Restless legs and Diet

Posted , 5 users are following.

I hear quite a few people connect RLS and what they eat,

I had some improvement by eliminating gluten and then a lot more by going to a FODMAP diet which is used for irritable bowel syndrome.

I still have a problem but it's much milder so I don't sleep perfectly at night but I can do things other than walk around in circles.

In this forum I have seen people getting benefit from giving up normal sugar (sucrose) and someone else giving up carrots someone else onions.

I would like to see other people trying a FODMAP diet to try to confirm if that is really significant or if I've just been lucky.

It would be really interesting to see others have found types of food that antagonise their RLS and perhaps we can build up some group knowledge to help us all.

If you are interested in trying a FODMAP diet try googling ""Monash university FODMAP""   Monash is in Melbourne, Australia

Remember to read the ingredients because some FODMAP unfriendly products are used as cheap fillers or they are just popular because of their flavour.  For example apples and pears are unfriendly but they are used in Australia as fillers in most jams and many fruit drinks.   Onions and Gralic are almost essential ingredients of relish and chutney but if you need to avoid FODMAP s you have to aviod them.

I will be very interested in seeing other peoples experiences.

1 like, 13 replies

Report / Delete

13 Replies

  • Posted

    Web address  (URL) for the FODMAP information

    Note that the Monash website says this diet is for irritabl;e bowel syndrome.   It is just an idea that there is something in common between irritable bowel syndrome and RLS.   I dont have any knowledge of the cause of RLS so I dont understand any theory connecting IBS and RLS

    However I have been on this FODMAP diet for a few months and it has changed my life.   There is a lady in this forum who went on the diet and had immediate relief from the RLS symptoms.  She started about a month ago and the first five nights she slept well.   I haven't heard anything since so I hope its because everything is going well for her.  

    If you decide to try the diet please let all of us know how it works, good or bad.

    Please note that I have found that even a small amount of the wrong food can cause a couple of night's RLS problems.   On Sunday I had gravy on my steak and Monday night I was walking around for a few hours   BUT the pain was nothing like it used to be.   It was more like an annoying itch which was enough to keep me awake or wake me up if I dozed off.   

    So good FODMAP luck


    Emis Moderator comment: Due to Monash charging for the FODMAP I have replaced the link to another source.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I have seen a post on a forum for people with Celiac disease.   This is an allergy to gluten.   Celiacs are put on a very strict gluten free diet.

    An interesting post on this forum calimed that RLS was common for celiacs but when he went on a Gluten Free diet his RLS went away.

    There were quite a few others saying similar things.  Gluten free diet = No RLS.

    One said his RLS be3came very bad as soon as he started the diet but went away after a week or so.

    Some said their relef was not complete and they still had some symptoms.   This agrees with my experience.  A gluten free diet was an improvement but the ""next step"" was the FODMAP diet and that offered further relief.

    This proves nothing but it reiforces the idea that diet can contribute and that gluten or perhaps FODMAPS can be a cause of RLS.

    It would be interesting to get the stats for how many celiacs had RLS before treatment and how many had found an improvement when they went on the gluten free diet?

    Its not proof but perhaps it's an extra reason to give the FODMAP diet a chance.  It costs almost nothing and youi''l probably know if it works in 6 weeks.



    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Have been trying the FODMAP formula for one week now. (Not diet,btw--I don't like the idea of it seeming yet another crank diet!) . This is to try and help with IBS. Tricky at first but you soon get savvy when shopping/prepping meals.

    Had no RLS during this first week! Wouldn't have made the association but for your post. Thanks. Shall keep trying.

    Superb book by the inventor of the system, Sue Shepherd, explains all the science, and gives recipes. 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Great news.      Its an excellent "formula"

      Thanks for letting me know that it worked for you as well.   I worry about going on and on about a diet too but I feel obliged to let others know that something helped me and it might help them.

      I hope the RLS stays away.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi my Restless Legs has also improved on this diet. I haven't had it for over a month so I am now sure it is related to diet which is good news. Graham , have you managed to add anything back into your diet?

    Thanks Sue

    New Zealand

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Sue

      Glad to hear things are looking good.

      I have had little success with reintroducing the FODMAP foods into my diet.   I find the rules very hard to obey.     I love my bread and I found a supplier who actually labels the bread "Fodmap Friendly"   but when I have bought it I lose my wont power and have half a loaf in a day.   The I either have an RLS episode or i jest get indegestion.   The good news is that my RLS episodes are much milder and in the worst case I can walk it off in an hour.  Frequently I can walk for 10 minutes and its gone.

      I think the thing to remember is that we might still be intolerant of say lactose but there is an amount that our bodies can handle.   So I can have one cup of coffee (decaf) in the morning with no ill effect but if I have two for a day I am likely to get a reaction.   Similarly with milk chocolate which I tried as a reward for my hard work.   I found that I could eat a few squares and it even seemed to be beneficial before I went to bed.   I think I went to sleep quicker.   But then I really cheated and in a random way I tested my limits.   I now stick to about 2 rows of blocks (maybe about 20 grams?) and it does no harm and I enjoy it.   So I guess I have found a tolerance levelk to lactose but it is very low.  That's OK with me if its all the milk  I can eat for the rest of my life

      Other things just dont seem to work.   I think I'm a bit too scared to lose a few nights sleep as part of the testing.    I had a small bit of avocado the other day and there was no problem so thats moved a trivial boundary.   Without discipline it will take me forever to test a wide variety of foods.   I think this is where a dietician should be able to help.

