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Can Iron Deficiency Lead To Restless Legs?

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Q. For a long time I had trouble keeping my legs still, especially while I was trying to sleep at night.  I did not seek treatment from my doctor because I did not want to take medication.

Then I read an article that said one of the health conditions causing this was an iron deficiency. My cousin told me she was taking iron twice a day and it helped ease her restless legs.

My husband was taking iron pills for a deficiency, so I borrowed a few and tried them. I could tell a difference within two days. I am grateful for such an easy remedy.


A. Iron deficiency has been linked to restless leg syndrome (RLS). Correcting this mineral deficiency may help ease the symptoms (Geriatrics, Oct. 2007).
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9 Comments

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I'd never heard of iron deficiency causing RLS. I have had RLS off and on for quite a few years, but never wanted to take medication for it, either.

What has helped me is calcium and magnesium supplements, but I can try the iron, too!

When I have restless legs, I immediately get up and take a calcium pill. It helps within a very short time. Think back to the old days when warm milk was given for sleeplessness.

It would be good to check the body storage of iron, ferritin, as you might not be anemic but still low in iron. I remember having restless legs while pregnant. I just don't build up iron storage. Before taking iron, the full iron panel should be run.

My wife had a bad case of restless legs. I found on the net that folic acid cured that. She tried it and it did. None of the local doctors knew about this remedy; we told one who had RLS; he tried it, and said it worked. Regards, J Mason

I had four surgeries in one year and was given hydrocodone for the pain after each surgery. I developed RLS, but didn't know what it was back then. Found out it was withdrawals from the pain med in between my surgeries when I would run out of pain meds.

Always trying to get help with my RLS, I came across your comment. I was part of a study at Johns Hopkins where I was given a placebo or an iron injection. Because I was almost immediately better and it lasted for over a year, I know I had the injection. They're still looking for volunteers before they "unblind" the study (a yr. and a half ago!), so I'm left with no info to tell my Dr. Basically, I'm back to where I started. They were trying to decide if injections worked where pills didn't because of the absorption factor. Anybody out there know anything else about the use of iron to help RLS?

I have had RLS my whole life. When I would lay down to sleep I would have to keep moving my legs. It wouldn't hurt but It doesn't feel good either . I discovered the solution when I started growing hot peppers in my garden. I noticed my RLS got worse when I started eating peppers which lead me to realize it could be that I am getting dehydrated. Even though I wasn't thirsty I increased my water intake and after 59 years of suffering with RLS it ended completely. DRINK ENOUGH WATER!

Drink a lot of water water water !!!is the answer. I had it for 59 years. Not anymore. Just because you're not thirsty doesn't mean you're not down on water.

I, too, had this experience. I an iron deficiency recently and as soon as I began the iron two things changed for me: my legs calmed down, (including a cessation of leg cramps) and I slept much better overall, having had terrible problems sleeping up until then. The iron helped all of that!

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