Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread chronic muscle pain and heightened pain sensitivity, often with accompanying fatigue and depression. It is infamously difficult to treat because there are so many variables at play; FMS involves genetic, environmental, psychological and neurochemical imbalances. Despite this, research has found that there are many lifestyle, dietary and nutritional changes that can drastically improve the quality of life for many FMS sufferers.
Adequate hydration, proper sleep habits, reduced sugar intake and increased vegetable consumption are a great starting point. Working with an integrative healthcare practitioner is even better and highly recommended because of the complex nature of FMS, but here are some more specific considerations for those just beginning to explore natural options:
Magnesium Malate: Both magnesium and malic acid are necessary within the body on a cellular level to help create ATP, the most basic form of energy. These nutrients are used in the Krebs Cycle which takes place in the mitochondria. Magnesium in the form of glycinate, aspartate, ascorbate or citrate are all good choices as well, but magnesium malate is the best form for FMS.
Vitamin D: Many people have heard that Vitamin D deficiency is quite widespread, but most are unaware that Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to non-specific muscle pain, depression and FMS scores. It is highly recommended that you speak with your doctor about having your vitamin D levels tested to determine if your body has suboptimal levels. If so, a supplement may be very helpful.
Removal of food sensitivities: Certain foods can create widespread inflammation in the body and inflammation is a component of pain! The most common food sensitivities include gluten, dairy and egg. However, soy and citrus may also be implicated. Food sensitivities and dietary programs are truly individual.
D-Ribose: D-ribose is a necessary sugar for synthesizing ATP (i.e. it is actually a component of the Adenosine Triphosphate molecule which connects adenosine and the 3 phosphates). D-ribose is also the sugar found in basic genetic materials such as RNA and DNA (RNA = ribonucleic acid, DNA = deoxyribonucleic acid). Genetic material and energy molecules sound pretty important – and they are!
Serotonin Support: Serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter, has been found depleted in FMS populations. 5-HTP and B-vitamins such as B3, B6 and B12 all help to upregulate the production of this important neurotransmitter. B-vitamins also provide cellular energy and support for various neurochemical processes.
Mitochondrial support agents: Nutrients like Co-Q10, L-carnitine and R-lipoic Acid all provide much needed cellular energy for FMS sufferers. Similar to magnesium, malic acid and B-vitamins, these not only help to create ATP but also make your cells more efficient at clearing out free radicals and cellular waste.
This list is far from comprehensive and it is not meant as a treatment prescription. Many other factors including environmental chemicals and immune regulation must be addressed, hence why seeing an integrative healthcare practitioner is recommended. Instead, these suggestions are given to get you thinking differently about FMS and its possible solutions. Often fixing a basic nutrient deficiency goes a long way for those with FMS.
If you have FMS and found success with one of these recommendations, let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting us @AOR_Health.
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