend countless hours studying and researching to create procedures and protocols to rebuild health naturally. Dr. Aaron has traveled all over North America, Europe and Africa teaching the principles of Maximized Living and educating all generations on gaining victory over disease naturally.

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Restless Legs and Food Intolerance

foodintolerances

Detecting any food intolerance you may have is CRUCIAL for a healthy recovery from RLS.

A food intolerance will continue the lineage of inflammation in your body (including the inflammation that is causing your restless legs), even if you are taking supplements and avoiding obvious triggers.

I’m going to write an article on this in the near future based on my own experience, but for now, I present to you this overview on what a food intolerance is and how it can affect you.

FOODS THAT CAUSE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION

Chronic inflammation lies at the root of a host of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, heart disease (as measured by C-reactive protein), asthma, and many others. Food can be a major cause of chronic inflammation, however, symptoms differ from one person to another. If the inflammatory symptoms are suggestive of food allergy, then a food allergy blood test may pinpoint the causes.

Causes of inflammation

Acute inflammation is the first response to infection and manifests with symptoms of inflammation such as redness, swelling, pain, heat, and loss of function. Chronic inflammation is more subtle and involves a different mechanism than acute inflammation. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-6, TNF-α and others can cause chronic symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, irritable bowel, asthma, etc., and cause tissue damage.

Foods that Cause Chronic Inflammation

The Western diet is a major culprit in chronic inflammation because it contains a high proportion of inflammatory foods, such as processed food, sugar, and trans fats. Most people don’t get enough healthy foods in their diet, such as fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, which are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds. Many of us also get too much fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates in our diet, all of which promote chronic inflammation. The fats we do eat are too often derived from processed seed oils (safflower, sunflower, soy) which are high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3. This high omega-6/omega-3 ratio is a key cause of chronic inflammation. Fats that are highly processed or heated contain a high proportion of trans fatty acids, one of the most inflammatory compounds known and which can hardly be called a “food.” These days, many physicians and nutritionists recommend an anti-inflammation diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.

Food Sensitivity – An Often Overlooked Cause of Chronic Inflammation

The symptoms of food hypersensitivity are driven by chronic inflammation. Gut inflammation can cause digestive problems and cause symptoms such as bloating, leaky gut syndrome, indigestion, and gas, food hypersensitivity can cause inflammation-related symptoms such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, eczema, asthma, rhinitis, and even depression, hyperactivity, and migraine. Classic food allergies mediated by IgE antibodies are often the source of the problem, but many healthcare providers believe that delayed food hypersensitivity, also called Type III food allergy, can cause chronic inflammation and may play an important role in diseases such as inflammatory bowel syndrome, which includes Crohn’s disease. In this type of food allergy, circulating immune complexes made up of food molecules and IgG antibodies travel through the bloodstream and enter tissues where they cause chronic inflammation. Delayed hypersensitivity often goes unnoticed because symptoms arise hours or days after ingesting the offending foods. The list of foods that can cause food hypersensitivity is long, but the major offenders include dairy products, wheat and glutenous grains, yeast, eggs, food additives, and more. Sympoms of food intolerance are non-immune mediated and are usually due to toxic or metabolic reactions to food.

Elimination Diets are the Gold Standard of Diagnosis

Until recently, food allergy and intolerance was diagnosed with an elimination diet, a lengthy, unpleasant process of removing foods, waiting awhile, and replacing them back into the diet to observe symptom patterns. Elimination diets are a hit-and-miss affair because symptoms to some foods may persist while you have eliminated other foods. In the most extreme version of the elimination diet, the patient is put on a simple diet of foods with low allergenic potential, such as lamb, rice, and cooked vegetables. Then foods are added one by one while observing symptoms. It is common for such diets to go on for months when food sensitivities are many. But despite the effort required, elimination and rechallenge is still considered the gold standard for diagnosis of food allergy and intolerance.

Food Allergy Tests may Help Improve Chronic Inflammation Caused by Foods

The IgG food allergy blood test detects an individual’s IgG antibody response to various foods by combining their serum with food extracts distributed in an array of tiny wells. Through a process known as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a chemical signal is generated when IgG antibodies in the person’s serum reacts with the food extract in the well. The IgG food allergy blood test can be valuable adjunct to food elimination and rechallenge. Once the problematic foods are identified, they can be excluded from the diet. The IgG food allergy test is not useful for diagnosing non-immune mediated food intolerance; this can only be done through food elimination and rechallenge.

