Does Magnesium Help Restless Leg Syndrome?

Author: Staff Writers

Magnesium CAN help restless leg syndrome. 

A study published in Sleep, the Official Publication of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC, suggests that magnesium therapy can be an effective treatment for restless leg syndrome (RLS).

More Info: This study was a limited pilot study evaluating sleep patterns of a few patients suffering from RLS; however, seven of the 10 patients evaluated showed marked improvement in sleep patterns with fewer wakings during the 6-week study. The promising results of the trial indicate that more extensive research should be done to study the pathophysiology of RLS and the use of magnesium therapy as a treatment for its symptoms.

What Is Restless Legs Syndrome? 

Restless legs syndrome is a lifelong condition for which there is no definitive cure. RLS affects as many as 12 million Americans. There is evidence that family history plays a role in RLS in about 50% of the cases.

RLS may be under-diagnosed because patients do not seek treatment or misdiagnosed by physicians as nervousness, insomnia, or stress.

RLS Treatment 

Though there is no one definitive treatment for the symptoms of RLS, there are many effective options to explore. For mild cases of RLS, lifestyle changes are often suggested. Eliminating caffeine, stopping smoking, and increasing intake of iron, folate, and magnesium may be suggested. For more severe cases, prescription medication may be offered. A trial of several therapy options may be required before finding what will work best for the patient.

In the United States, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is responsible for research in RLS. More information can be found on their website:


Works Cited

National Center for Biotechnology Information
"Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements"

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Expert Opinion 

Quote:  "Some small studies indicate that the mineral magnesium, taken as magnesium citrate or magnesium lactate, may provide some benefit to people with leg cramps, including pregnant women."

Source:   Restless Leg Syndrome and Related Disorders University of Maryland Medical Center

Quote:  "Preliminary studies suggest that supplemental magnesium may be helpful for RLS, even when magnesium levels are normal.  An open study of 10 people with insomnia related to RLS or periodic leg movements in sleep found that their sleep improved significantly when they took magnesium nightly for 4 to 6 weeks.  However, open studies are extremely unreliable because they do not factor out the placebo effect . Also, no double-blind studies on magnesium for RLS have been reported."

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"Does Magnesium Help Restless Leg Syndrome?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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