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Andrea Bayles Nutritional Therapist
ND, Dip Nutr, Dip Herb, MBANT, MURHP, MCNHC

Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia is a complex syndrome with no known cause or cure. Its predominant symptom is pain in the fibrous tissues, muscles, tendons and ligaments although other symptoms can be experienced.

Some of the symptoms sufferers complain of are fatigue, insomnia, IBS or other digestive disorders, mental "foggyness", depression and other non-specific symptoms such as urinary tract infections and IBS.

The traditional approach to treatment includes the use of painkillers and anti-depressant medications as these target the neurotransmitters involved in pain. Anti- depressant medications work on reducing depression, anxiety and sleep disorders commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients. Anti-inflammatory drugs help manage muscle aches and pains and in some cases anti-seizure medication is used to manage pain.

Natural approaches to support fibromyalgia include nutrition and herbs. Nutritional supplements may benefit some people. The following supplements are known to help:-

SAMe - S-adenosylmethionine - a naturally occurring body chemical used to maintain the immune system, the formation of chemicals such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine and other neurotransmitters and the formation of cell membranes. It helps to support cartilage and our molecules in DNA. Studies have shown that SAMe has reduced depression in fibromyalgia as well as the number of tender points.

5HTP many fibromyalgia sufferers often have low levels of serotonin in their blood. Supplementation with 5HTP may increase serotonin synthesis and double blind trials have reported that 5HTP supplementation relieves some symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Magnesium - Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Eating a wide variety of legumes, nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables will provide some of your dietary intake but taking magnesium supplementation will support muscle and nerve function and there are targeted supplements available that contain malic acid which in combination with magnesium will offer some relaxing properties.

A diet that is low in salt may help with Fibromyalgia symptoms and in a controlled clinical trial [1] women with Fibromyalgia were put on a special diet consisting only of raw foods primarily fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and cereals such as oats. The diet also contained fermented foods such as sauerkraut, Rejuvelac and several types of fermented yogurt foods. During the 3 month trial, women following the therapeutic diet experienced a significant reduction in body weight, pain, sickness, use of painkillers, depression and the number of sore fibromyalgia points, compared to those who continued to eat their regular diet.

Elimination of MSG from the diet has shown marked improvement in symptoms.

Other methods of support can come from Acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and massage.

 

[1] Healthnotes- The Natural Pharmacy. P191, Fibromyalgia

 

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