So you may have heard of Restless Legs Syndrome….a neurological condition where someone has compulsion to move their limbs in order to feel relief. It most often happens in the evening or at night and can contribute to insomnia or poor sleep (sometimes without the individual realising this). Sometimes it is the bed partner who is most acutely aware of the restless legs!

Research over the past 20 years has suggested some of the causative factors at play include a lack of iron specifically in the brain, excess neurotransmitter activity during the day (dopamine in particular), and genetics.

When considering why someone may have a deficiency (lack) of iron in their brain, we would look into the following areas:

  • What is their iron intake (food diary)?
  • How well are they digesting their food?
  • How well are they absorbing the iron in their food? Is there any competition for iron absorption in the gut….think microbes who often take iron before the human cells get access to it.

Restless Legs Syndrome can also be confused with leg cramps at night which can be due to common causes such as dehydration, lack of magnesium or potassium.

Finally ensuring an individual has a strong and balanced immune system is key (remember 70% of the immune system is in the gut) and stress management is very important to address in this area. Raised cortisol (from the adrenal glands), due to stress can suppress the immune system.

Please share this article if you know someone with restless legs.