Iron deficiency is not uncommon, in fact it’s fairly common in Americans who rarely consume the recommended daily value. Most of the time, iron can have sourced from a healthy diet containing dark leafy greens, beans, lentils or cereal grains. A lack of iron in the diet may lead to many ailments and deficiencies, including Restless Leg Syndrome.
While the exact cause of RLS is un-determined, many medical professionals speculate it has to do with a combination of genetics, poor diet, and a vitamin or nutritional deficiency. Previous studies and treatment programs involving the supplementation of Iron supplements have yielded great results.
What RLS Is
• Discomfort or pain felt in the legs from the lower calves and below.
• The sufferer may constantly feel the urge to move around to distract themselves or alleviate the sensations.
• The muscles in the legs may spasm periodically when the sufferer attempts to sleep.
• RLS may share the same symptoms with other ailments including Insomnia. In fact, Insomnia and RLS often go hand in hand.
If you’ve ever attempted to get a good night’s sleep only to be hindered by a strange tingly sensation in your lower legs or even an urge to keep your legs moving, chances are you have restless leg syndrome. Sufferers of RLS can’t seem to alleviate the tingly sensation and many report that the sensation isn’t unlike that of insects crawling all over their legs. The only relief seems to be brought on by movement of the legs, although this isn’t always successful.
How to Determine Iron Deficiency?
It’s difficult to pinpoint why exactly RLS occurs, but certain aggressors such as caffeine, alcohol and even iron deficiency have been blamed. In order to determine if iron deficiency is the leading cause of your symptoms, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to have blood work performed.
Your doctor will order a test to determine your iron level stores. If the results show you have less than 50 mcg per liter of blood, chances are your doctor will recommend or even prescribe you an iron supplement to be taken by mouth. You may have extremely low iron levels and still not show any signs, one of the most common being Anemia.
Iron Supplement Options
There are a variety of ways to include Iron in your diet or vitamin regimen. The advancements in the medical field have made it not only convenient, but easy to eliminate or prevent iron deficiency. If you’re shopping for an iron supplement, chances are you’ll stumble upon quite a few supplements that contain the word ‘ferrous’. This simply means the supplement contains the iron nutrient. It’s the second word that follows after ferrous that you need to pay attention to. The second word will indicate where or how the iron was derived from. You may see anything from ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, or even ferrous gluconate. Regardless of which one you pick, they’re all effective for treating iron deficiency while combatting restless leg syndrome symptoms.
How to Use Iron Supplements for Restless Legs?
Before taking any supplement or making any drastic lifestyle changes, discuss them carefully with your doctor. They can make solid recommendations based on your health and your medical history. They can also provide you with the proper dosage based on their knowledge. Remember; what works for someone else may not work for you.
In order to get the most out of your new supplement, it’s recommended you take it on an empty stomach to allow the nutrients to better absorb throughout your body. Your doctor may also recommend taking a vitamin c supplement in conjunction with the iron which should help absorption levels.
Possible Side Effects
The most common side effect reported is re-occurring constipation. If you begin to experience the side effects of constipation or upset stomach, be sure to say something to your doctor. You may also want to consider taking an over the counter stool softener or laxative. If none of these options work, you may want to consider lowering your dosage.
Treatment Through Diet
In combination with a supplement, altering your diet so you include iron fortified foods may also be beneficial. The easiest way to increase your iron intake levels is to include red meat in your diet as much as possible. If you’re a vegetarian, it’s highly recommended that you consume dark leafy greens such as spinach and lentils as frequently as possible.