Young & Restless (Leg Syndrome)

CASE STUDY:

I saw a commercial recently for a medical condition called RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome).

Seriously? This is a medical condition now requiring a prescription drug?  Are you freakin kidding me?
We’ve all had restless leg syndrome.  I’m laying in bed and can’t get my legs comfortable; and they’re a little bit twitchy.  It’s what happens when I have too much sugar or caffeine or both. It’s also been linked to anemia.  I’m not an expert on RLS, but what I do know is that the majority of diseases we suffer from today are diet related.

On a whim I decided to check out RLS.com and here’s what it says, along with my snarky commentary.

IN ADDITION to medications, there are other things you and your doctor can consider when trying to help you deal with RLS. These options may include:

1. Checking to see if there is an underlying iron or vitamin deficiency and then possibly supplementing your diet with iron, vitamin B12 or folate. (Hmm ok, I might try that BEFORE taking your drug.  But wait a minute doesn’t B-12 give your more energy?)

2.Looking at medications you may be taking which make RLS worse. These may include drugs used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions, nausea, colds, allergies and depression.  (Drugs for the side effects of drugs for the side effects of drugs, they’ve really got you now.)

3.  Looking at any herbal and over-the-counter medicines you may be taking to see if they could be worsening your RLS.  (Oop, I detect a little subtle anti-herb propaganda in this one)

4. Identifying habits and activities that worsen RLS symptoms.  (And those are… Oh wait, if you told me what they were, I wouldn’t need your drug.)

5. Looking at your diet to assure it is healthy and balanced.  (Ah yes, the ambiguous “healthy and balanced diet”.  That clears it up.)

6.  Discussing whether or not antihistamines could be contributing to your RLS.  (That sounds like a fascinating discussion topic.  I’m filing that one away for my next cocktail party.)

7. Eliminating your alcohol intake.  (Good advice generally speaking, but after careful observation of the effects of alcohol on my own legs, I wouldn’t describe that condition as “restless”, more like drunken leg syndrome.)

8. Looking at various activities that may help you personally deal with RLS. These could include walking, stretching, taking a hot or cold bath, massaging, acupressure, or relaxation techniques.  (Finally one I like. But it’s not addressing the cause, only the symptoms)

9. Attempting to keep your mind engaged with activities like discussions, needlework or video games when you have to stay seated. (Video games are the solution to your problem!)

10.  Implementing a program of good sleep habits.  Possibly eliminating caffeine from your diet to aid in general sleep hygiene.  (Aha!  There it is!  Notice how it’s last one on the list and they downplay it with “possibly” eliminating caffeine.  Also who or what is “General Sleep Hygiene”?)

I can almost see the drug company marketing goons writing that piece now:

Goon #1: “Phil unfortunately our clinical research has shown that dietary changes and reduction in caffeine are the most effective solutions, so we should probably include that in the list right?.”

Goon #2: “That’s fine Ted.  Just put the caffeine one at the bottom, and put that B-12 one at the top.  And don’t make it too helpful.  Remember we’re trying to sell pills here.  Who am I kidding, nobody read these things anyway!  HAHAHAH!”

Ok that was fun, but seriously.  Before you send me hate mail, know this: I’m not anti-prescription drugs; I acknowledge that there are some very effective prescription drugs out there, but I am biased against them because I’ve seen how the industry operates. Prescription drug dependance is an epidemic in America today.

The problem with prescription drugs is that offer a “quick fix” to your problem with no self-discipline required other than a daily pill swallow.  But they are only treating the symptom, not the problem itself.  When my back hurts I don’t take a pain pill to hide the problem, I go see a chiropractor to fix the problem.  What’s worse is that most prescription drugs have long-term side effects, which can require you to start taking additional drugs; compounding your health problems.

If you have a condition like RLS, my best (friendly) advice is to clean up your diet and start exercising, before you commit yourself to a lifetime of prescription drugs and their side effects.  Sugar and caffeine are obvious ones to cut out, but you could also have a mild dietary allergy to wheat, dairy, or one of the many artificial ingredients in our food today.   You can do it hardcore and make a drastic change, or do it systematically.

The Hardcore Approach:  Eliminate all processed food from your diet: fast food, junk food, sugar, grains, meat, and dairy; and eat only organic raw fruits and vegetables for one week and see how you feel.  The is the best approach by far. Do what I did and keep it simple: Juice, eat Giant Salads, and make your own Super Healthy Smoothies.

The Systematic Approach: Ween yourself off of food groups in phases and see how you feel: First eliminate caffeine for a week, then refined sugar, then grains, then dairy, then meat.  The systematic approach may allow you to pinpoint the exact cause of your condition if it’s dietary, but it takes a lot of self-discipline.

Be honest with yourself and what you’re capable of.  I’ve found it’s sometimes easier to make drastic changes rather than gradual ones, especially if you tell everyone what you’re doing so they can support you.

But if you don’t want to make any changes to your diet and lifestyle, I guess you can just keeping doing what you’re doing, and take a little pill every day called Requip for your restless legs; which by the way, according to the manufacturer, can cause Parkinson’s Disease.  That’s the one where your whole body twitches uncontrollably.  Think Michael J. Fox.

(((c)))

More about the raw vegan detox diet here.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Young & Restless (Leg Syndrome)”
  1. shanna says:

    LOVE THIS!! It drives me nuts to see these so called diseases promoted on TV with a lovely prescription cure. People actually go into the doctor, self diagnosed, and just ask for the pills, AND THE DOCTORS GIVE IT TO THEM!! Sigh…

    There are definately benefits to Western medicine, however, we’ve gone to far, and as the previous comments have shown, simply finding out the inbalance in your system will usually right whatever symptom pops up.

    FYI: Raw Cacao has the highest concentration of Iron and Magnesium of any food on the planet, followed by Spirulina. Superfoods are delicious and fantastic ads to those cancer curing smoothies :)

  2. Rich says:

    I have struggled off and on with RLS for the past 5 years. Usually happens only when I am really tired, which is actually a great alarm for “GO TO BED!!”. As soon as I am asleep, no more worries.

    I talked to my brother (a surgeon) about going to the Dr. and getting a ‘scrip filled. He said “Baloney! You aren’t eating enough greens. Eat more greens and call me in a month.”

    What do you know, I had not been eating much in the way of salads, etc. I changed my diet and sure enough it went away. If I start slacking on the greens, it comes back but only when I’m really tired and should already be in bed. haha.

    Thanks Chris for posting this!

  3. Kim Robinson says:

    I have suffered with RLS for many years. Sometimes it is worse than other times. I was free from it for a couple of yrs and it is starting to come back..What i found out about it was totally by accident . Even the hemotologist had not heard of this. I deal with severe anemia. I cannot take iron pills. They set me up for an iron IV. Right before goung to the appointment i read an artical about restless leg. The lady had to have an iron IV for anemia and realized that afetrwards her RLS went away. I asked the doctor about it and he had never heard about this. I was leary and didnt want to believe that it might take away my RLS too. That night i slept great. It really worked. Recently the RLS has been rearing its ugly head. I had blood work done and i am low but not as sevier as before. I hope this helps someone because it sure helped me.

    • Hi Kim thanks for the comment! This is a great example of an RLS treatment other than prescription drugs.
      FYI: Some of the best dietary sources of iron are organic Beef and Chicken Livers, if you can stomach them.
      The best vegetarian sources are Chick Peas, Spinach, Lentils, Kidney Beans, Figs, Apricots, Pumpkin Seeds, and Molasses.

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