      The dietician I saw a while back suggested I try foods with only one FODMAP sugar in them so I could quickly work out if any of them were fully acceptable at all levels.   It sounded like a good idea but I have only fiddled around the edges.   I need someone to hold my hand to make me work at it.     Partly because the safe foods are not too restrictive and I am getting by without feeling like I am deprived.   When I feel a bit hard done by I remember what RLS used to be like and tell myself to stop whingeing and get on with enjoying other things.   Sleep is wonderful!

      Finding a dietician is difficult but just the other day I decided to ask the Monash irritable bowel syndrome people for their recomendation.  It very likely they have connections with specialist dieticians for their patients.   ( If other readers are wondering about IBS experts I explain that the diet was developed for them and by coincidence seems to help RLS in some people)

      I am fairly sure that the London Bridge Hospital runs some sort of diet clinic based on FODMAP.

      As for drinking more water and excercise.   I wouldn't argue that anything wont work for some people.   I have found that sitting all day doesn't help but simply increasing excercise didn't help either , but that's just for me.   I now walk at least 1 kilometre per day which is not very far.

      Water?    I think its important and my dietician said not to count tea and coffee but drink 2 litres of clean cool pure water per day.    I think it might have helped a little but it certainly helps with another aspect of the FODMAP diet and that is constipation.   Apparently some people have a big problem but I only have occassional troubles.   I can't get 2 litres of water down every day, I feel like I'll choke and I dont seem to need it.

      Good luck   I hope to hear about your expanded diet soon

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Failed dismally with my re-introduction, since I 'disobeyed' the instructions given, and confirmed by dietitian,in The Sue Shepherd Book. I decided I mUST have my bread back, and as a consequence have suffered a miserable few days. So...starting again by re-introducing in the order i was given, uantities i was given, three-day time spans i was given. Lesson learned, but it rather does look as though either gluten or fructans(?) are a problem.

    As regards RLS---seems to have vanished from my life! Am I challenging the gods? Good peaceful   nights and no belly-ache; is craving the odd bread roll worth it--God, Yes! (to coin a phrase).

    Anyone else noticed such changes since FODMAP?

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      That is good news. Would you mind telling me what you are adding to your diet? My dietitian doesnt want to get involved as she thinks RL is caused by not enough walking or water consumed. I have been following the Monash book which doesn't suggest what to challenge the diet with
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Chris

      No I have been using the Monash University book which has very little about reintroducing foods.  I have the Sue Shepard book but I have to admit that I haven't read much of it yet.

      Thank you to the moderator for the extra information there.   I'll try to get a dietician to order a copy for me.

      It sounds like someone has invented a systematic approach to this process which I appreciate.

      In my early reading I missed the two important p[oints

      1 The Fodmap diet is only an interim measure and the important part of the process is how much you can re-introduce.

      2 The FODMAP sugars apparently have a threshold.  This means that a "normal" poerson might be able to drink as much milk as they can get a FODMAP club member can drink some amount say 200ml with no effect but if they go over that threshold say 250ml then they get the dreaded RLS   So the reintroduction process is about finding that threshold for a whole lot of foods and giving yourself a nicely balanced diet.    Does this sound likie a correct interpretation?   It sounds like hard work to me but that's no excuse for not doing it.


      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    "  It sounded like a good idea but I have only fiddled around the edges.   I need someone to hold my hand to make me work at it.  " I quote. How right. A dietitian is quite an expensive expenditure, tho mine keeps appts to a minimum, & encourages enquiries via email/phone-- a safety valve.

    To repeat: FODMAP is designed to ease the symptoms of IBS. HOWEVER-- in my case, the dreaded RLS has also  vanished while on the diet. Not just's not happened at all. Long may that last, but I've carried on with the Ropinerole which had seemed to be augmenting. Belt and braces, eh?

    Re-introduction with Fodmap is very complex and needs real determination as well as support. I'm currently back to square one with the programme, so rather than wishing me luck, wish me moral fibre! So far , in addition to the considerable number of  'allowed' foods, broccoli is OK.

    Hope you all get the sleep you need.

    Good luck. 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I wish you all the moral fibre you need.   I know you can make it!

      How about trying to knock off the Ropinerole a bit to see what you can do without.   

      I have a pessimistic view and wont be surprised if the RLS comes back as I get older.   Perhaps the diet will augment or something.   So if there are any drugs left I might really need them one day.

      I will now try harder Thankyou for your encouragement


      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi, getting off topic a bit, you may be interested in this article :

    I also think that Chris should consider stopping the Ropinerole for a while.

    I will get Sue's book. I need some new recipe ideas as I have had the same dinner and lunch for six weeks.  I think Nightshades may affect my RLS so don't eat those either.  The hardest thing with this diet is finding something at a cafe to eat. Bacon ,eggs and gluten free toast is about it.  The diet is very anti-social especially if you don't drink coffee, tea or alcahol.

    Emis Moderator comment: I have removed specific product/company names as we do not allow posting of these in the forums. If users wish to exchange these details please use the Private Message service.

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up