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The Association Between Vitamin D Level and Restless Legs Syndrome: A Population-Based Case-Control Study

13 Apr 2018

Study Objectives:

The pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome (RLS) may be related to abnormalities in central dopamine pathways. Vitamin D may play a role in the pathophysiology of RLS by modulating the dopaminergic system. The aim of our study is to examine the possible link between RLS and vitamin D deficiency.


The total number of subjects enrolled was 201, including 78 patients with RLS based on the International RLS Study Group (IRLSSG) diagnostic criteria and 123 controls. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels were measured in both groups. RLS severity was assessed in all cases using the IRLSSG symptom severity rating scale.


Fifty-nine patients with RLS (75.6%) and 52 controls (42.3%) had a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, P < .001. The odds ratio (OR) of the development of RLS was 4.24 for those with a vitamin D level < 50 nmol/L compared to those with a vitamin D level ≥ 50 nmol/L (P < .001, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.3–7.9). After adjusting for all other significant factors in the multivariate logistic model, vitamin D was significantly associated with RLS (OR 3.1, P < .002, 95% CI 1.51–6.38). Moreover, a dark or black skin color (OR 3.4, P < .001, 95% CI 1.5–6.3) and working as a teacher (OR 8.8, P < .001, 95% CI 3.4–23.5) were also independently significantly associated with RLS.


Our study identified an association between vitamin D deficiency and RLS. Consequently, vitamin D deficiency should be considered in the management of RLS. However, further studies are needed to evaluate the causality relationship between vitamin D level and RLS.


Wali S, Alsafadi S, Abaalkhail B, Ramadan I, Abulhamail B, Kousa M, Alshamrani R, Faruqui H, Faruqui A, Alama M, Hamed M. The association between vitamin D level and restless legs syndrome: a population-based case-control study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(4):557–564.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

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