Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 1667–1673 | Cite as

Celiac Disease Is Associated with Restless Legs Syndrome

  • Leonard B. WeinstockEmail author
  • Arthur S. Walters
  • Gerard E. Mullin
  • Stephen P. Duntley
Original Article



Celiac disease may be associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS) because of an association with iron deficiency. Often, RLS negatively affects quality of life but may remain undiagnosed. This study evaluated the association between celiac disease and RLS.


The incidence of RLS among 85 patients with celiac disease was 35%, with a prevalence of 25% compared with 10% of spouses (P < 0.02). In 79% of patients with RLS and celiac disease, neuromuscular symptoms began during or after onset of gastrointestinal symptoms. Iron deficiency was present in 40% of celiac patients with active RLS compared with 6% of patients without RLS (P < 0.001). After 6 months of a gluten-free diet, RLS symptoms improved in 50% of 28 patients.


Screening for celiac disease in patients with RLS is important since this commonly overlooked silent disease may be a correctable factor for some patients with idiopathic RLS.


Celiac disease Restless legs syndrome Anemia Iron deficiency 



The authors would like to thank Barry H. Cohen, PhD (Director, MA Program in Psychology; New York University; 6 Washington Place, New York, New York 10003), for assisting with statistical analysis. Editorial assistance was provided under the direction of the authors by MedThink Communications with support from Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Presented at the American College of Gastroenterology annual scientific meeting, 3–8 October 2008.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard B. Weinstock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arthur S. Walters
    • 2
  • Gerard E. Mullin
    • 3
  • Stephen P. Duntley
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Division of GastroenterologyJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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