I started taking iron, magnesium, B12, and one other pill that was suggested on here (can't remember the name right now), but my RLS during the day has improved so much and I am sleeping so much better in just three days. I really can't believe it. My RLS was getting worse during the day and early evening to the point I wanted to just hit my legs repeatedly. But after reading some of the posts on here about which minerals and supplements to take to help with RLS, I can say I finally have some relief while I work during the day. (My job requires a lot of sitting). So thanks to everyone who suggested taking the four pills I listed above - for now I feel like a new person and I'm sleeping like a baby!!

16 Replies

  • Great! Delighted for you.

    Long may it continue.


  • Yay yay. I take those as well to no avail.But how wonderful for you.

  • Hi No, it's really kind of a tricky thing. The iron, in the form of ferrous bisglycinate, should probably be taken on an empty stomach about one hour before bed. Other supplements should be taken during the day until we can all figure out whether, or not, they cause alerting or temporarily make RLS worse. For example Melatonin is a dopamine antagonist and will make RLS worse for several hours. In the long run it might actually up-regulate our receptors. Anyways, I think B6 has been making my RLS worse so I will take it during the day for now. Thus I suggest that all other supplements other than iron to be taken during the day.

  • Why does iron have to be taken at night on an empty stomach?

  • Well, it doesn't really have to if you are just trying to raise your bodily iron store. But with RLS it's our brains that need the iron not so much our bodies.

    As you know, in general, RLS symptoms appear in late evening. Researchers believe that this has to do with the drop in dopamine levels at night. But unbound iron in our bloodstream also drops at night. People with primary RLS have a problem storing iron in their brains and rely on that unbound iron in the bloodstream which is more plentiful by day. By taking a highly bioavailable form of iron at night, that is able to cross the blood brain barrier, we are sneaking our brains some iron when it needs it most.

    I use iron the way you would use a pain med - I only take it when I have RLS which is not every night. My iron stores are quite healthy, over 100, yet it still does not banish the RLS.

    Hard to believe that a few molecules of dopamine and/or iron makes the difference between having RLS symptoms and not having symptoms. Or a few molecules of an RLS unfriendly substance. If I take just 1mg of melatonin I will have full-on restless body. The same seems to be happening with vitamin B6.

    I picture all of us on the edge of a cliff in terms of our lousy dopamine receptors. By day, for the most part, those receptors push just enough dopamine down our spines and on to our arms and legs such that we don't get symptoms of RLS. But then a few hours pass and a few molecules of iron and/or dopamine go down and we develop symptoms of RLS.

    The more we can pull ourselves back away from that cliff via things such as diet or supplements the better. Fasting is suppose to up-regulate our dopamine receptors. There are several natural dopamine antagonists which if taken by day for a long enough period of time may actually up-regulate our receptors as well? You know, if dopamine agonists make our receptors worse then the antagonists might make them better? But if you take those antagonists at night it is unlikely you will be able to sleep as happened to me with the melatonin.

  • NoMo the other thing I have noticed is that the ferrous bisglycinate seems to work best for people on DAs or who are on nothing. Then it's like magic.

    When you get to people who are taking the Gaba/Lyrica or things like antidepressants it seems to work not at all. I understand why it wouldn't work for someone on clinical doses of antidepressants but not sure why it doesn't work with the Gabas? Also people with certain autoimmune diseases don't seem to be much helped by the iron. If the nerves/neurons in the central nervous system are shot then a lot of RLS remedies are unlikely to work. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, shoots (or for us it's more like a drip) out of the receptors in our brains and down our spinal cord to our arms and legs. I believe it literally bounces from neuron to neuron along the spinal column. So if those neurons are diseased or your spine in general is shot then it makes things that much worse. So for example, the vast majority of the world can injure their spine and never feel a twinge of RLS. I believe that's because dopamine does literally "shoot" down the spines of the non-RLS world whereas with us it's a drip (for lack of a better word). An ant could be an impediment to a drip.

    So long story short, one 25mg capsule of iron at night for people on antidepressants, or on Gabas, or with nerve problems seemingly does nothing. These people might need so much iron to help it becomes preclusive. These people need lots and lots of everything whether it be DAs or painkillers in order to overcome those roadblocks to the transmission of dopamine.

  • Very interesting. I do have an injured spine from a serious accident in my teens. Now almost 60 I have tried thru the years to stay in shape and exercise regularly to keep strong. I'm hoping to see a neurologist soon but they are scarce here and booked out 6 mos, soooooo.....

  • Hi NoMo, I agree with DicCarlson and Raffs and as I stated in another post to you, it is worth it to continue on with the iron for several weeks with your doctor's permission. It took Raffs, who has chronic fatigue syndrome, to realize benefit from the oral iron.

    I wish it had given you immediate relief and I'll venture a guess that because of your EBV (as I describe to you in the above post) and a little hormone called hepcidin you may not have absorbed much of that iron. Just a guess. As you've read, it seems to be working for Mark and Bkc (and that's just this week's people who have tried it) so there's clearly a link there despite the fact that you did not get immediate relief.

    Onward soldier!

  • Interesting about melatonin. Going to stop it.

  • When you stop it u might find that your RLS is even better than before u started to take it. Melatonin is a dopamine antagonist and theoretically should have been up-regulating your receptors during all of those agonizing nights that u were on it.

    R u going to give the ferrous bisglycinate a shot?

  • Thanks Tredlight - that was a lot of helpful and useful information. Very much appreciated.

  • You're very welcome. Just now read that B6 is great for depression because it raises serotonin levels. It could practically be a substitute for anti-depressants. And that's why I think I had such a miserable few nights with the iron barely working. Anything that raises serotonin (which then competes with dopamine) will aggravate RLS. The whole rest of the frickin world can take melatonin and B6 and never so much as feel a twinge of RLS.

    I, or we, need to figure out how much iron you need to take to counteract these RLS unfriendly substances. When I was taking 1mg of melatonin I was able to counteract it with 2mg of iron. When I went to 3mg of melatonin I had to take 50mg of iron. Last night I took 2mg of B6 and needed 50mg of iron. I've taken b12 and folate at night without a problem but that's no guarantee that it might not worsen RLS in someone else. I know there have been people on here who take melatonin at night and claim that it doesn't bother their RLS.

  • Holy crap! I just found this sight today and I'm so totally frustrated with my doctor. I'm on sertraline and pramapexole and if I read this post correctly, both contribute to RLS. I'm at the stage of having my arms now getting restless. My doc originally said I could increase my dose as needed to .75mg per day. As of the last few months I've had to stay with that dose and now, I can't get a refill! I'm nervous about going cold turkey but the doc claims I've misused my dosage...quack...and I fear I'm up a creek without a paddle. #1: new doc #2: I want off the meds! What do I do now? I feel I'm forced to go cold turkey and reading these posts are concerning. S.O.S. Please and thank you in advance.

  • Carry on. Yay

  • Brilliant, keep it up,


  • I started taking magnesium and B12 two weeks ago but to no affect as yet, sadly. I'll take them anyway since I've bought them, and I know they're good for me.

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