One of the surprising side effects to do with MSG is Restless Legs Syndrome. I know several people with RLS and it seems to be a prevalent symptom with ads on tv now and everything.
The first thing you have to realize is that it’s just a symptom of a problem. The problem is probably different for different people. From the little reading I’ve done, it seems that these are the main culprits:
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2) Refined foods
3) Food allergies
Here are a few things to consider:
1) It is extremely important to have a proper balance of Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. Even when you eat really healthy, most of our food sources nowadays are deplete of the vitamins and minerals that used to be in them. I have found that if I don’t take a Calcium/Magnesium supplement and a Potassium supplement, then it feels like my bones ache and I start get charlie horses and other similar problems. I recommend a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement – plus it will help with lots of other health issues.
Also remember that sodas, especially diet sodas, will strip potassium from your body so stay away from them if you have RLS.
2) Here’s an excerpt from something I read online awhile ago written by a natural doctor:
“Restless leg syndrome can, and often does, come from the consumption of artificial sweeteners and neurotoxic stimulants such as MSG. From the research I’ve done, artificial sweeteners, MSG, some modified proteins and a number of food additives cause elevated metabolism of nerve tissue. This often leads to spontaneous discharge of motor neurons in sites where the irritating molecules have accumulated.
This spontaneous discharge activity is suspected to eventually burn out the effected nerve cells and is suspected to be related to some of the strange and unexplainable chronic neurological disorders that are new, yet only as new as adulterated foods! I know of a few such cases that were alleviated by quitting soda pop consumption–diet drinks are the real killers here.
It is also worth noting that many of these people suffer from headaches because of the cephalic phase response created by the same toxic substances that cause spontaneous discharge.
I have seen a number of restless arms and legs clear up by following some basic principles. The first step is to remember that the best solution for pollution is dilution…drink plenty of clean water. The next step is to do a good colon cleanse program inclusive of metabolic typing and organic whole-food eating. Obviously, all processed foods must go.
A little warning…those that have this syndrome usually go through quite a detox reaction as they clean up. I’ve had clients flat on their back two weeks into the program because they simply decided to reward them self with a Haagen Dazs bar… It’s something about Haagen Dazs bars, but they really seem to get people who are trying to clean up and want to cheat a little!
I am sure there are literally uncountable reasons for restless leg syndrome, however, just another potential starting point for you– I have frequently seen these symptoms in clients with significant mineral deficiencies, such as calcium and magnesium and also in patients with chemical toxicity/heavy metal poisoning. And, of course, those two issues can overlap and be related.”
3) Other people have found that they have food allergies and by eliminating the foods they are allergic to, they can have relief. To find if you have food allergies that could be linked to your RLS, notice the nights when your RLS is worse and start noticing if you can see a pattern linked to what you ate, whether it be dairy, MSG, gluten, etc.
Then once you you find something you suspect, go for three days to two weeks without eating it at all – in any form. Then you can try to eat it again and if you feel fine, then great. Otherwise, you may be allergic to it.
Another thing I learned with my dairy allergy is that I thought I couldn’t live without milk… like the thought of not having dairy for three days was really scary. I found that within a couple of hours that I started to feel a lot better though. I just never stopped eating dairy long enough to notice because I thought it made me feel good. They say any foods that you are addicted to are good culprits for an allergy.
The last tip I read about RLS is to exercise right before bed because it will help calm your legs down so you don’t have to get up and exercise in the middle of the night.
These are a few thoughts. I’m not an RLS expert by any means, but I thought some of the things I read were interesting. I hope some of this helps!
(Some blog images from Flickr.com)