CHEST Annual Meeting

CHEST Annual Meeting

November 16, 2017
1 min read

Vitamin D fails to treat restless legs syndrome

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Siraj Wali
Siraj Omar Wali

Vitamin D provided no clinical improvement in patients with restless legs syndrome, according to findings presented at CHEST 2017.

“The role of vitamin D in the body functions is well-known, including bone health, modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function,” Siraj Omar Wali, MBBS, FRCPC, FCCP, FACP, of the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Saudi Arabia, told Healio Family Medicine. “In addition, it has been found that vitamin D administration affects the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway, which seems to play an important role in the pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome... However, its role in restless legs syndrome has not been effectively investigated.”

For their randomized clinical trial, Wali and colleagues assigned 35 patients diagnosed with restless legs syndrome, as defined by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group rating scale, to receive 50,000 IU of vitamin D orally (n = 17) or placebo (n = 18) each week for 12 weeks. Researchers obtained participants’ bone profile, serum vitamin D levels and a clinical assessment of the patients’ symptoms severity using the same restless legs syndrome rating scale at baseline and every 4 weeks for 12 weeks.

Researchers found that vitamin D levels “improved remarkably” (P = .001) in those taking supplements but did not change among those receiving placebo. However, there was no significant difference in restless legs syndrome severity scores between the groups (mean difference = 6.23; 95% CI, –2.45 to 14.9).

Wali said he was surprised by the impact vitamin D had on restless legs syndrome in his trial.

“Our findings might be different than earlier studies because the brain level of vitamin D is more valuable than the serum one in the pathophysiology of the disease. Accordingly, the increment of vitamin D in our study may not be efficient enough to adjust the brain level or improve the central effects of vitamin D, which would then fix the dopaminergic system dysfunction,” he said.

“Our findings suggest that vitamin D plays no role in the treatment of restless legs syndrome but it may contribute to its pathophysiology,” Wali added. – by Janel Miller

Reference: Wali SO, et al. Control ID: 2729173. Presented at: CHEST Annual Meeting. Oct. 28–Nov. 1, 2017; Toronto.

Disclosures: Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine the authors’ relevant disclosures prior to publication.