Even though researchers have been studying restless leg syndrome (RLS) for decades, they still don’t know exactly what causes this uncomfortable condition. Experts believe a wide range of factors — from your genetic makeup to your levels of certain nutrients — play a role.
While you can’t control your genes, you can control your intake of specific nutrients. And one of them in particular might be helpful in easing your restless leg symptoms: Researchers have observed a connection between vitamin D deficiency and RLS.
Increasing your vitamin D intake might be just one piece of your unique restless legs puzzle. But you don’t have to figure it out on your own.
Our team of RLS experts at Vascular & Interventional Associates helps people throughout northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. From our office in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, we work with you on developing a plan to ease your restless leg discomfort.
Why vitamin D might help
Researchers have connected vitamin deficiencies and RLS. Along with lacking enough vitamin C and E, low vitamin D levels statistically increase your odds of having restless legs.
While experts still haven’t determined exactly why vitamin D deficiency increases RLS, they believe it has something to do with the way this vitamin works in your brain. When you’re short on vitamin D, your body has a more difficult time making dopamine. While you might know this neurotransmitter for its effect on your mood, dopamine also plays a role in your movement.
Scientists have identified dopamine issues as a contributing factor in developing restless leg syndrome. And because low vitamin D makes dopamine production and release more challenging, it can increase your risk for RLS.
Getting the vitamin D you need
Good news: Your body has the ability to create vitamin D on its own. The key is getting enough sunlight. Experts recommend between 10 and 30 minutes of sun exposure each day to help your body create sufficient vitamin D.
If you have trouble getting enough sunlight (such as during the gray winter days in Kentucky), you can also be sure to consume foods and drinks that are fortified with this vitamin, such as cereals and milk. You might also benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement or a multivitamin with D in it.
All of this assumes that you’re deficient in vitamin D. To find out if that could be a part of your RLS, visit our team. We can order blood tests to check you for low levels of vitamin D and other factors that might be playing a role in your restless legs, such as iron deficiency.
When we find deficiencies, we can tailor a plan to help you find relief. That might mean recommending vitamin supplements and medication paired with lifestyle changes.
To find out if vitamin D deficiency is playing a role in your restless legs, call Vascular & Interventional Associates or request an appointment online today.