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Learn How Magnesium Affects Restless Leg Syndrome

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Magnesium is an important essential mineral in the body behind sodium, potassium, and calcium. However, beyond its importance in maintaining general health, it can provide specific benefits to help relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. This article explains how important magnesium is to your health, how it works for restless leg syndrome, and how best to use it for this medical condition.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the essential minerals needed by the body. The human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, most of which are found in the bones (about 60%) and the muscles (about 20%).

This mineral is important to many processes involved in cellular metabolism. For example, over 300 enzymes require magnesium as a cofactor for various biochemical reactions in the body.

Besides activating enzymes, it also contributes to energy production, maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, regulating calcium levels, and also keeping heart rhythm steady.

Like other minerals, magnesium cannot be produced in the body. This means that diet is the main source of the magnesium found in the body. It is, therefore, necessary to include magnesium-rich foods in one’s diet to meet the body requirement.

Some medical conditions can, however, disrupt the balance of magnesium in the body. Such conditions include gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels), and kidney disease.

Also, excessive consumption of coffee, diuretics, alcohol, as well as excessive sweat and prolonged stress can reduce magnesium levels in the body.

Due to the variety of roles that magnesium plays in the body, magnesium deficiency can affect a lot of normal body functions. In severe cases, low levels of calcium (hypocalcemia) and potassium (hypokalemia) in the blood may result from magnesium deficiency.

Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency include irritability, nausea and vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle spasm and weakness, hyperventilation, insomnia, poor nail growth, seizures, and restless leg syndrome.

Side Effects of High Doses and Contraindication

Magnesium salts are also used as laxatives and therefore often cause the softening of stool.

Other side effects associated with the use of magnesium supplements include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and slower heart rate. Furthermore, high doses of magnesium can cause serious symptoms such as loss of appetite, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

Since magnesium is excreted from the body through the kidneys, patients with kidney and even renal problems should not take magnesium supplements.

Additionally, old people are more at risk of magnesium toxicity because kidney functions reduce with age and it is likely people in this age group are already placed on drugs such as laxatives and antacids which are known to reduce the absorption of magnesium from the gastrointestinal tract.

Magnesium and Restless Leg Syndrome

The most relevant property of magnesium in the treatment of restless leg syndrome is its ability to relax the muscles.

More specifically, magnesium interacts with calcium to help regulate the nerves and muscles.

Magnesium serves as a ‘chemical gate blocker’ in nerve cells. It relaxes the nerves by preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cells to activate them. However, when magnesium levels in the body are low, the nerve cells become overactive, therefore, sending too many messages to the muscles. This causes the muscles to constantly contract.

This explains how magnesium deficiency can cause muscle tension, muscle soreness, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and muscle fatigue which characterize restless leg syndrome.

A lot of restless leg syndrome sufferers are magnesium deficient and this underlying factor can simply be addressed with the use of magnesium supplements and, also, by adopting magnesium-rich foods into the diet.

Studies on Restless Legs Syndrome and Magnesium

An open pilot study published in the journal, Sleep, investigated the effectiveness of magnesium therapy for restless leg syndrome. This is the landmark study and the most quoted study regarding the link between magnesium and restless leg syndrome.

In this study, 6 patients suffering from mild-to-moderate restless leg syndrome were given oral magnesium, at a dose of 12.4 mmol every evening for 4-6 weeks.

The results of the study showed that the symptoms of restless leg syndrome in all the patients were significantly improved by magnesium supplementation.

Another study published in the journal, Clinical Sleep Medicine, examined the effectiveness of intravenous magnesium sulfate in a 34-year-old pregnant woman. The patient, who had a 13-year history of restless leg syndrome, was in pre-term labor at 26 weeks. Magnesium sulfate (2 g) was administered to the patient intravenously for two days.

The results of this investigational study showed that the patient completely recovered after treatment. The symptoms were reported to have improved even from the first day of treatment.

Recommended Usage of Magnesium Supplements

The National Academy of Sciences set a tolerable upper limit of 350mg magnesium supplement per day for anyone aged 9 and above. This limit only applies to magnesium obtained from dietary supplements.

Most magnesium supplements are available in the form of oral magnesium salts (containing magnesium and another substance). They, however, vary in the rate at which they are absorbed into the body.

Therefore, the magnesium supplement to choose should be a magnesium salt with high bioavailability.

Magnesium oxide, for example, has a poor absorption rate (about 4%), while, magnesium glycinate and chelated magnesium have absorption rates of about 40%.

Magnesium levels in the body can also be boosted with foods rich in the mineral such as green, leafy vegetables, whole grain cereals, legumes, beans, and nuts.

For optimal results when treating restless leg syndrome with natural supplements, it is better to take a supplement that contains magnesium and other natural supplements that can provide a synergistic effect that greatly relieves the symptoms of the syndrome.

Sedorum is an excellent example of such combination supplements for restless leg syndrome.

Sedorum contains magnesium, iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamin B12, all proven to be effective in providing relief for restless leg syndrome. With Sedorum containing this unique blend of minerals and vitamins, it provides an effective and broad therapeutic cover for most restless leg syndrome regardless of the causative factors.

Sources


http://www.patient.co.uk/health/restless-legs-syndrome

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-998-MAGNESIUM.aspx?activeIngredientId=998&activeIngredientName=MAGNESIUM

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm

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