Young man lying in bed after taking vitamins to help restless leg syndrome

What vitamins help restless leg syndrome?

Medically reviewed on September 27, 2022 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, you know how uncomfortable the relentless urge to move your legs can be. One moment, you’re lying peacefully in bed. The next moment, your legs seem ready to run a marathon beneath your sheets.

Fortunately, scientists have learned that some vitamins may help treat this condition. These vitamins include vitamin D, C, B12, and E. [1]

Whether you’re suffering from minor restless leg syndrome symptoms or more severe aches and pains, read on to learn how these vitamins may help treat this condition.

Vitamin D

In many ways, vitamin D functions as support for your body’s structure, helping strengthen your bones through calcium absorption. In addition to helping absorb calcium, vitamin D: [2]

  • Protects your body from osteoporosis
  • Enables nerve movement and communication
  • Strengthens your immune system

Some research suggests that vitamin D may also help with restless leg syndrome. [3] That’s because vitamin D appears to play a role in dopamine signaling.

An important neurotransmitter, dopamine is typically associated with feelings of happiness. Dopamine also plays an essential role in neuromodulation. Neuromodulation consists of motor activities and cognitive function. [3]

When the body’s neurotransmitters are properly functioning, dopamine acts as a “light switch,” turning the legs “off.” However, when dopamine pathway issues arise, the legs may not receive this “off” command. As a result, the body can develop restless leg syndrome. [4]

Recent research suggests that vitamin D may help regulate dopamine neurotransmitters. If true, vitamin D may help improve dopamine transmissions, assisting in the treatment of restless leg syndrome. [5] While it may be true that sunshine and citrus can raise an individual's vitamin D level, oftentimes those are not accessible to everyone. An individual may also be experiencing a vitamin D deficiency and require an extra boost. In such cases, a vitamin D supplement can help bridge the nutritional gap and increase the low levels.

Vitamin C

Also known as L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an essential vitamin. Because your body can’t synthesize vitamin C on its own, you rely on dietary sources to consume enough of this nutrient. Vitamin C plays an essential role in: [6]

  • Collagen production
  • Protein metabolism
  • Immune functioning
  • Antioxidant regeneration

Like vitamin D, vitamin C may also help with restless leg syndrome. [1] The link between vitamin C and restless leg syndrome is less clear than is the case with vitamin D. One theory is that vitamin C’s role in collagen production may be the answer.

Collagen is a protein found all over the body—most notably in the skin and other connective tissues. As such, this protein helps strengthen and regenerate connective tissues. Without adequate collagen, the body can suffer from: [6]

  • Weak connective tissues
  • Joint pain
  • Purpura (purple-colored patches on the skin)
  • Rough skin
  • Wound healing issues

As many of these issues are skin-related, itching, twitching, and other uncomfortable sensations may also arise, which are also symptoms associated with restless leg syndrome.

By helping your body produce collagen, vitamin C may help alleviate these symptoms.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that can help calm restless legs. For an individual looking to increase this vitamin's levels naturally, it is worth discovering what foods have vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is generally found in foods such as beef, eggs, and spinach, and is crucial to several bodily processes. Vitamin B12 aids in: [7]

  • Central nervous system functioning
  • Red blood cell formation
  • Energy levels
  • Stress support

Of all these vital jobs, red blood cell formation may be the most important when thinking about restless leg syndrome. That’s because red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Without proper red blood cell formation, your body (and especially your legs) may not receive the stress support it needs to calm down. [7]

Over time, the lack of oxygen-carrying red blood cells can lead to an iron deficiency called anemia. While more research needs to be done, studies suggest that iron deficiencies may contribute to restless leg syndrome. [8]

Vitamin B12 can help restore iron levels, potentially assisting in the treatment of the condition. [9] If your healthcare provider determines that you have low vitamin B12 levels, you may need to take supplements to increase your B12 levels.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E mostly assists in your body’s production and regulation of antioxidants. Additionally, vitamin E plays a role in immune health.

Although exceedingly rare, vitamin E deficiencies can occur. Symptoms include: [10]

  • Skeletal myopathy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Ataxia

These symptoms can affect restless leg syndrome because they relate to the nerve and muscle systems, potentially leading to restless leg syndrome sensations.

A combination of vitamin C and E has been shown to help improve these restless leg symptoms—at least in the short term. [1]

What causes restless leg syndrome?

Understanding the condition’s causes may help answer the question, “what vitamins help restless leg syndrome?” That’s because some causes may be related to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.

In short, scientists still don’t know the exact cause of restless leg syndrome. However, studies suggest the following disorders and deficiencies may be linked to the syndrome’s origin: [11]

  • Calcium/phosphate imbalances
  • Anemia
  • Vitamin D deficiencies
  • Iron deficiencies
  • Gene polymorphisms
  • Dopamine pathway issues

Other than gene polymorphisms, these deficiencies can be treated with appropriate vitamins and nutrients. Thus, if restless leg syndrome does partially stem from vitamin deficiencies, vitamins and nutrients may help the condition.

Help ease your restless leg syndrome with Everlywell

Restless leg syndrome can affect many people, contributing to sleeplessness, aches and pains, and general feelings of discomfort. But by giving your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive, you may be able to alleviate your symptoms.

When it comes to supplements, Everlywell may be able to help.

Our vitamins may provide the support you need to calm your restless legs and increase your energy levels and immune health so that you can live your best life. These vitamins include our vitamin D3 gummies and vitamin B12 supplements.

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