 

This article is from the LSIA Labratory website. You can read the full article here:

http://en.food-intolerance.ca/24/foods-that-cause-chronic-inflammation/

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Restless Legs, Inflammation and Food Intolerance

Mark-Hyman_2This post features an excellent article by Dr. Mark Hyman on how food intolerance lead to inflammation, which in turn leads to a laundry list of “possible” medical conditions. This list includes Restless Legs Syndrome.

I say “possible” because in the world of inflammation, you never know exactly how it is going to manifest on the surface. For some it may be cancer, for others obesity, for many others depression.

There’s probably not a medical condition that you can name that hasn’t scientifically been proven to be a result of inflammation.

However, as I’ve stated many times before, because you suffer from RLS, you’re kind of fortunate.

Just for a moment, if you can suspend the physical, mental and emotional torture of RLS, try to look at your restless legs as a friendly flare that your body is firing into the night sky, warning you about inevitable dangers that are forming inside your body.

Your restless twitchy legs are giving you a chance to take ACTION before a more life-threatening condition takes hold.

By trying to snuff out this flare with medication, instead of extinguishing it with a proper diet, you are in fact making a decision to NOT listen to your body.

prevention-smoke-alarmsTo better illustrate the decision you’re making, imagine that you’re lying in bed and the smoke alarm goes off.

When the alarm goes off, you probably don’t lie there and grumble about losing valuable sleep nor do you reach down and pull the sheets over your head in order to muffle out the sound.

You INSTINCTIVELY jump out of bed to find out what’s going on.

If it turns out that there is a fire, you gather your family and run out of the house to safety.

If it was just your child making a late night snack, and it was burnt toast that set off the alarm, you can open a window and safely go back to bed.

But when that alarm first went off, all that you knew was that there was a potential life-threatening situation that needed IMMEDIATE action. There was no delay. You got out of bed and investigated RIGHT AWAY to see what had to be done.

Why then, when your body’s smoke alarm goes off, do you ignore it?

I hope that Dr. Hyman’s article will inspire you to take the steps required to start putting out the smouldering fire that has set off your smoke alarm.

fireINFLAMMATION: HOW TO COOL THE FIRE INSIDE YOU by Mark Hyman, MD

HOW CAN YOU, IN a week or less, get dramatic relief from all the symptoms you thought you had to live with the rest of your life?

I’ll get to that in just a minute…

First I’m going to tell you about a hidden culprit that’s linked to everything from obesity to all the chronic diseases of aging. And I’ll give you the key to solving this problem — and unlocking good health.

Over the years, I’ve helped patient after patient achieve good health. But what I’ve asked patients to do is so simple that anyone can do it — and get the same great results.

I’m going to tell you about something I’ve talked about before, but it’s so important that I want to emphasize it again and show you how it’s a hidden cause of poor health.

I’m talking about inflammation.

You’re probably familiar with the pain, swelling, redness, and heat that classically signify inflammation. It’s something just about every one out there has experienced.

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense system.

When your body senses foreign invaders, a specific cascade of events is set off in which your white blood cells and some special chemicals called cytokines mobilize to protect you.

This normal type of inflammation is a good thing. It helps your body protect and heal itself. However, when your immune system shifts out of balance, inflammation can run rampant — causing a chronic, smoldering fire inside your body that contributes to disease.

The causes of this type of inflammation are all around you. The sugar you eat, high doses of the wrong oils and fats in your diet, hidden food allergens, lack of exercise, chronic stress, and hidden infections all trigger a raging, unseen inflammation deep in your cells and tissues.

And this inflammation leads to every one of the major chronic diseases of aging — heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and more.

It’s simple.

foodintolwuyngjt7mzmrjmliwIf you don’t address inflammation by eliminating hidden food allergens or sensitivities and by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, you will never succeed at effective and permanent health. Hidden sensitivities and allergies to food you eat every day are making you sick and are causing your legs to be inflamed.

When most people think of food allergies, they usually imagine someone eating a peanut and ending up in the emergency room with a swollen tongue, hives, and not being able to breathe. That’s what is called an immediate allergy (also known as an IgE hypersensitivity reaction). This is very serious but not common.

