Posted By: CustomVite Nutrition Team Date: September 13, 2017 Comments: 0
If you’re one of the 4 million US adults living with fibromyalgia, then you are probably all too familiar with the symptoms of this chronic disease. Hallmarks of fibromyalgia include pain and stiffness all over your body, severe fatigue and tiredness, sleep problems, depression and anxiety, trouble thinking, memory and concentration issues, digestive problems, and headaches, including migraines. But what causes fibromyalgia? Unfortunately, it is still unclear and the causes may be different for each individual. Because of this, treatment can be frustrating and often a process of trial and error. Doctors usually treat fibromyalgia with a combination of methods, which may include medications (both prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers), physical exercise (both aerobic and strength training), stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga and massage, patient education classes, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Despite the treatment options available, some patients still find themselves suffering with symptoms. Fortunately, there are some alternative treatments, including dietary changes which may help ease the symptoms. These include:
- Diet: Avoid refined foods, such as white breads and pasta, sugar, red meats, and trans fats. Instead, choose plenty of foods high in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats and other sources of protein such as eggs, beans or tofu. Choose healthy fats for cooking such as olive oil or coconut oil.
- Vitamin D: Many adults are deficient in this hard to get vitamin and a deficiency can mimic some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as bone and muscle pain. Sources include sunlight, as well as food sources such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), fish liver oils, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. Since obtaining sufficient vitamin D from natural food sources alone can be difficult, supplements may be helpful, particularly in the wintertime if you get limited sun exposure, wear sunscreen or have a darker skin color.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackeral), walnuts, flaxseed and fish oil supplements, they are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties and immune supporting benefits. Studies have linked supplementation with fish oil with improvement in symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Avoid: Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, as well as foods with additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) may help relieve symptoms.
- Magnesium: Research has found that women diagnosed with fibromyalgia have significantly lower magnesium levels than women who don’t have the disorder. Additionally, one study found those who took daily magnesium supplements reported a reduction in “tender points” and other fibromyalgia symptoms. Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, 100% wheat bran cereal and raw spinach, as well as dietary supplements.
- D-Ribose: A type of sugar that your body produces naturally. It plays several important roles in your body including helping to produce energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and helping to increase muscle energy. Although more research is needed, some studies have found supplementing with D-ribose can help improve energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity and general well-being in fibromyalgia patients.
- Chlorella: A genus of single-cell green algae that grows in fresh water and contains high concentrations of important vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, nucleic acids, amino acids, enzymes, and other substances. Chlorella has been shown to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia when used as a supplement.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is made in the human body and needed for basic cell function. Researchers believe that low CoQ10 levels may play a role in the development of fibromyalgia symptoms because it has been found lacking within the blood cells of many fibromyalgia patients. Additionally, CoQ10 supplementation has been linked to a significant improvement in symptoms in a small preliminary trial.
Overall, it may be helpful if you’re living with the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia to know that it is possible for you to achieve a reduction in pain and overall symptoms once you find the combination of treatment options that are right for you.
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