Restless Leg Syndrome Presentation w/ Karen Williford

6-7pm, Monday January 14th in the FEELING room.

Restless Legs Syndrome, Inflammation and Histamine: Addressing Digestive Imbalances and Using Diet to Lower the Inflammation Underlying RLS

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a sensory-motor and sleep disorder occurring in up to 29% of the population. Individuals with RLS suffer from an irresistible urge to move in response to an uncomfortable and/or painful sensation in the legs, arms or torso during inactivity and rest, especially at night, resulting in a disturbed sleep-wake cycle. Quality of life and mental health are greatly diminished for some RLS sufferers, with an increase in depression and anxiety correlating with increases in symptom severity.

We will explore the relationships between RLS, histamine intolerance, diet, digestion, gut dysbiosis, and autoimmune. We’ll cover the negative impact of antacids and the importance of eliminating the top inflammatory foods in order to heal. I will offer an outline of a healing protocol that addresses inflammation and ‘leaky gut. I chose the topic of RLS for my final research paper for my Nutrition Therapy Masters program after watching a close friend suffer from severe RLS and psoriatic arthritis. I knew that I needed to learn as much as possible about this mysterious disease and offer support where I could.

Facilitator: Karen Williford CNTP, MT ASCP

My relationship with the field of nutrition started early in life. My mother made a very personal decision to become a dietician (RDN) after the loss of a child from spina bifida, which is primarily caused by insufficient folate availability during pregnancy. Growing up, our family had a large garden and access to many local farm stands, so my mother put the kids to work every summer peeling, frenching, blanching, canning and freezing, especially broccoli and cauliflower, two excellent sources of folate. But, even with this wonderful base of eating fresh, local whole food in season, once I went to college, I no longer had the support of being at home and many patterns I was unaware of had been set. Starting freshman year and over my lifespan, I experienced ovarian cysts, migraines, overweight, anxiety, depression, seizures, infertility and early menopause due to a combination of lifestyle and diet choices as well as other stressors that wreaked havoc on my hormonal balance (and gene expression). At the age of 48, my life changed with the end of my marriage, the start of a holistic nutrition program and a yoga teacher-training program, as well as a move from the northeast to Charleston, SC, where a dad could thrive and we could co-parent our daughter. I changed how I ate, how I slept, how I moved and especially, how I thought.

As a Nutrition Therapist, Karen supports each individual’s unique hormonal balance through all life stages using a whole foods diet, nutrigenomics, targeted laboratory testing, stress reduction and other supportive lifestyle habits. She layers a mind-body-spirit awareness gained from 20 years of practicing yoga with a connectedness to the soil and the food it produces, all supported by a technical background in the clinical labs. Whatever we consume, whether it is food, breath or thoughts, it must be nutritionally sound if we are to thrive. Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner (CNTP, MNT candidate), NANP member, BS Biology, BS Medical Technology (MT ASCP), Trained in The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD, ‘Retired’ Penn State Master Gardener