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Restless Legs

Q: Can you recommend any remedy for restless legs - a painful condition which causes one's legs to be restless and painful but only at night or when one is resting. Thank you.

A: People with Restless leg syndrome have strange sensations in their legs and an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve the sensations. The sensations are difficult to describe: they are not painful, but an uncomfortable, "itchy," "pins and needles," or "creepy crawly" feeling deep in the legs. The sensations are usually worse at rest, especially when lying in bed. The sensations lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety and stress.

The symptoms are generally worse in the evening and night and less severe in the morning. While the symptoms are usually quite mild in young adults, by age 50 the symptoms may cause severe nightly sleep disruption that can significantly impair a person's quality of life. There are several steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms.

Calcium and magnesium both have an effect on muscle contraction and relaxation. In addition, they help nerve transmission. Experts say that you can help calm your legs and get some rest by making sure that you're getting enough of these two minerals. Taking a daily dose of between 800 and 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 500 milligrams of magnesium at bedtime may help reduce RLS symptoms.

Magnesium is important for muscles to be able to relax, while calcium helps them contract. Too little magnesium in relation to calcium (or low levels of both) can make muscles cramp more easily and may make some muscles, like the smooth muscles that wrap around big blood vessels, stay somewhat contracted.

Magnesium deficiency can make muscles go into spasms easily. When you're short on magnesium, the waste products of metabolism, such as lactic acid, are harder to flush out, so you may get tired, burning, sore muscles. I would use a good magnesum and calcium supplement.

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