Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic condition often involving fatigue and hormone problems as well as pain.  It can manifest in different ways for different people, and can change from day to day.

fibromyalgia symptoms

Common Causes

Research over the last several decades has pointed to various causes at one time or another. Although the following are possible influences, a multifaceted approach to treatment seems to work best, so try not to get stuck on just one possibility of the cause.

1).  Gluten Intolerance and Leaky Gut. Modern foods and medication have a lot to answer for. Our intestines are damaged with genetically engineered and hybridized foods, our gut bacteria are imbalanced from antibiotics and medications, and food intolerances create chronic inflammation in the gut.
Candida and undigested food remnants damage the lining of the intestine, compromising the mucous barrier that separates the inside of our intestine from the rest of us.  Gluten is the worst offender, but most starches and dairy are equally hard to digest.

2).  An overburdened detoxification system.  The lymph vessels can become burdened with waste products from normal cellular activity as well as from toxins such as pesticides, MSG, synthetic fragrances and chemicals.

3).  Hormone Imbalances. Fibromyalgia is most common in menopausal and perimenopausal women.  Are hormonal issues a cause or an effect of Fibromyalgia?  Truthfully, probably both.

Or is it the adrenals? Adrenal fatigue and antibodies to gluten are often the cause of thyroid issues.  Overwork, lack of sleep, and living with so many modern fears and worry absolutely take their toll on the adrenals.
We ignore this heavy burden and assume “burnout” is normal or unavoidable, but it’s not! When adrenal function declines, menopausal women don’t make enough female hormones and often inadequate thyroid hormones too.  And not enough Cortisol is made to give us stamina and energy.

4).  GABA Neurotransmitter Deficiency.  GABA governs dozens of body functions and plays a dominant role in the perception of pain.  Many of our sensory inputs are affected by GABA and Serotonin. If we are low on GABA or Serotonin, we are unable to handle stress, anger, loud noises and pain. As Fibromyalgia sufferers know, sometimes anything and everything is just too much.

So what can you do about it?

DIET

To ease, or even cure fibromyalgia with diet, you need to strive to get the highest quality nutrition you possibly can. Learn which foods have the highest amounts of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. There are many newly defined phytonutrients, as well. These really are just more identified vitamins but they are called “phytos” instead. Studies have been done that prove that the mineral and vitamin content is usually much higher in organic foods, plus it usually will be free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and Gmo’s that are causing us problems, so remember that the source and type of food is very important.

A detox diet is recommended in order to remove toxins from the blood and organs of the body.  Reduce or eliminate the intake of dairy, meat, fast foods, processed foods, and refined sugars from the diet as much as possible. Avoid eating grains unless they are either soured (fermented), soaked, or sprouted. Also limit starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Better choices are sweet potatoes, including yams, zucchini and other squashes of various kinds.

Eating food that is good for you should be a joy. The smells, aromas, tastes, and even what the gourmets call “mouth feel”, should be an extremely pleasurable experience. A diet that cured fibromyalgia that didn’t do that really wouldn’t work. Eating this way will also lessen the chance of digestive trouble if you sit down and really relax and enjoy your meal. here is a list of some important foods to add to your diet for fibromyalgia relief:

Eggs: These must be organic and truly free range (not just what a package of eggs states)

MCF fatty acids: Coconut oil (contains caprylic and lauric acid which are powerful antifungals)

Lots of fresh greens and non-starchy vegetables: radishes, green peppers, cucumbers, green beans, celery, and cabbage, are just a few examples.

Fresh, raw organic carrot juice: is a natural healer, detoxifier and anti-fungal. This is great juiced with whole apples. Drinking fresh raw juice is like getting a blood transfusion.

Cultured Vegetables: like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, carrots/ginger

Salt: Understand the importance of adequate salt intake. Choose Sea salt or Himalayan rock salt for the natural minerals that they contain.

Homemade bean soups and stocks: These should be eaten daily.

Fruits: fresh and dried, such as apples, berries, pineapple, papaya, mango, cranberries, acai, noni, mangosteen, and goji berries.

Chlorella: has been proven to improve general symptoms and quality of life.

Seeds and nuts of all kinds: preferably soaked and dried. The one exception is peanuts.

Probiotics: like kombucha and water kefir are vital to establishing positive gut flora and regulating the PH in your digestive tract in order for optimal absorption of nutrients to take place.

Also, be sure to drink plenty of fresh water, or reverse-osmosis purified water if you can. Th clean up your Lymph!  Remember that undigested food remnants from complex carbs such as grains and beans put a huge burden on the lymph after they pass through that Leaky Gut.

