The 10 main causes of restless leg syndrome and how to heal them naturally.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a very common condition where you feel unpleasant and irritating sensations in the legs. You will have a very strong urge to fidget and move the legs and this usually occurs late in the afternoon or at night. RLS is also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease and can make it very hard to rest or fall asleep at night.
In this article, we will share with you the 10 main causes of restless leg syndrome and how to cure them naturally.
1. Vitamin B1: Deficiency The root cause of restless legs is usually a vitamin B1 deficiency, also known as thiamine. This nutrient is very important for regulating the small energy factories in your cells known as the mitochondria. If you don’t have enough B1 then your body won’t produce enough ATP which is used for muscle contraction, nerves and energy transfer. The best source of vitamin B1 is nutritional yeast. You can get this in flakes for cooking with or get tablets from health food stores. Taking this usually cures restless legs in 1-2 days.
2. Refined Carbs: Every time you consume sugar or refined carbohydrates your body has to use up its stores of B1 to break them down. Refined carbs and sugary foods like soda drinks, biscuits, fruit juices, bread, biscuits, pasta, cereal, cakes and cookies will all deplete your B1 levels, triggering restless leg syndrome, especially at night. Cut back on these junk foods and consume pasture-raised eggs on a daily basis. These are a great source of protein and natural fats to keep you full. We also recommend eating dark leafy green salads each day to raise your potassium levels. Potassium helps to get rid of cravings for sugary foods.
3. Energy Drinks: Avoid artificial energy drinks at all costs, as these cause some major damage to the nerve cells in the body. These cause muscle weakness and also deplete B1 levels due to their high sugar and caffeine, so be sure to cut these out of the diet. Energy drinks raise the stress hormone called cortisol which causes muscle tissue to weaken, break down and be converted to sugar and body fat. You can repair the damage from energy drinks by consuming nutritional yeast for B vitamins, Swiss chard for potassium and pumpkin seeds for magnesium.
4. Low Stomach Acid: If you suffer from indigestion, heartburn, bloating or acid reflux then you have a condition called low stomach acid. This is very common with age as the stomach gets weaker and too alkaline as we get older You need a strong acidic stomach with a low Ph. to absorb minerals like magnesium and potassium from your food. Both of these minerals are important in regulating muscle contractions and strengthening the nervous system. If you have this problem, simply take 1-2 apple cider vinegar capsules before a meal to strengthen the stomach and absorb these important minerals from your food.
5. Potassium Deficiency: Fluid retention in the body can put pressure on the muscle tissues and nerves which may be causing restless leg syndrome. Eating potassium-rich foods like avocado, beet tops and Swiss chard helps to balance fluid levels and relieve this pressure. A recent study showed that consuming high amounts of potassium citrate also relieves restless leg syndrome. You can get this in powdered form from health food stores and drink in a glass of water. The human body needs an average of 4700mg of potassium per day.
6. Lower Back Problems: If you have lower back pain, tightness or muscular problems in the back then this may be the cause of your restless legs. These structural issues with the body may be pinching or compressing the nerves which lead to RLS. If you suffer from this visit a chiropractor or acupressure specialist to help unlock the muscles and relieve your pain. Gentle stretches every day and exercises like swimming can help to unlock these muscles and allow them to become more flexible. This will help your mobility, improve nerve impulses and blood flow to the legs.
7. Medications: There are many medications which are known to make restless leg syndrome worse, especially anti-acid tablets. These weaken the stomach which prevents you from absorbing potassium, magnesium and other minerals. Apple cider vinegar is a great alternative to antacids and actually heals the underlying problem of GERD, acid reflux, bloating and digestive issues. Anti-nausea meds, antipsychotics, cold and allergy medications, diabetes medication, antihistamines, antidepressants and none steroid pain relief meds may also have side effects of restless leg syndrome. You can find lots of natural remedies for health problems in our other videos, but always consult a doctor before abandoning any medications.
8. White Rice: White rice is a refined version of brown rice, where they have removed the outer hull, leaving only the pure carbohydrate. Unfortunately, this outer hull is where the B Vitamins are stored which would have helped your body to process the carbs in the rice. For this reason, eating white rice causes a B1 deficiency, leading to restless legs. We recommend switching to Wild Rice, a much healthier variety which still contains the hull and more fibre.
9. Electrolyte Imbalance: If you have restless leg syndrome once in a while, this can simply be an electrolyte imbalance. You may have consumed too much water, exercised a little too hard or have simply been eating low-quality foods. Foods which are pasteurised in tin cans and ready meals contain no b1, as the heating process destroys it. Simply consume leafy green salads with high-quality vegetables, like asparagus, kale, bok choy, spinach and arugula to boost your electrolytes. These will boost your magnesium, potassium and calcium levels. Alternatively, you can purchase a good quality electrolyte powder and drink in a glass of water to boost your mineral intake.
10. Pregnancy: Many women suffer from restless leg syndrome, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is yet again a thiamine or B1 deficiency which may also increase the risk of toxaemia. Get more B1 into the diet from pork, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, and beef liver if you have this problem.
As you can see there are many causes of restless leg syndrome, which are mostly linked to a vitamin B1 deficiency. We highly recommend consuming nutritional yeast and beef liver to supply your body with a range of B vitamins. The entire Vitamin B complex from B1 to B12 are very important for a healthy nervous system, metabolism and muscle function. Always look for a high-quality yeast which contains no fortified vitamins. Brewer’s yeast is a close second to nutritional yeast and will also reduce restless legs. If you are elderly, have had a gastric bypass or are diabetic, you must take supplements to raise your B1 levels. Consuming too much alcohol is also linked to restless legs, as this also depletes B vitamins. Cut back on this and switch to Kombucha tea for the same calming effects. You can also strengthen your stomach by consuming apple cider vinegar or betaine HCL tablets on a daily basis. These bring the Ph level of the stomach back down to its normal level of acidity which also cures acid reflux and GERD. Last but not least, drinking chamomile tea at night can help to relax the body and muscles. This tea reduces stress hormones in the body and helps calm the nervous system for a better night’s sleep.