Restless leg syndrome is an annoying condition in which the legs can’t seem to stay still. This is especially a problem with sleep, as it keeps the sufferer from sleeping and disrupting the restorative deep phases of non-REM and REM sleep.
Chronic sleep deprivation invites an additional set of health complications such as depression, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and increased risk for heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Restless leg syndrome is not just an annoyance, but a real health threat if experienced over a prolonged period.
Conventional treatment for restless leg syndrome is generally unsatisfactory and includes anti-seizures medication and sedatives. But recent evidence suggests that two-thirds of people with restless leg syndrome really have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO. You can appreciate that a seizure medication or sedative does nothing to address the potential cause. And uncorrected SIBO has its own set of consequences such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances, neurological diseases, diverticular disease, and colon cancer, to name just a few.
If you have restless leg syndrome, it is therefore productive to explore the question of SIBO. See my many Wheat Belly Blog posts about this condition. We begin by looking for telltale signs of SIBO, confirming with H2-breath testing or, even better, your own AIRE device. If confirmed, we eradicate the unhealthy bacteria with one of two known-to-be-effective herbal antibiotic regimens: FC Cidal with Dysbiocide for isolated SIBO or Candibactin AR and Candibactin BR if concurrent fungal overgrowth is suspected. (Alternatively, take FC Cidal + Dysbiocide with at least two or three anti-fungal agents; our preferred choices now are curcumin combined with oil of oregano, clove oil, or cinnamon oil.) We then introduce several strategies to prevent recurrence that includes a high-potency, multi-species probiotic; Saccharomyces boulardii; resumption of prebiotic fibers; and Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt for its upper GI-colonizing and bacteriocin-producing effects.
If you would like to manage SIBO on your own, that is one of the things we help you accomplish in our Undoctored Inner Circle. As you can begin to appreciate, eradication of SIBO is more complex than many of the other things we do, so support and feedback can be crucial to your success. But eradicating SIBO can, like eliminating wheat, be a life-changing process.