Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Here you can share your experiences with substances that are ingested, inhaled, or otherwise consumed for the purpose of relieving RLS/WED, other than prescription medications. For example, herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, diet, kratom, and marijuana (for now) should be discussed here. Tell others of successes, failures, side effects, and any known research on these substances. [Posts on these subjects created prior to 2009 are in the Physical Treatments forum.]

Important: Posts and information in this section are based on personal experiences and recommendations; they should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a healthcare provider.
pamhb
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Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:13 pm

Like many of us, I have been struggling to identify and understand my food triggers. Triggers that I am fairly certain of are: 2% milk, ice cream, honey, chocolate. Triggers that are on my strong possibility list are: cheese, certain fresh fruits (not yet identified), black licorice, MSG, processed sugar. I have a friend who is a toxicologist, and I ran this list by her. What immediately struck her is that many of these triggers and potential triggers are also associated with migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are currently believed to be a vascular event -- the blood vessels in the head are abruptly constricting and/or expanding, leading to uneven blood flow that triggers other events. My friend suggested that perhaps my triggers related to foods that constrict the blood flow to various parts of my body, resulting in less oxygen being delivered to peripheral muscle tissue. This aligns with new theories of the role of hypoxia in RLS: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/825959.

I have for quite some time believed that my RLS is strongly connected to hypoxia. I use leg pumps, with good success, to increase the circulation in my lower legs. I find that the RLS in the rest of my body tends to originate in areas of "trigger point" knots in my muscles -- current theories relating to trigger points postulate that hypoxia is occurring in these extremely tight areas of the muscles.

In reviewing the list of trigger foods for migraine sufferers, it's necessary to separate out those which cause blood vessels to constrict from those which cause blood vessels to expand. Both are problems for migraine suffers; presumably RLS sufferers may actually benefit from foods that cause blood vessels to expand. For example, foods high in nitrates, such as sausages and hot dogs, can trigger a migraine headache because they cause blood vessels to expand. I ate a meal high in nitrates last night, and had a relatively quiet RLS night.

What is also striking is the supplements that are recommended for migraine suffers: magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamin D. Sound familiar?

It is a tantalizing theory.....

badnights
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby badnights » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:53 am

I'm intrigued! I like the hypoxia theory. I've been drawn to it ever since I first read of it. What a fascinating bit about the migraine foods causing blood vessel contriction.
\
I honestly don't know how you (and others) can find those triggers. My symptoms are so up and down, I would never know if a certain food was causing them unless I repeated the experiment a number of times.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
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Polar Bear
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby Polar Bear » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:30 pm

I also have never been able to associate a food with rls symptoms.
Betty
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Rustsmith
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby Rustsmith » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:41 pm

It is interesting that you tie the food triggers to migraines since migraines often are a co-morbid condition with RLS. I have both but was treated for the migraines long before my RLS diagnosis. During the early days of migraine treatment I was able to identify three different migraine triggers. Unfortunately, none of them had anything to do with food. I was on a low carb, high good fat diet for the migraines for several years, I cannot say that it did much for either my RLS or my migraines.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

debbluebird
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby debbluebird » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:48 pm

For me a lot of those foods are triggers too. I do very little dairy. Can't seem to give up cheese, though.
No sugar, no additives, no artificial anything, sweeteners, etc. No white flour, gluten. We do lots of coconut products, oil, flour.
I honestly believe that all of this helps.
I'm also on oxygen at night.
At the mildest level, I can feel the muscles in my thigh moving. Feels like bubbles in a way. Can't think of any other way to describe the feeling. Eventally it turns into a spasm followed by my leg jerking, as it ramps up every few seconds.
I like your theory.

pamhb
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:15 pm

Rustsmith wrote:It is interesting that you tie the food triggers to migraines since migraines often are a co-morbid condition with RLS. I have both but was treated for the migraines long before my RLS diagnosis. During the early days of migraine treatment I was able to identify three different migraine triggers. Unfortunately, none of them had anything to do with food. I was on a low carb, high good fat diet for the migraines for several years, I cannot say that it did much for either my RLS or my migraines.


If the vascular theory holds true, then a low carb, high good fat diet isn't necessarily going to improve either migraines or RLS -- it's not so much whether the food is high or low in carbs, but whether it has a vasoconstriction and/or vasodilation effect. Yesterday I tried restricting my salt intake more than I normally do -- and again, I had a good night. I've decided I'm intrigued enough by this approach that I'm going to tackle it with some degree of seriousness. There are two prongs to it -- what can I do physically to improve blood flow and oxygen to my extremities, and what can I do from a dietary perspective. I figure that if nothing else, I'll be "heart healthy" :D

pamhb
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:32 pm

badnights wrote:.
\
I honestly don't know how you (and others) can find those triggers. My symptoms are so up and down, I would never know if a certain food was causing them unless I repeated the experiment a number of times.