Eat like this and you’ll be making sure you are getting plenty of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats and anti-oxidants with a few anti-inflammatories thrown in! This is the foundation for a real recovery program. A good diet will go a long way to cure fibromyalgia.

Note: If you aren’t eating this way, start slowly. Your digestive system never likes sudden, big changes. The first step to superior nutrition is to realize that food that is healthy is extremely delicious.

Supplements

Finding the right treatment for your symptoms can be a long and painful road. For many, prescription medications become the first line of defense against Fibromyalgia. These can include analgesics, anti-depressants and even anti-seizure medications. Unfortunately, many of these medications leave you subject to unpleasant and sometimes harmful side effects.

Another promising line of defense with far fewer adverse side effects is dietary and herbal supplements. Supplements can help address some of the underlying causes of your symptoms and provide more lasting relief from pain, fatigue and discomfort. They can also help correct nutritional deficiencies in your diet, often times resulting in a boost in energy levels and mood. Remember that supplementation doesn’t mean just popping some pills, but including extra foods in your diet that contain what you need. Let’s take a look at some of the most common and effective supplements used to treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

Iodine: Fibromyalgia sufferers often have an iodine deficiency.  Kelp is a great source of iodine, and goes great in smoothies too.

Vitamin D: Studies have shown that many Fibromyalgia patients suffer from low levels of vitamin D. Supporting research has shown that increasing vitamin D levels can help improve muscle soreness and tender joints. Vitamin D levels are also linked to our mood. Low levels of vitamin D can cause depression-like symptoms.

Holy Basil: Not the same as the common seasoning, Holy Basil is a natural counterpart to commonly prescribed drugs for arthritic pain and inflammation associated with fibromyalgia. It inhibits production of the COX-2 enzyme primarily responsible for inflamation pain. It does so with side effects, plus it’s great for depression and energy levels.

Omega 3 fatty acids: are particularly effective at repairing and protecting damaged nerves, which can trigger painful sensations throughout the body. This means they can help ease pain and inflammation. Foods like flax seed, fresh basil, oregano, radish seeds, and walnuts are good candidates. Fish oil is also an option for nonvegetarians.

SAMe: is a naturally occurring chemical with a lot of potential for Fibromyalgia sufferers. Numerous studies have shown it to be effective in relieving pain, stiffness and inflammation, as well as mood depression. Harvard Medical Center has also referred to it as one of the “best-studied” supplements for depression, noting that it is as effective as some antidepressants in treating major depression. Four double-blind trials studied this supplement, and three of those found it to be helpful for patients. In one, 44 people took 800 mg of SAMe or a placebo for six weeks. Those taking SAMe experienced improved rest, fatigue, morning stiffness, and mood.

Ribose: Ribose is a sugar that, unlike processed sugars or additives, can help provide a sustained boost in energy and mood. In addition to boosting energy levels it can help ease pain by loosening tight muscles. According to Webmd, Ribose is “used to improve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and coronary artery disease” as well as to “prevent symptoms such as cramping, pain, and stiffness after exercise.”

Magnesium: can be a powerful supplement in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are similar to those of Fibromyalgia. Among magnesium’s most promising benefits are its ability to reduce muscle spasms, ease muscle weakness and relieve back pain.

B- Complex Vitamins: are beneficial to Fibromyalgia sufferers in a number of ways. Besides helping to reduce inflammation that can cause pain, these vitamins help increase energy production, thereby reducing fatigue and lethargy. Additionally, they are important in helping the body regulate mood, which can help reduce feelings of depression.

5-HTP: is a natural amino acid. It helps make serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. 5-HTPcan help reduce tender points as well as pain levels in those suffering from chronic pain. In addition to its pain-relieving qualities, 5-HTP can help improve sleep, reduce fatigue, ease morning stiffness and lower anxiety. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, three studies have suggested 5-HTP may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms like pain, anxiety, fatigue, and morning stiffness.

Rhodiola Rosea: is a class of herb known as an adaptogen. These herbs are believed to boost the bodies’ ability to adapt to stressful circumstances and thrive. For many, it is an effective herb for improving mood, reducing stress and boosting cognition. With reports that its effects are nearly palpable.

Brain herbs: If we have exhausted our GABA stores, we probably have exhausted our adrenals too.  Taking Holy Basil or Passion Flower and other herbs can help calm and support the brain.

