Evidence suggests that vitamins C, D, and E may be beneficial for people experiencing restless legs syndrome (RLS).

People with RLS experience unpleasant sensations in the legs with the irresistible urge to move them.

This article explores how different vitamins may benefit people with RLS. It also covers recommended dietary allowances (RDAs), side effects, other treatment options, and frequently asked questions.

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According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 7–10% of the population in the United States may have RLS. It also states that about 80% of people with the condition also experience periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes involuntary leg movements, such as twitching and jerking, during sleep.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) notes that about 1 in 5 pregnant people have symptoms of RLS during the last trimester. At present, scientists do not understand the exact cause of this.

A 2016 study evaluating the efficacy of medical therapies for RLS suggests that vitamins C and E, taken alone or as a combination therapy, are likely effective in the treatment of RLS associated with end stage renal disease.

A study from 2015 also suggests that vitamin D supplements may improve symptoms of RLS. The authors note that vitamin D deficiency appears to link with RLS.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a significant role in the growth and repair of body cells.


In a 2018 study, researchers administered vitamin C via an IV directly into the bloodstream of people recieving dialysis. Results suggest it may have effectively decreased dialysis complications such as itching and RLS, as well as improving sleep quality.


According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the RDA of vitamin C for adults is 75–90 milligrams (mg) daily, depending on age and sex.

The NIH also provide the following guidance regarding the possible side effects and contraindications of vitamin C. Contraindications refer to situations in which doctors should not use a certain treatment because it may be harmful to the person.

Side effects

Taking high doses of vitamin C may lead to:


It is best for people with certain medical conditions to speak with a doctor before taking vitamin C for RLS.

Vitamin C can interact or interfere with other medications, including statin, a cholesterol-lowering medication. It may also interact with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Learn more about the importance of vitamin C here.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble. It regulates calcium and phosphate absorption. Phosphate is a particle that contains the mineral phosphorus and works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth.

NIH guidance notes the following the benefits, RDA, potential side effects, and contraindications of vitamin D.


Vitamin D may help with:

A 2021 study suggest that vitamin D levels are generally lower in people with RLS. Researchers associated these lower levels with more severe RLS symptoms and depression, as well as lower sleep quality.


The RDAof vitamin D for adults aged 19–70 is 15 micrograms (mcg). The upper limit for intake is 100 mcg.

Side effects

Taking high doses of vitamin D can cause:


Vitamin D can interact with some medications, such as:

Learn more about vitamin D here.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant present in many foods. The body obtains vitamin E from dietary sources since it cannot produce it.

The NIH reports the following benefits, RDA, side effects, and contraindications of vitamin E.


Vitamin E helps with:

  • protecting and slowing cell damage
  • boosting the immune system
  • preventing blood clots
  • dilating blood vessels


The RDA of vitamin E is 15 mg daily for people aged 14 years and older. For breastfeeding people, the RDA increases to 19 mg.

Side effects

Taking more vitamin E supplements than a doctor recommends can have some adverse effects, including an increased risk of bleeding and prostate cancer.


It is best for people taking the following medications to speak with a doctor before considering taking vitamin E for RLS:

Learn more about vitamin E here.

Certain medications and lifestyle modifications may improve symptoms of RLS. These include:


A doctor or medical professional may prescribe:

Lifestyle modifications

The following home remedies and lifestyle modifications may ease the severity of RLS symptoms:

Below are answers to some common questions about RLS.

What deficiency causes RLS?

The NHS notes that iron deficiency may cause RLS. Research from 2022 suggests that vitamin D deficiency may cause the condition.

However, in many cases, the exact cause remains unknown.

Are there any vitamins that may worsen symptoms?

There is no evidence that any vitamin worsens RLS symptoms.

Are there any foods to eat or avoid if a person has RLS?

According to a 2018 study, people with obesity may have a high risk of developing RLS. To reduce the chances of RLS, a person can avoid foods with added sugars, such as:

  • cookies
  • ice cream
  • sweetened beverages

What age group does RLS affect?

According to a 2022 study, while the onset for people with a familial type of RLS usually begins before age 45, people may experience symptoms at any age.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a chronic movement disorder that leads to an irresistible urge to move the leg.

While there is insufficient evidence to definitively determine which vitamin supplements may help with symptoms of RLS, some research suggests vitamins C, D, and E may be beneficial.

It is best for a person to speak with a doctor or healthcare professional before taking vitamins for RLS, also disclosing any medications they currently take to avoid possible adverse effects.