It's tough identifying triggers. The conventional way is to either keep a food diary, or to try an elimination diet. I take the lazy woman's approach: if I have a good night, I record the foods I ate the day before as probably safe foods. If I have a bad night, then I check to see what I've eaten that isn't on my "safe" list. If it's not on my safe list, then it goes onto my "potential trigger list". If I have the same bad experience with a potential trigger food at least 3 times, then it goes onto my "trigger list".

I also eat quite simply, so there's not many ingredients for me to worry about recording. However, now that I've turned my attention to migraine triggers, I realize that I have paid no attention to hidden ingredients which for a variety of reasons might cause problems (such as MSG). Eating out will be more challenging. Sigh.

Rustsmith
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby Rustsmith » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:15 pm

Yesterday I tried restricting my salt intake more than I normally do -- and again, I had a good night.


I tend to naturally have low sodium, guess it goes along with my low blood pressure. The low sodium has gotten me into trouble a couple of times as a runner. Before the doctors understood about how marathon runners could become hyponatremic (low sodium levels) during races by drinking too much water, I would finish having headaches and nausea. Both of these are symptoms to both hyponatremia and dehydration. So I volunteered to run a marathon as a research test subject. I finished the race and had both, which got me tossed from the study because they were hoping to study the effect of over-hydration during the race resulting in low sodium. I have since found a report that combined the results of that study along with a number of others. Out of over 2200 study participants, only 4 of us were both low sodium and dehydrated. As a result, they speculated that I might be a carrier of cystic fibrosis, which doesn't matter since we never had any children to pass it along to.

Because of those experiences, I have had a number of doctors tell me that I am one of the very few that they tell to dump salt on my food and/or to take salt pills. As a result of all the anti-salt food zealots, it has become difficult to find salt pills these days.

As for the impact on RLS, I will never know because there is no way that I am willing to try a low salt diet. High blood pressure due to too much salt isn't healthy, but severe hyponatremia is very unpleasant and can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

pamhb
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Location: Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:35 pm

Yes, we are all different, which is one of the frustrations of this disease. I have high blood pressure, so reducing salt intake is something which is good for me in any event -- but I can guarantee I'm not likely to be a zealot about it! (I like salt too much for that to happen...). I just intend to reach for the salt shaker much less often ;)

I'm interested in vascular health in general now -- and high nitrate/nitrate vegetables seem to be an important factor in having healthy blood vessels that efficiently and effectively distribute oxygen.

Most importantly, I think whatever any of us considers trying, we should do it in consultation with our doctor. I saw mine today, and asked her to connect me to someone in the health community that can advise me on optimizing my vascular health through dietary factors. Similarly, I intend to work with my physiotherapist in find ways to optimize oxygen delivery through physical interventions. Lab rat, hear me roar!

debbluebird
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby debbluebird » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:08 am

Interesting. I am on a low salt diet due to kidney failure. I also take a diuretic only because I started retaining fluid, especially on my legs. Go figure. I also have controlled high blood pressure. I drink 9 - 12 cups of water a day. All under doctors orders. I don't really this has made any difference with my RLS, but who knows. I have been doing this for a year. The swelling started about January.
The doctor told me that it's not so much the salt shaker, it's the salt in packaged foods and restaurant food, so of which we have eliminated. There is salt in all fresh food.

pamhb
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:48 am

A bit more reading on the subject and I discovered that salt isn't a vascular constrictor -- while it raises blood pressure, it does so by increasing the amount of stored water in the body, which puts a strain on the arteries by increasing the the volume of blood being circulated. So my good night after a day of reduced salt was likely just a coincidence. Good to know.

pamhb
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:27 am

Here's a journal article on a study which concluded that RLS patients have poorer vascular endothelial function than normal healthy subjects
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26671114. Endothelial function is improved by increasing the available amount of nitric oxide in our systems. Here's an article on how to improve our levels of nitric oxide: https://www.drwhitaker.com/boost-nitric ... ove-health.

This is the opposite of looking for trigger foods - we can also eat more foods to improve our levels of nitric oxide. (Unless you also have migraines...)

ViewsAskew
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby ViewsAskew » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:19 pm

A look at the research related to NO, the body, and its effects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22260513
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

badnights
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby badnights » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:42 am

Pam's links suggest a connection between low nitric oxide and WED/RLS. Someone on here a few years ago gave a recipe that had helped him immensely with his symptoms, and it consisted of L-arginine and beta-alanine. Ann's link says that L-arginine is the main precursor of nitric oxide in one of the pathways used to construct nitric oxdie in the body. So maybe the recipe worked for that fellow because his body didn't have enough L-arginine to build the nitric oxide he needed. For other people, there might be other parts of the pathway that are broken. Just thinking "out loud".
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6532&p=61601#p61601
Discussion Board Moderator's posts don't reflect the RLS Foundation's opinion & are not medical advice

ViewsAskew
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Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby ViewsAskew » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:08 pm

I remembered the L-arginine when I read that, too. I bought it, lol, and recently tossed what was left of it as it did not help me.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.


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