Do you have restless legs syndrome? Maybe you just think you do thanks to the advertising savvy of pharmaceutical companies who make millions exaggerating this rare condition. They’ve been so successful, that it’s become an epidemic in a population of restless yet inactive people who may really just be suffering from a common mineral deficiency.
I’ll discuss that deficiency with you in just a moment. But first, I’d like to explain why you should avoid if at all possible the popular prescription drugs that are being marketed to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS).
The main RLS drugs fall under the category of tranquilizers, sleeping aids and pain relievers — substances that are highly addictive and are only masking the true problem. The worst of the batch is Requip (ropinirole) which plays with your brain chemistry in the way drugs for Parkinson’s disease and ADHD do — by increasing or decreasing your production of dopamine (which regulates most of your bodily functions).
In fact, Requip is so powerful, it is often prescribed to lessen the effects of Parkinson’s disease. “Hallucination” is listed under significant adverse effects of the drug. 1
Here’s what you really need to know about RLS but will not learn from any TV commercial. The most common cause is usually a simple deficiency of the mineral magnesium in the muscle cells.
Magnesium is the key component that allows cells to absorb other minerals like calcium, iron and potassium that are needed by your muscle cells. Magnesium also allows your muscles to relax and even combats insomnia. These are three darn good reasons why this miracle mineral makes an easy solution for RLS.
One hundred years ago the average person consumed 500 mg of magnesium a day through their diet. Thanks to modern soil depletion, the average person is lucky to get 150 mg through food alone. Unless you’re juicing bunches of collard greens each day, supplementation is the best alternative.
I recommend taking magnesium in three forms:
Magnesium Citrate Powder: This may not absorb as well as the other forms but it still offers its own unique benefits. It also tastes the best. You can find a powdered drink mix called Natural Calm at most health food stores. It can be added to water for a fizzy soda-like drink sweetened with organic stevia.
Magnesium Oil: This is a combination of supersaturated magnesium chloride in distilled water. You can massage this into your legs. It’ll absorb through the skin into the muscles. Good sources of magnesium oil can be found at www.globallight.net and www.magneticclay.com.
Angstrom Liquid Ionic Magnesium: Scientists have found that minerals enter cells through extremely narrow channels about 5 billionths of a meter wide. We normally would rely on plants to break magnesium down to this size. The company www.123minerals.com however, uses a process that breaks down magnesium into a highly absorbable form to enter these narrow channels. Usually one 75-mg dose of angstrom magnesium will have the same effects of 750 mg of citrate.
You can’t overdose on magnesium (unless you have kidney failure problems) so take as much as feels good for you. If you’re prone to loose bowel movements, get most of your magnesium through the oil and the angstrom minerals. If you’re prone to constipation, you may prefer to focus on the citrate powder which has a slight laxative effect.
Your body was built to move and your mind to think. Sitting in front of the TV watching ads for RLS inspires neither physical fitness nor mental creativity. No wonder people are restless! Dose up on magnesium, get plenty of exercise and participate in projects that challenge you mentally. My guess is you won’t need any prescription drugs for RLS.
[ Ed. Note: Carolyn Dean, MD, ND is The Doctor of the Future and the author of 18 health books. She's the medical director for the Nutritional Magnesium Association. You’re invited to receive a free subscription to her Doctor of the Future blog, join a 48-week Future Health Now! wellness program or schedule a telephone consultation at www.DrCarolynDean.com.]
"Dr" Dean is very mistaken about RLs in general. First of all the "main drugs for RLS are the Parkinson's drugs. These are the first line of defense in RLS, but do not work for everyone. My main reason for commenting, however has nothing to do with drugs. RLS is not, nor has it ever been, a disease that affects "restless yet inactive people". People of all ages have this. I have a severe case and manage several online support groups for sleep disorders. I have had it for over 40 yrs, and I did not need a TV ad to tell me I had RLS. There is nothing wrong with taking magnesium, but unless you have an extremely MILD case of RLS, this will not do you a bit of good. I know of of the doctor's background. This article has been taken off her personal web site, because of all the flack she got for it, but I see it is still floating around. According to the "Doctor of the Future" magnesium will cure anything from cancer to diabetes. Please! I am nno fan of big drug companies and that is not what this is about. It is about her attitude on RLS. By the way, the first draft of this article did not use the word "inactive". She said to get "your lazy asses out of those recliners. You probably will not print this, but I am sending it anyway, hoping there is someone with some sense at this web site who will understand how damaging an article like this can be.