These are just a few of the many dietary and herbal supplements used to help treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. When combined with the other natural methods of treatment mentioned on this page, the results can be both powerful and lasting.

Other things that may help

Exercise: Like a septic system, lymph vessels can “overflow” if carrying too much waste moving too slowly. Physical movement (exercise) helps “pump” the lymph and speed it through the body to be cleaned. Gentle exercise is mandatory for those with Fibromyalgia. Some ways to accomplish this are:

  • Yoga: Several studies show that a regular yoga practice may help ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia. For example, a 2011 study found that patients who took a 75-minute yoga class twice weekly for eight weeks experienced less pain and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood.
  • Tai chi: is an ancient Chinese physical practice that involves moving the body slowly and gently. It has shown some potential in helping to ease fibromyalgia symptoms. In a 2010 study, participants took part in a 60-minute tai chi class or a 60-minute wellness education and stretching class. They attended these classes twice a week for 12 weeks. Those who did tai chi experienced improvements in pain, sleep quality, depression, and quality of life. The benefits were still noticeable 24 weeks later.

Massage: can play an important role in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

  • Since fibromyalgia is a widespread musculoskeletal pain, massage treats many symptoms including chronic tension, muscle pain, headaches, daytime fatigue, anxiety and depression, insomnia and restricted muscle function, and TMJ.
  • Lymph drainage massage can also help. helps move lymph fluid through the body. The lymph system helps rid the body of waste and toxins, but relies on muscle movement to remain efficient. Rhythmic movements can help stimulate blood flow, potentially loosening up lymph blockages that may be causing pain. It’s a specialty that many massage therapists are trained in, but only a few make it the focus of their practice.  If you suffer with Fibromyalgia, find someone who specializes in lymph drainage.
  • One of the most important benefits of massage is resetting the mind to muscle connection.  Fibromyalgia amplifies the way your brain processes pain signals.  It is important to begin with a localized 30 minute massage treatment and work up to a full body.

Meditation: Can meditation change the way the brain processes pain signals? Australian rheumatologist Dr. Daniel Lewis thinks so, and he also suggests that it may change the way the brain functions, improving symptoms. A 2012 analysis of studies reported that meditation provided pain relief. Researchers believe it helps calm the mind and ease the body, promoting deep rest and relaxation, which help the body heal itself.

Acupuncture: is an ancient Chinese treatment that uses very thin needles to ease pain and treat various conditions. Studies have indeed shown improvement for fatigue and anxiety. And data examined from nine trials with a total of 395 participants, gave the conclusion that there was some evidence acupuncture may improve pain and stiffness.

Avoid: chemicals such as BPA, chlorine, fragrances, food additives, and pesticides in your house, yard or food.

Ultimately, it’s time for a hard look at life.  What do you need to do to reduce worry, lack of sleep, rushing, and depletion of all your hormones and nutrients?

TEA

Here is a bonus recipe for a tea that many fibromyalgia sufferers find useful.
Turmeric and ginger have both been used for centuries as spices in cooking and as medicinal herbs. These herbs are excellent for treating gastrointestinal problems and inflammatory conditions, as well as many other things.
In order to increase turmeric absorption in the body (studies have revealed that turmeric has low absorption and rapid metabolism that lead to relatively low bioavailability in the body), once the tea is ready, you need to add either a little bit of fat (such as a teaspoon of coconut oil or flaxseed oil) or a little bit (1/4-1/2 tsp) of black pepper (contains piperine) to aid the absorption of curcumin.

Ingredients

For 1 cup of water use:

  • 1 tsp of fresh grated turmeric (1/3 if using dried pre-ground)
  • 1 tsp ginger root (1/3 if using dried pre-ground)
  • Raw honey to taste
  • A slice of lemon (if you want)

Preparation

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to boil.
  2. Add fresh grated turmeric and ginger, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. (If using ground turmeric and ginger, boil for about 5 minutes.)
  3. Then strain the tea and add the honey and lemon to taste.
  4. Once the tea is ready, add the coconut oil or black pepper to increase turmeric absorption.

(source, source, source, source)

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One comment

  1. Thank you for writing this article, it so comprehensively examines the many areas of quite a complex disease. ‘Dis-ease’ basically describes fibromyalgia so the discussion of the many hypotheses that can cause this condition coupled with a response to dealing with these with diet and lifestyle changes is extremely helpful. It’s so clear, well-researched and written, I think it’s going to be a bit of a ‘one stop shop’ for me! Looking forward to getting to know this blog better! 🙂

    Like

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