Fibromyalgia or fibrositis is a complex condition that affects mainly the soft-tissues of the body causing widespread pain, problems with sleeping, and various other distressing symptoms. It affects mainly women aged between 25 and 50 but can affect almost anyone of any age. The cause is unclear but it is thought that this condition may primarily be affecting the nerves rather than the joints and muscles.
The most commonly affected locations are on the back of the head, the neck, shoulders, chest, low back, and thighs. Other symptoms may also be experienced, including fatigue, headaches, low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, insomnia, frequent abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, skin sensitivities, dry mouth and eyes, impairment of memory and co-ordination, anxiety and depression. Fibromyalgia is unpredictable and symptoms are often so severe that they interfere with normal daily activities.
There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, but it could be linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, candida, anaemia, low blood sugar, thyroid problems, low immunity.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|5-HTP||5-HTP supplementation can increase serotonin levels in fibromyalgia patients leading to decreased pain and fatigue. Works well with St Johns Wort to improve serotonin levels.||50 – 100mg three times per day on an empty stomach|
|St John’s Wort||The combination of St Johns Wort and 5-HTP imay be better than using either one on its own. They can help improve the quality and length of REM sleep reducing symptoms of waking up feeling tired, worn-out, and in pain.||300 – 900mg per day|
|Magnesium||Magnesium deficiency is common in fibromyalgia. Magnesium supports serotonin function and is needed for muscle relaxation. . It is especially beneficial when used in combination with 5-HTP. Magnesium in citrate or aspartate forms are the best for this condition.||200 – 600mg per day|
|Rhodiola||Rhodiola has been shown to increase levels of serotonin in the brain, it may also improve energy production and its adaptogenic properties make the body more resistant to stress, a major factor in both chronic fatigue and fybromyalgia.||250 – 750mg per day|
|Multivitamin and mineral||Certain painkilling medications can cause the body to lose nutrients. Taking a good multivitamin can help offset this.||as directed on the label|
|Green Lipped mussel||Green lipped mussel extract is available as a cream, tablets and bath oil to help relieve the pain from sore muscles.||as directed|
|DLPA||Phenylalanine is a precursor to the mood elevating compound dopamine (which is found to be low in some depressed patients). It also enhances other mood enhancing chemicals such as PEA and endorphins.||100-200mg one hour before bed, taken with fruit juice|
|Fish Oil||Contain Omega3 which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.||1000mg daily|
|White Willow||The natural form of aspirin, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory.||500mg 3 times daily|
|Devils Claw||Anti-inflammatory, analgaesic, it also helps improve digestion.||500mg 3 times daily|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
A vegan diet (includes no animal products) that is also low in salt may help women with fibromyalgia. The primary advice involves eating less of the foods which cause inflammation and more of the foods which reduce pain and inflammation.
This means reducing animal and saturated fats, alcohol, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, potatoes, refined/processed foods, sugar and coffee. It is also worth avoiding monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame as both are known to be neuro-toxic.
Increase intake of whole foods, with plenty of fresh fruit and green leafy vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds and good quality proteins from oily fish, free range poultry and eggs.
Eat more ginger, pineapple and papaya for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Drink at least 2 litres of water daily.
Moderate low-intensity exercise may improve fibromyalgia symptoms due to the production of endorphins, the body’s own pain killers which are released during physical activity. Stretching techniques such as yoga help to relax tense muscles.
Anxiety and stress, depression, illness and infections, lack of sleep, over exertion can all make symptoms worse. Counselling can be helpful as can acupuncture. Learning relaxation techniques can also help.
Homoeopathic Remedies which may help. (Refer to the individual remedy for guidance on the one that is most appropriate for you.)
- Actae rac
- Calcarea carbonica
- Rhus toxicodendron
- Ruta grav
Recommended further reading:
- Fibromyalgia awareness
- Fibromyalgia explained