Restless leg syndrome could be just a side effect

Reader’s Question: I am on my second medication for restless leg syndrome relief. Its effectiveness is diminishing, as did the first one. What do you recommend?

Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: I know how frustrating it can be to lose precious sleep night after night.

Fortunately, I’ve treated many patients with restless leg syndrome, and the first thing I always do is look at the prescription drugs they take.

Many types of drugs – from antidepressants to sedatives – cause restless leg syndrome relief as a side effect.

Beyond that, restless leg syndrome relief can be caused by a variety of factors, including kidney problems and low levels of parathyroid hormone. That’s why some doctors will order parathyroid ultrasound to rule that out.

Since the condition can be caused by something more common – like a deficiency of iron, potassium, or vitamin E – it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about having your levels checked.

As well, anyone suffering from restless leg syndrome relief is more likely to have a condition known as Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). It’s the culprit behind a number of different conditions, including restless leg syndrome relief, as well as a HUGE number of digestive disorders.

SIBO has also been found to be more prevalent in ageing patients who might be experiencing changes in gut immune function because of poor diet, medications, other diseases, and even a decline in mobility.

Probiotics can help create and keep the balance of gut bacteria you need to fight disease and maintain good health.

A little movement can go a long way in helping your gut, too. For an activity that’s gentle and actually quite relaxing, I recommend yoga – which has been shown to help other mobility issues, including Parkinson’s disease.

My all-time favourite remedy for restless leg syndrome, though, is to drink 2 to 4 ounces of tonic water before bedtime.

The active ingredient in tonic water, quinine, used to be prescribed for restless leg syndrome… but it was taken off the market (probably because it’s natural and it works!).

I try to answer at least one question every week here in Health eTips. Drop me a line at to send me yours!

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
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