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Supplements for Restless Legs Syndrome


Although no large studies have been conducted, smaller studies suggest a possible role of supplements in reducing the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), a condition that causes uncomfortable "creepy-crawly" sensations, agitation, and the need to move the legs when trying to fall asleep. Women are twice as likely to suffer from restless legs syndrome than men, and it occurs more often with increasing age (Wang, Sleep Med 2009).

People with deficient or low blood levels of iron are also more likely to experience RLS. As discussed in more detail in the "What It Does" section of the Iron Supplements Review, a study found that taking a combination of high-dose iron and vitamin C (which helps to increase iron absorption) can decrease symptom severity in people whose blood levels of iron are low. However, it's important to consult your physician before supplementing with iron for RLS.

As discussed in the "What It Does" section of the Magnesium Supplements Review, a preliminary study suggested that taking magnesium in the evening could be helpful for RLS; however, there have not been large, well-controlled studies investigating this treatment.

Similarly, as discussed in the "What It Does" section of the Potassium Supplements Review, one preliminary study suggested that potassium may help reduce the severity of RLS symptoms, but no well-controlled studies have been conducted to prove this.

Be aware that melatonin supplements may increase leg movements in people with restless legs syndrome RLS. Caffeine, alcohol, SSRI antidepressants, antihistamines, and most antipsychotic and antinausea medications can potentially increase RLS symptoms (Cotter, Ther Clin Risk Manag 2006).

Also be aware that RLS can occur as a result of kidney or liver disease. People with these conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before taking supplements (Cotter, Ther Clin Risk Manag 2006; Franco, J Clin Sleep Med 2008).

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March 14, 2021

I take pickle juice for foot cramps, seems to help.

November 18, 2019

I was plagued by daily episodes of restless legs for over 20 years. I came across a letter online suggesting that aspartame, the artificial sweetener, may have a connection for some people. I immediately stopped all diet sodas and found relief from restless legs within 24 hours. That was 15 years ago. I've maybe had 3 episodes in all those years.
November 18, 2019

Hi Adrian - Thank you for sharing this. There have been reported cases of movement disorders triggered by foods, including aspartame (Gerrard, Int J Neurosci 1994 --, although these may be rare.

March 30, 2019

Epison salts help, with cramping, too. There are creams or bathe with it.
March 30, 2019

Hi Lynn - Thank you for sharing this. You may be interesting in this CL Answer about Epsom salt:

March 30, 2019

My husband, who has Parkinson's and is 74, tried a bit of potassium gluconate, and it helps. I use it after exercising, and it helps, but sometimes does not prevent all, leg cramps. Since I take generic Benicar for high blood pressure, I'm assuming that I'm excreting too many electrolytes. Why magnesium does not help, I don't know. There is a prescription medication for restless leg, but the Parkinson's specialist said, sternly, DON'T take it.

December 3, 2018

I have had RLS for years (as does my adult daughter); we both take Hyland's Restful Legs with consistent and reliable success (the amount that we need are 6 tiny sublingual tablets per day/evening). When I forget to take the tablets, I am often awakened with restless legs, especially after days when I engaged in aerobic exercise (which is most days). I look forward to seeing the results of research studies conducted with this product.

December 2, 2018

Hey guys, there's a simple solution for leg cramps. My hairdresser told me about it and it sounds nutty but it has worked 100% of the time for my husband. A tablespoon of mustard! Works almost immediately. There are lots of online comments about its effectiveness and even some scientific reasons.
December 3, 2018

Hi Suzette - Thank you for sharing this. There is one study which examined the effects of ingesting mustard to replenish electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) in people experiencing exercise-induced muscle cramps (, but we aren't aware of any studies on the effects of mustard on restless legs syndrome.

August 3, 2017

I took a prescription drug for a while. It worked but I preferred doing something more natural. Although the studies mentioned in the answer to the original question states that the research does not support the effectiveness of magnesium, I was told by a friend, who had the problem for years, that combining 400 mg magnesium with 400 mg folic acid and 2500 mcg of B12 (methylcobalamine sublingual form) works beautifully. I take the combination 30 min before bed and haven't had problems since I started that 2 years ago.
August 14, 2017

Hi Lynda - Thank you for sharing your experience with this combination; however, be aware that high doses of B12 can have negative effects in some people, such as increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in people with type 2 diabetes and advanced kidney disease. See this CL Answer for more information:

August 3, 2017

When my husband began having episodes of RLS, the doctor put him on a Parkinson's medicine - which did not help much. We then figured out that there were two causes: his weekly 30 mile bike ride and too much whiskey. He curtailed the whiskey but would not give up cycling. After much research and testing he found if he drinks coconut water right after his bike ride and another when he gets home - he does not have RLS during the night. He buys Kirkland brand coconut water at Costco. I have also found it resolves my foot cramps from wearing high heals or when my feet get too cold.
August 14, 2017

Hi Bonnie - Thank you for sharing your experiences with this, and please see the CL Answer about coconut water for muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome:

August 2, 2017

A homeopathic remedy - Rhus Tox - works wonders for RLS, even though the remedy is primarily used for another condition (or other conditions). Taken before bedtime, it has worked for me for decades without fail, if I begin to feel a bit of RLS prior to going to bed. If you are woken during the night, take it, and it will relieve symptoms in 15-20 minutes.
Homeopathic remedies are the safest "medicines." Reims have been written about how homeopathy works. Many people claim that these remedies are just sugar pills and have no effect. But even babies and animals respond to the correct remedy. So it's not a placebo effect. Find it online or in a natural foods store. Or find a reputable homeopathic practitioner if you are averse to treating yourself. I have also used homeopathic cell salts to good effect, especially for leg cramps, but also for RLS ~ P. Emerson
August 2, 2017

Hi Pamela - We appreciate you sharing your experience, but, as you note, there is little clinical evidence supporting homeopathic preparations.

August 2, 2017

Hello. I looked up "Rhus Tox" on Amazon, but didn't see anything for RLS, only for arthritic pain. Is that the one you use? Is it made by Hylands? I did see a Hyland's Restful Legs product, but it didn't have the word "Rhus Tox" in it. I wonder what's in it that works.

August 6, 2017

Pamela, THANK YOU!

August 6, 2017

Hello Bev ..... I've used the Hylands product with good results - fairly inexpensive - might want to give it a try .....

August 7, 2017

Pamela - don't the symptoms go away anyway after 15-20 minutes? Mine do.

August 7, 2017

Rhus toxicodendron is a homeopathic remedy. It is also known as Rhus tox. and by its more common name, poison ivy. Other names include Toxicodendron pubescens and Toxicodendron radicans. Rhus toxicodendron is used for treating several conditions, including: skin rashes. cramps. strains. sprains. restless leg syndrome. flu.

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