But there is a different type of reaction to foods that is much less dramatic and deadly — but still very troublesome. It is called a delayed allergy (or IgG delayed hypersensitivity reaction). This reaction is much more common and creates a lot of suffering for millions of people. It’s mostly ignored by conventional medicine, yet it plays a HUGE role in many chronic illnesses.

This type of delayed allergic reaction can cause symptoms anywhere from a few hours to a few days after ingestion. It also causes a wide range of problems like weight gain, fluid retention, fatigue, brain fog, irritable bowel syndrome, mood problems, headaches, sinus and nasal congestion, joint pains, acne, eczema, and more.

foodintolerancesIf you hear someone say dismissively, “Oh, you just lost water weight,” they’re right (at first), because eating foods you are allergic to causes inflammation, which leads to swelling and fluid retention.

Getting rid of this fluid by reducing inflammation is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing.  It is what will allow your body to start the healing process so you can achieve permanent weight loss and optimal health.

Consuming a low-allergy diet for just 1 week will help you eliminate the excess swelling and fluid that accumulates in your tissues from food-induced chronic inflammation. Despite criticisms you may have heard about losing ONLY water weight, this is essential for you body to begin to heal and detoxify.

Let me explain a little more.

In my practice, treating food allergies and improving nutrition in general is the single most powerful tool I have to treat, reverse, and even cure hundreds of diseases that conventional medicine fails at miserably.

These include allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, fatigue, sinus problems, hormonal disorders, obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, digestive diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, and colitis, and even mood disorders like depression and anxiety — just to name a few.

You see, we are seeing an epidemic of inflammatory diseases. In fact nearly every modern disease — everything from autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and cancer to obesity, diabetes, and dementia — is caused by inflammation!

These chronic diseases affect 125 million Americans. That means in the average family of three, at least one person has a chronic disease caused by inflammation. In my practice, helping people treat food allergies and food sensitivities is one of the most helpful things I do.

So what have I found after years of testing people for IgG allergies and teaching them how to use elimination diets to help recover from their chronic symptoms and illnesses?

inflammatoryfoodsWhile everyone is different, there are some foods that irritate the immune system more than others.  They are gluten (wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut), dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt), corn, eggs, soy, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers1, potatoes, eggplant), citrus, and yeast (baker’s yeast, brewer’s yeast, and fermented products).

These foods can also cause acute allergic reactions. But those are rare, generally affecting less than 1 percent of the population. When they occur they are serious, permanent, and need to be treated seriously.

But for more than 50 percent of us, there are some foods that just don’t agree with us and prevent vibrant, good health.

How Do You Know If You Are Allergic or Sensitive to Foods?

There are two ways to find out if you are reacting to foods.

One is a blood test for IgG antibodies to foods. This is useful and can pinpoint trouble areas, but it is not 100 percent accurate.

The second is a simple and well-accepted treatment called elimination/ provocation.

This means you get rid of the top trouble foods for 1 to 4 weeks, then reintroduce them one at a time and see what happens. Eliminating foods that cause allergic reactions or sensitivities is the basis for the remarkable results people have — like losing weight, feeling better, and getting rid of chronic symptoms — when they follow the detox phase of UltraMetabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss.

This program is based on a simple elimination diet: getting rid of gluten, dairy, eggs, and yeast products.

What happens?

Very quickly — in a week or less — people notice dramatic relief from all the symptoms they thought they had to live with the rest of their lives!

foodintolmaxresdefaultWHY DO YOU BECOME SENSITIVE OR ALLERGIC TO FOODS?

Simply put, your diet, the way you live, and the medications you take are to blame.

These things injure your gut.

They change the bacteria and damage the gut’s lining, which is the critical barrier that keeps your immune system from having to deal with all the garbage, toxins, and allergens inside your intestinal tract. This damage is called a leaky gut.

And so the food particles “leak” across the damaged barrier and your immune system (60 percent of which is right under that lining) starts to attack these partially digested food particles. That’s when you develop IgG food intolerances or allergies.

Let me recap.

When your gut is leaky, partially digested foods get exposed to your immune system, which then creates an abnormal response to something pretty normal — food. That creates many chronic health problems.

FINDING AND FIXING DELAYED FOOD ALLERGIES AND SENSITIVITIES

Just because you have a food allergy or intolerance doesn’t mean you have to suffer with it. In fact, there’s a lot you can do to deal with the problem, re-balance your system, and eliminate chronic symptoms.

