MY PERSONAL SOLUTION TO RELIEVING RLS
I can now sleep the entire night undisturbed.
I have had RLS for at least 50 years. My mother had it, some of my siblings have it and some of my adult children have it. Over the years I’ve used several of the prescription meds – Sinamet, Parlodel, Neurontin, and Requip. They all had side effects that I couldn’t tolerate. So I decided to look for my own solutions. I have been retired for several years, so I have the time to do my own research.
Here’s what I learned. There is a category of food additives called neurotoxins or excitotoxins. They are glutamates that affect the nervous system. The most well known excitotoxin is MSG (monosodium glutamate), Other additives are converted by processing into glutamates. All excitotoxins should be eliminated from the diet. We need to eat unprocessed foods only. Even tiny amounts of excitotoxins will aggravate RLS. In addition to RLS, excitotoxins are involved in some of today’s maladies that we never heard of years ago, such as fibromyalgia. Also some conditions were around but not as prevalent, i.e. migraine headaches, joint pains, etc.
Read all food labels. Do not buy anything with the following additives. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Give it a try for a month. When I first eliminated all these additives, I slept soundly for seven straight hours on the second night.
Other Names for MSG
Caseinate (sodium or calcium)
Yeast extract or nutrient
Commercial soup or sauce base
Soy, wheat, whey protein
Soy, fish, or bean sauces
Malted barley flour
Corn byproducts: corn syrup, dextrose,
cornstarch, citric acid
Commercial processes used today to manufacture MSG weren’t in use until the 1960s. There’s nothing “natural” about the MSG in wide use today. Aspartame (NutraSweet®) is another widely used excitotoxin.
Keep in mind, though. It’s almost impossible to avoid additives 100 percent. Sometimes we eat out, and don’t know what’s in the food. Some items, like deli foods, are wrapped on the spot, so you don’t know what’s in them. In those cases, if I’ve been good the rest of the day, I might experience some minor twitches toward morning. On occasions when I’m tempted by something really yummy, and I ignore the additive content, I can count on a really bad night.
Oh, BTW, in addition to the above, I isolated a couple of other surefire triggers of RLS, namely, acid foods such as lemons, raspberries, tomatoes, etc. milk, too. Also, if I need to go to the bathroom and ignore the call, it will trigger my RLS. Because of that, any time I go to the theater, I go to the washroom at intermission, whether I need to or not. Otherwise my legs will go crazy for the second half of the play.
I go through the entire day with no episodes. I used to have a siege every night between suppertime and bedtime. My nights are now relatively undisturbed. I might get small twitches a couple times each night, but it's not unusual to sleep 4-5 hours with nary a twitch. The twitches are shortlived, and usually if I get up and go to the bathroom I can return to bed and after a short wakeful period I can return to sleep for a couple of hours. It feels so weird to have my legs completely at peace. Usually even when they were'nt 'active', I could still feel a very slight tingle.
Every now and then when I succumb to temptation, I pay. Last week I had a little can of V-8. A little while later my legs started up. Lasted about 1/2 hour. The culprit? Listed among the ingredients was 'natural flavors', which is an alias for MSG.
Since anybody on this forum is probably computer literate, you can do your own research by Googling the words ‘excitotoxins’or ‘neurotoxins'. Better to use the designation ‘excitotoxins’, because the links will bring up food additives. The word ‘neurotoxin’ also brings up a lot of info on mercury and lead poisoning and other environmental toxins. Read some of the links that come up and you’ll be shocked.
If you're really interested in this, don't go out and buy a lot of new foods. Instead, for a couple of days try just having natural proteins that you already have at home, like eggs, meat, fish, fowl, plus cooked fresh veggies and salad with just oil and vinegar. Maybe some bread and butter or peanut butter, but check the ingredients first. Keep it as pure and fresh as you can. That should be sufficient to test the theory. If your RLS abates, then you'll know excitotoxins affect you. If not, it didn't cost you anything.
So, in summary….don’t eat anything with excitotoxin additives, watch out for acidic fruits/foods, and don’t ignore nature’s call.
MY PERSONAL SOLUTION TO RELIEVING RLS