It wasn’t until 1995 and 2003 that definitive papers were written about Restless Leg Syndrome. That’s why I never even heard about it in medical school in the mid 70s. It’s a neurological condition with an irresistible urge to move a body part in order to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. It mostly affects the legs but the rest of the body can suffer too. Movement gives only temporary relief.
Right off the bat, RLS symptoms remind me of magnesium deficiency symptoms.
1, Pain or an aching in the muscles
2. An itch or a tickle you can’t scratch
3. A crawling feeling
4. Limbs jerking during sleep
6. Daytime drowsiness
There is no known cause of RLS, but several possibilities point to minerals. Specifically, 20% of people can have low ferritin (an iron storage protein) but 75% have increased iron stores. So it’s not a matter of giving iron but about utilizing this mineral properly. Magnesium deficiency is associated with RLS. ADHD is associated with RLS and they both are linked to dopamine dysfunction. Dopamine is a magnesium dependent neurotransmitter. Magnesium is also an excellent treatment for ADHD.
RLS can occur “for no reason” or be a side effect of medication, which adds to my thesis that one of the prime causes of RLS is magnesium deficiency. Common drugs such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anticonvulsants can cause RLS and magnesium deficiency. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can trigger RLS; magnesium is one of the best treatments for drug withdrawal. Surgery can worsen RLS or even cause the condition. The stress of major surgery can produce magnesium deficiency.
Lately, when medicine can’t find a single cause for a disease, it blames the genes. Apparently, more than 60% of cases of RLS run in families. However, magnesium deficiency runs in families as well. Besides, RLS didn’t just suddenly appear in the broken gene pool. Even if there is a genetic component, it’s the vitamin and mineral cofactors that turn genes on and off – magnesium is the most important gene switch in the body.
Here’s what I think: With the increasing levels of chemicals in our food, air and water; the escalation in the use of pharmaceutical drugs – including their contamination of the water supply; and GMO foods, our bodies have become more toxic and overwhelm the ability of the body to detoxify. The major detox nutrient, of course, is magnesium.
I really should write a larger paper on RLS because there is much more, including the fact that drugs are the only treatment for RLS and those very drugs could worsen the condition. I recommend to my clients to treat RLS with magnesium. The best therapeutic magnesium is ReMag. Then add ReMyte for the other minerals that may be implicated, including potassium. As for iron, I’m convinced that balancing all the minerals will help with proper iron utilization. In my ReMag and ReMyte books I talk about using sea salt in your drinking water to obtain trace amounts of 72 minerals including a good amount sodium to support the adrenal glands.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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