Do you suffer from restless legs syndrome? Researchers have puzzled over the cause of this curious condition for decades with little explanation for why some people simply can’t keep still at night.
According to past studies, possible causes for RLS include: (1)
• Inability to process dopamine properly
• Other chronic diseases
• Iron deficiencies
New studies, however, have looked a little more closely at the possible causes for RLS. Since RLS is often associated with other chronic conditions, like chronic fatigue, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy, researchers from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Washington University School of Medicine decided to examine the link between these other conditions and RLS in 2011. What they found out about the possible cause of restless legs syndrome was rather surprising.
The researchers theorized that because some of these other diseases and conditions are related to immune disorders caused by inflammation, that inflammation could also be a trigger for restless leg syndrome. (2) When the researchers dug deeper, they found 38 diseases and conditions highly-related to RLS. Ninety-five percent of these were related to excessive inflammation in the body. Due to this high level of connection, the researchers summarized that inflammation may play a larger role in RLS than was thought previously. The researchers stated that inflammation could play a role in RLS in three ways:
• Inflammation could trigger iron deficiencies that lead to RLS
• Immune responses to imbalanced bacteria levels in the intestines could trigger inflammation that lead to RLS
• Altered genetic host defense mechanisms may lead to excessive inflammation which could trigger RLS
Curing inflammation and RLS
Based on this theory, individuals with RLS can try to eliminate RLS episodes by controlling inflammation. This can be done in three separate ways.
1. Eliminating sources of inflammation from food and medications (when possible). Inflammatory foods include:
• Omega-6 fats
• Processed foods
• Refined carbohydrates
• Trans fats
2. Take anti-inflammatory supplements. This step will help calm any existing inflammation as well as reduce the inflammatory effect of newly consumed foods. The best supplements for reducing inflammation and stopping RLS include:
• Calcium and magnesium
• B vitamins (12, 9, and 6)
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin E
3. Eat anti-inflammatory foods. The last step is to eat anti-inflammatory foods and ensure you have a wide variety of sources of inflammation-fighters in your diet. The following foods are well-known inflammation-fighters: (3)
• Fatty fish
• Leafy greens
Control RLS with anti-inflammatory agents
Although more research about the role of inflammation in RLS is necessary, there is evidence to support that this may be a large contributing factor to RLS symptoms. If the researchers are correct, this could open up a whole new way to treat RLS without dangerous sedatives or other medications. You can control your RLS without the use of harsh medications.
If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, give the anti-inflammatory approach a try.
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