Visit my website to find out how to identify food allergies and to discover the tools you need to begin to heal your gut and repair your digestive and immune systems.

When you do these things, you’ll be more resilient and able to tolerate a wider range of foods. The plan is designed to get you started on the road to finding and healing this common obstacle to health.

Food-intolerance-test-600x400Just think about giving yourself the gift of a week long vacation for your body and soul. You might be surprised by what’s on the other side. You’ll be following the same simple program that I use with my own patients to eliminate food allergies.

I think you’ll find that the results are remarkable.

But I don’t want you to just believe what I am saying — I want you to prove it to yourself!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. He is a practicing family physician, an nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and has been a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, CNN, The View, the Katie Couric show and The Dr. Oz Show. http://www.drhyman.com

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Multiple Sclerosis, Restless Legs and the Amazing World of Epigenetics

Dr-Terry-WahlsDr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College. She is an avid clinical researcher with over 60 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts, posters and papers to her name.

Several years ago Dr. Wahls suffered from debilitating MS (and at the same time suffered from Restless Legs Syndrome).

As a doctor/scientist, her empirical view of life pointed to the undeniable fact that there was not going to be a cure discovered for MS before her rapidly approaching demise.

This stark truth propelled Dr. Wahls to look at alternative healing methods. By experimenting with changes in diet and attitude, Dr. Wahls was able to cure herself. In fact there is a famous split photo of her (below) showing a BEFORE PICTURE of her sitting, almost lifeless, in a wheelchair, and an AFTER PICTURE, showing her riding her bicycle, full of life, light and vibrancy.

I have had several correspondences with her, and I can tell you that she is an amazing force. As is the case with a lot of people that have been to the “brink” she wants to give back – to help others in similar situations to become healthy again.

Because she is also a former RLS sufferer, Dr. Wahls was kind enough to publish one of my RLS articles in her newsletter last year.

Her story will not only help those that suffer from MS or Restless Legs, it will inspire anyone with ANY condition to shift towards a healthy and balanced life.

In this article (below) from her monthly newsletter, she talks about the wonderful world of epigenetics, and how we are NOT bound by our genes. In other words, saying that you’re STUCK with RLS because you inherited the condition, just doesn’t wash anymore. It’s not reality. There is a LOT you can do to improve your condition, if you open your mind just a smidge.

THERE ARE NO HOPELESS CASES!

For more information on Dr. Wahl’s amazing journey, please follow the link at the bottom of this article.

“DON’T BLAME YOUR FAMILY TREE” by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD.

When you were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, you might have been wise enough to ask your doctor about diet and what you could do yourself to reduce the symptoms and pain associated with MS. Unfortunately, most neurologists today would shrug off that question and tell you there is no evidence that diet makes any difference. Your physician probably told you that science doesn’t know why you developed MS. You and your physician probably just blamed your genes, and then moved on to talking about what immune-suppressing drugs you should take, in an effort to keep you as functional as possible for as long as possible.

The problem with relying only on immune suppression to treat MS is that our immune cells are vital to the proper functioning of our bodies and brains. All immune-suppressing drugs therefore also have a long list of side effects, ranging from mild to life-threatening. But more importantly, immune suppression does not address the reasons people develop MS or any other autoimmune condition. To effectively treat disease, we must confront the root cause of why the immune system has malfunctioned and begun attacking the brain.

The good news is that for most chronic diseases, including autoimmune problems like MS, the cause is likely 5% genetic and 95% epigenetic. That means the environmental factors are huge. There are thousands of studies that have linked improving health behaviors with better health outcomes, a decline in symptoms of chronic disease, and reduced need for medication to treat diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental health problems, cancers, and autoimmunity. Addressing diet and lifestyle as I explain in my book is how to have the more of the health promoting genes turned on and the disease promoting genes turned off.

For more information on Dr. Wahls, her recovery and her protocol please visit: http://www.terrywahls.com

wahlssplit1

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“STRENGTHENING CIRCULATION TO LESSEN RESTLESS LEGS SYMPTOMS” by Dr. Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc

arterial-and-venous-circulation-of-the-legsThere are a number of simple ways to boost circulation. Simply standing up and walking more frequently can work wonders.

