Severe restless legs stopped for over... - Restless Legs Syn...

Restless Legs Syndrome
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Severe restless legs stopped for over a week on adoption of low fibre poor diet


What the..? My husband has severe chronic RLS. Not much he has not tried and is on Sifrol etc now. That was not too successful either. Relentless augmentation with any combo of drugs.

Recently, he began testing for lactose and fructose intolerance. The preparatory diet before the testing day consists of things like only white bread, no garlic, onion etc, some meats and eggs, butter; few vegetables peeled - like potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes. On this prep diet, we are totally shocked that his restless legs issue has stopped dead.

Many of these type of foods would be triggers for him or make it worse. He had put off having these tests because so dreaded the expected worsening of RL on the preparation elimination diet. His normal diet is high quality with no rubbish. Its been a week and we are still gobsmacked at the quiet legs. He is experimenting with adding one food at a time to try and work out what might be happening. We assume this is about what is NOT there rather than what is in the test diet.

Anybody got any similar experience? Or possible explanation? This is crazy.

11 Replies

I have seen reports of people who have success with a low oxalic acid diet. This eliminates whole groups of fruit and veg. Perhaps these were triggers for your husband. If you put oxalic acid in the search bar the thread might come up. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if he could overcome it with diet?

Exactly what I was going to say. A lot of people have had success with eliminating oxalics.

Thank you- will look further at that angle.

Thank you- will look further at that angle.

in reply to RSL-RIP

Wondered if you would let me know exactly what the diet consists of besides the white bread and eggs. I realize we are all different but I don’t see any harm in trying the diet, presuming it is still working for him.

Thanks very much

in reply to DisneS

Sorry DisneS- think I did not reply? The tests were for lactose and fructose intolerance.The allowed foods were as follows:

"Low fibre foods-white bread, white rice


Rice bubbles, pancakes

Chicken, seafood, lean beef, ham. eggs

Milk, cheese, butter

Peeled vegetables e.g., carrot, cucumber, zucchini, potato, pumpkin, tomato, lettuce

Fresh fruit e.g. melon, peeled apple

The foods to avoid were:

High fibre foods- wholegrain cereals and wholegrain breads, bran, oats

Soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice, cordial


Legumes- beans, peas, lentils, nuts, corn

Yoghurt and Yakult, soy products

Onions, garlic, cabbage, celery, broccoli

Fibre supplements and laxatives

Dried fruit, bananas, berries, pears, avocado, pineapple, citrus.

Pasta to be avoided the day before the test"

This is just a three day preparatory diet to a test. As you can see, you could hardly consider living on it! We just could not get over the quiet legs from day 1 of this.

Since then, he is trying Fodmaps approach but keeping in the white bread and potatoes etc (things he would never normally have). He is largely avoiding the highest oxalate foods but will progressively explore these approaches.

He has had mild restless legs a few evenings since for a short period and it just resolved quickly each time. He has slept well for 15 of 17 nights: this has not happened in years and years. He is keeping the Sifrol the same for the time being. If the current pattern is sustained, then he will try reducing the meds. Aiming to just change one thing at a time to try and pinpoint triggering issues.

I wish you well in the marathon experiment of managing restless legs somehow.

in reply to RSL-RIP

That diet cut out sports drinks and honey. I would suggest that they are the biggest reason that the rls stopped. I have cut out sugar, all cakes and biscuits. Limited jams and chutneys to very small amounts, and I have been free of rls for most of this year. The only time I have had mild symptoms has been wen I've eaten a lot of high carb food, which as any diabetic will tell you, will cause a spike in blood sugar. The other foods, like bread and pasta will also contribute to this, so cutting dpwn on them is a help.

I am also sensitive to potassium sorbate food preservative, so also avoid that (margarine, comercial dips and sauces etc.)

One explanation is that the FODMAPS diet which is low in fibre and certain sugars reduces small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Chris Kresser has an interesting explanation:

"Some of the more recent research on restless legs syndrome has focused on a connection with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and IBS, which is often caused by SIBO. One study found that 69% of RLS patients also had SIBO, compared with only 28% of controls. (7) They also found that 28% of RLS patients had IBS, compared to only 4% of controls. And according to the 2012 review I mentioned in the previous section, 32% of the 38 conditions associated with RLS are also associated with SIBO. (8)

A strong association between SIBO and RLS doesn’t mean that SIBO is causing RLS in these patients. But a few trials have found that in patients with both SIBO and RLS, their RLS symptoms improve after being treated for SIBO. (9) For example, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported that treatment with the antibiotic rifaximin—the standard treatment for SIBO—significantly improved RLS symptoms in patients with both conditions. (10) This, of course, does suggest a causal link between SIBO and RLS."

Great news We need to remember that its nothing to do with a good or bad diet just whatever your body can tolerate. An apple a day might keep the doctor away but it might drive your RLS crazy (if you are unlucky)

in reply to Graham3196


Lurker here as I watch for tips for my long suffering mother who is in her 70's and on all sorts (pramipexol, clonazapam, etc). I know this is in the family as her grandmother had RL and it's probably coming my way as I get it intermittently.

However just to add to the discussion, I sometimes do the 5:2 diet which is 500 calories for 2 days per week. On the days that I am on 500 calories, without fail I can guarantee that I will get restless legs. It never fails to descend on a night time (to mitigate, I save 100 calories for the night and have a banana to line my stomach followed by 2 solpadeine which is the only thing that works!)

Just some food for thought ( no pun intended) on the link with diet

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