Restless leg syndrome

Big Pharma has a pill for every “disease” under the sun…

They even invent diseases just so they can provide a cure.

This is exactly what happened with “restless leg syndrome.” That’s when you have an itchy, creepy-crawly feeling in your legs and an urge to move them, especially at night.

About 10 years ago, I noticed a sudden increase in the number of patients insisting they had this condition. They told me they had learned about it on TV. Turns out Big Pharma had just started running ads for their new “restless leg syndrome” drug.

My patients with tingling legs wanted to know if their conditions were serious or if they needed a prescription…

If you’re a regular reader, you know I don’t solve problems with pills. I’d rather get to the bottom of what’s actually causing your symptoms.

So when someone comes to me complaining of tingling legs, one of the first things I do is a simple blood test to measure their iron levels.

You see, that tingling sensation is often a symptom of an iron deficiency or anemia.

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the U.S.Nearly 25% of the population is iron deficient.2

That creepy-crawly feeling in your legs isn’t the only symptom. Others include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Brittle nails
  • Fast heartbeat
  • A craving for ice
  • Cold hands and feet

An iron deficiency occurs more often in women who are still menstruating. But I’ve found that even my postmenopausal patients can experience levels that are too low.

Research confirms this…

A large study found that almost 44% of postmenopausal women are at increased risk for iron deficiency anemia.3 And it’s because of our modern diet.

Our ancestors got the nutrients they needed from food. But their food was nothing like what we have today. Since the rise of Big Agra, our soil has lost nutrients at a staggering rate.

And mineral-depleted soil leads to mineral-depleted food.

Today, you have to eat 10 servings of vegetables or more to equal the nutrition of one serving from 50 years ago. Even the FDA admits nutrient levels have fallen almost 80% in the last 30 years.4

And iron levels have dropped dramatically.

Scientific American published the results of a study that compared vegetables from 1975 to 1997. It found that iron levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 37% in 20 years!5

Here’s a sad example…

In 1950, one apple provided 4.3 mg of iron. In 1998, you needed to eat 26 apples to get the same amount of iron. Today, you have to eat 36!

And it’s not just produce.

Another analysis from 1940 to 2002 found that iron levels in whole milk had dropped 62%.6

Iron levels in meat have fallen just as fast. Since 1940, iron in red meat is down 55%. In chicken, it’s 69% lower. And today’s turkey has almost 80% less iron.7

Give Your Iron Levels a Boost

But despite all this, I rarely recommend an iron supplement. Your body can’t excrete iron easily. That means it can build up over time and become toxic. Here’s what I suggest instead:

  1. Eat foods high in iron. Eating a Primal meal plan similar to what our ancestors ate will help boost your iron levels naturally. Good choices include pumpkin seeds, chicken liver, grass-fed beef (it has more iron than commercial grain-fed beef) and lamb, oysters, cashews, white beans and dark, leafy greens.
  2. Eat foods that help your body absorb iron more easily. Your best bet are foods high in vitamin C. Foods like citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and strawberries.

    Eating vitamin C-rich foods along with the iron-rich foods I mentioned above further increases absorption.

  3. Cook with iron cookware. Several studies have shown that iron can be released into foods that are cooked in iron cookware.8 One study found that there was an increase of 16% in the iron content of foods cooked in iron pots compared to those cooked in Teflon coated non-stick pots.9

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. CDC. Recommendations to prevent and control iron deficiency in the United States. April 3, 1998.
2. Beck KL, et al. “Dietary determinants of and possible solutions to iron deficiency for young women living in industrialized countries: A review. Nutrients. 2014;6(9):3747-3776.
3. Thomson CA, et al. “Nutrient intake and anemia risk in the women’s health initiative observational study.” J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111(4):532-541.
4. Worthington, V. “Nutritional quality of organic versus conventional fruits, vegetables, and grains.” J Alt Comp Med. 2002(7)2:161-173.
5. Scientific American. “Dirt poor: Have fruits and vegetables become less nutritious?”
6. Thomas D. “Meat and dairy: where have the minerals gone?” Food Magazine. Jan/Mar 2006.
7. Ibid..
8. Cheng YJ and Brittin HC. “Iron in food: Effect of continued use of iron cookware.” J Food Science. 2002;67(9):3301-3303.
9. Kulkarni SA. “Beneficial effect of iron pot cooking on iron status.” Indian J Pediatr. 2013;80(12):985-989.

Leave a Reply