You can also stretch, touch your toes, and practice deep breathing. Strengthening your circulation is especially important for people in office jobs, as sitting for many hours is known to be bad for your health on a number of levels, specifically cardiovascular.

I particularly recommend an ancient and extensively researched Tibetan herbal formula ( find out more here: http://www.dreliaz.org/recommended-product/tibetan-herbal-formula ) which has been shown in clinical studies to support circulation and cardiovascular health, along with other benefits. The formula includes Iceland moss, costus root, cherubic myrobalan, and other more unusual botanicals. In addition to boosting circulation, the formula also supports cellular health and immunity and provides antioxidant protection, demonstrated in more than 40 years of published studies.

We’re still learning about RLS, so I would encourage people to keep an eye on emerging research. However, by combining moderate exercise and minor lifestyle changes, together with circulation-boosting formulas and essential minerals, people struggling from RLS may find significant relief.

Even better, by supporting circulation and cardiovascular health, they can help lower their risk for heart disease and other serious conditions.

DrEliaz_BioPic-150x150Dr. Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc, integrates Western medicine with his extensive knowledge of traditional Chinese, Tibetan, ayurvedic, homeopathic, and complementary medical systems. With more than 25 years of clinical experience and research, Dr. Eliaz has a unique holistic approach to the relationship between health and disease, immune enhancement, detoxification, and cancer prevention and treatment. For more health and wellness information, visit http://www.dreliaz.org.

This article originally appeared on the website “Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen” http://www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/restless-legs-syndrome

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“SURPRISING HERB MAY HELP RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME” by Michelle Schoffro Cook, Care2.com

St.-Johns-Wort-For-Restless-Leg-Syndrome1When you think of the herb St. John’s Wort you probably think of depression. But new research published in the medical journal Clinics found that you might also want to consider this herb to help with Restless Leg Syndrome.

Officially known as Willis Ekbom’s disease, Restless Leg Syndrome is a common condition affecting the nervous system and characterized by jumpy legs that can’t remain still at night. It’s not a dangerous condition but it can be uncomfortable for sufferers and can interfere with quality of sleep and life.

The study is called “Saint John’s wort, an herbal inducer of the cytochrome P4503A4 isoform, may alleviate symptoms of Willis-Ekbom’s disease” by José Carlos Pereira et al.

The study found that St. John’s Wort effectively boosted certain liver enzymes that tend to drop to low levels in individuals suffering from restless legs. Researchers believe that the herb’s effectiveness in the pilot study may be attributed to the significant enzyme boost, resulting in a calming effect on restless legs.

That is potentially good news for sufferers of the condition who are often placed on a drug known as pramipexole, which has many side-effects, including: fainting, dizziness, suddenly falling asleep, unexpected gambling or sexual urges, tiredness, abnormal dreams, muscle pain, difficulty walking, skin growths, weight gain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and an increased risk of the skin cancer melanoma. Ironically, the drug can also cause unusual twitching or muscle movements, which are what sufferers of Restless Leg Syndrome are trying to alleviate when they seek medical intervention.Peelbark_St._Johns-wort_(Hypericum_fasciculatum)_(6439017119)

While the study was a small pilot study, the herb showed impressive results, improving the symptoms of 17 of the 21 participants. The study results are also invaluable considering the superior safety record of St. John’s Wort in comparison to pramipexole. Some of the potential side-effects of St. John’s Wort include: photosensitivity when taken within a few hours of direct sunlight exposure, anxiety, headaches, muscle cramps, sweating, weakness, dry mouth, or skin irritation; however, many of these symptoms tend to be infrequent.

Conversely, St. John’s Wort is commonly recommended as a treatment for: anxiety, mild to moderate depression, cancer, nerve pain, and obsessive compulsive disorder. The dosage used in the study to treat restless legs syndrome was 300 mg daily of St. John’s Wort extract for three months. For other health conditions, dosages vary greatly. For more information about dosages for other health conditions, consult my article “St. John’s Wort is for Much More than Depression.”

Because many drugs can interact with this herb it is important to check with your doctor, pharmacist, or natural health provider before taking.  Avoid taking if pregnant or nursing.

You can read the results of the study here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3634959

wwwL._UX250_Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, DNM, ROHP, PhD is an International Best-selling & Sixteen-time Book Author, Doctor of Traditional Natural Medicine. She lives in British Columbia.

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