What Is The Link Between Restless Leg Syndrome And Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

In some medical quarters there is a strong belief that there is a link between the sometimes baffling Restless Leg Syndrome and Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

So let’s see what this is based on, and what steps can be taken if you feel this is something that could be exasperating your problems.

b12About Vitamin B12

B12 is a water soluble B vitamin that also goes by the name cobalamin, and is involved in a number of bodily processes – but in particular is key in the nervous system and brain function.

It is probably the most complex vitamin in the human body. It is also the only one which contains a rare element (Cobalt).

There are also four known forms of this vitamin. Two are produced by bacteria and two are produced by humans.

Obtaining this vitamin via your diet

In terms of getting this vitamin from food, although plants contain it they are not a great source. This is because most of it is found in the roots or soil and is washed off before and during cooking.

On the other hand an excellent source is animal liver. You will also find it in shellfish, fish, dairy products and poultry.

A Vitamin B12 Deficiency

In extreme cases a Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause extensive damage to the brain and central nervous system. Even a mild deficiency of this vitamin can cause depression, tiredness, and poor memory.

B12 deficiency is in the main caused by ‘pernicious anemia’ – a severe form of anemia. Because anemia is also linked with an iron deficiency this is where the link between Restless Leg Syndrome and Vitamin B12 deficiency comes in.

How a deficiency of Vitamin B12 may cause Restless Leg Syndrome

If you suffer a B12 deficiency it can cause significant damage in the central nervous system which includes the brain. This makes it quite possible an RLS sufferer could have damage in the areas which regulate motor functions.

It is felt that damage to the neurons responsible for such things as coordination, control, and inhibition of excessive movement may cause symptoms which at least resemble Restless Leg Symptoms because this deficiency causes the prevention of iron absorption into your cells.

Anemia sufferers

Those people who are suffering from Anemia have low Iron and Vitamin B12. Because this vitamin is closely linked to iron levels in your body, a vitamin deficiency is often seen in tandem with an iron deficiency.

If you are suffering from Anemia it is suggested that to prevent further iron loss, and overcome the deficiencies which may be one of the causes of Restless Leg Syndrome that you supplement with B12.


There is still a lot of research to be carried out to prove any direct link between Vitamin B12 and RLS, and at the moment a B12 deficiency is only seen as a secondary cause of this condition.

But if you feel the link between your Restless Leg Syndrome and Vitamin B12 deficiency is something worth pursuing then do take this up with your specialist or doctor for further advice.