FIBROMYALGIAfibromyalgia
by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

Fibromyalgia is another mystery affliction that seems to have appeared recently with a mostly female sufferer profile. Between 2 and 6 million Americans develop Fibromyalgia, 10 times as many women as men, and a startling number of them are contracting the disease as early as the 25 to 35 age group. Sometimes, however, it takes years for a diagnosis to be made. Like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is a devastating and often life-altering condition. Fibromyalgia

As with CFS, it is often hard for the sufferer to receive the comfort and sympathy they deserve from others in their life, because the symptomology is so subjective. Fibromyalgia

However, there are measurable parameters: Fibromyalgia

  • There are low levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • There are low levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
  • There are high levels of substance P, which causes one to feel pain, and low levels of the endorphins that control it. In fact, in their 2001 annual meeting, researchers  at the American College of Rheumatology reported that brain scans have revealed that women with fibromyalgia differ from depressed women in their sensitivity to pain.
  • There is also a low level of oxygen in the affected tissues (hypoxia), and my experience with clients has shown highly acidic pH measurements in urine and saliva.
  • I have also encountered a correlation between low DHEA, low Cortisol levels, and Fibromyalgia—i.e., stress.

The May 2002 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism features two studies that have finally convinced doubters in the medical profession that Fibromyalgia patients are actually experiencing different reactions to pain and exercise.  In the first study, precisely applied pressure to a pain point was measured, and it was determined that Fibromyalgia sufferers reacted to pain at about half the level experienced by healthy controls.  Differences were measured in the brain, where 12 areas were activated in Fibromyalgiaers, and only 2 in controls.  Increased blood flow was also shown in areas of the brain. Different areas were activated by the pain in the control group from Fibromyalgiaers, and the researchers speculated that this was because of the “persistent excitatory input associated with ongoing and spontaneous pain” Fibromyalgiaers suffer. ** Fibromyalgia

Perhaps the most light I have ever seen shed on a possible root cause of Fibromyalgia was in a monograph written by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, in which he pointed out (in reference to the use of magnesium malate, as I recall ) that often the problem is not so much a deficiency of magnesium, as an inability on the part of the patient to absorb it into the cell. He postulated that most Fibromyalgia/CFS patients are so loaded with toxins, and the pathways which usually take care of this are so inefficient, that they are able neither to take in the nutrients they need for help, nor discharge the toxins that are aggravating their condition.  He published a study in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, vol.44:1992, in which patients with CFS were placed on a Detox program and supported with anti-oxidants:  the results showed conclusively the  toxin/malabsorption connection.  I quote from an article in Maximum Wellness, Winter 1997:  ” … more than a third of the chronic fatigue participants in this study had altered magnesium levels, which normalized after the dietary management program (Vitamin Lady: i.e., the detox) without the necessity to administer heroic doses of magnesium.  This result seemed to support our hypothesis that the low levels of magnesium inside the cells of chronic fatigue patients was a result of poor transport of magnesium into the cells due to  the the poisoning of the magnesium-potassium ATPase pump”.Sometimes, (in a lucky few) Fibromyalgia symptoms may turn out to be hypersensitivity to either MSG or Aspartame ( or both) since studies in 2002 found that in some sufferers eliminating the offending substances from the diet brought about immediate improvement.  Usually, a person who will benefit from this approach has other symptoms of problems with allergies to food, sinus and the like. .  Certainly, where this is the cause, inflammation and fatigue would be logical symptoms – if you see yourself in this description,  give it a try.

For this reason, there are two first steps I urge on my clients: one, an extensive detox preferably combined with a liquid fast, and two, daily monitoring and adjustment of their pH levels. When pH levels are too acidic,  cells do not perform their prescribed functions. Fibromyalgia

When one considers the link between magnesium and heart function, it is also interesting to read new research showing a connection between inefficient heart function and CFS. Researchers observed the following:The detoxification pathways of the body need to be reinforced also, and MSM is definitely the choice there, since it supports both methylation and sulfation. DMG could beneficially be added,  partly because of its role in oxygen utilization.  The liver is nearly always compromised in this condition, and supporting its function is a must: choose alpha lipoic acid and milk thistle, or also recommended is a high quality Ayurvedic hepatic support combination. Fibromyalgia

  • The two groups (control and CFS)  had similar resting ejection fraction (EF).
  • During maximal exercise, EF increased in controls, but declined in CFS patients.
  • The decreases in EF tended to be greater in patients with more severe symptoms.
  • Using a decline in EF as a criterion, 13 CFS patients (81 percent) and 0 control subjects had positive tests.
  • There were no group differences in levels of exertion, as indicated by similar cumulative work output, maximal heart rate, and increases in lactate levels.
  • A similar patter of changes in EF (i.e., increases in controls and declines in CFS patients) was observed in response to postural stress.

Conclusions

This study provides a preliminary indication of reduced cardiac function in some patients with CFS. It raises the possibility that some CFS patients may have cardiac disorders that are subtle enough to escape the current net of clinical cardiological diagnoses, but may be significant enough in some patients — perhaps in conjunction with other factors — to lead to the clinical syndrome of CFS. The researchers note that their findings may also be explained by abnormalities other than those with the heart, including problems with the distribution of cardiac output, reduced blood volume, and neurogenic and endocrinologic abnormalities. Accordingly, further studies capable of defining more precisely the causes of altered cardiac stress responses are required. Fibromyalgia

One simple thing Fibromyalgia patients can do immediately is to start avoiding fluoride, which is present in toothpastes, tap water, and even incredibly, Prozac (as well as some other medications).  Fluoride has two major deleterious effects:  it  causes calcium to be deposited in joints and soft tissues, and depletes some important enzyme systems.  Watch out also for some juices, which are diluted with fluoridated water!  A heavy metal detox would be a good choice at this point.  Opponents of universal fluoridation will also point out that besides damaging the teeth, fluoride can cause chronic depression, headaches, and is a known cancer-initiating compound.

Because of the blocked cellular uptake, it is likely that most Fibromyalgia patients need to think first of replacing the many basic nutrients their bodies are crying out for. There is no doubt that an excellent all-round multi is necessary, and I would suggest extra B-Complex and antioxidants such as C, E, and Glutathione.

Very helpful is a supplement called Co-enzyme A, which is a blend of Pantethine, Cystine, and Calcium Pyruvate. Not only is it essential for ATP production (the basic energy source of the body) but it is also instrumental in the manufacture of the adrenal hormones and acetyl-choline, part of the pathway by which the brain communicates with the muscles. I would put that on the list, and perhaps extra Thiamine. A number of similarities between B 1 deficiency symptoms and Fibromyalgia were pointed out by Barbara Monroe (in J. Am. Coll. Nutr.,1998;17:300-303) to include fatigue, irritability, headache, muscle tenderness, muscle soreness and sleep disturbances. There is a highly absorbable form of thiamin made by Tyson called Thiamilate, which I recommend. Fibromyalgia

This is not the result of any scientific study, but I have observed that a very high proportion of Fibromyalgia patients have O blood type.

I cannot mention inflammation without pointing out the importance of balancing Omega 6 fatty acids with Omega 3s – too much of the former will inevitably lead to inflammation.  For more information see my article on Essential Fatty Acids in RESOURCES.I know there are some things about Dr. d’Adamo’s “blood type/diet” theory which seem far out, but the connection between type O, inflammation and pancreatic enzymes is one which I see time and again. Not only do I suggest using a high quality (Vitalzym, Megazyme, Jarrozyme) pancreatic enzyme WITH meals, as a digestive aid, but also BETWEEN meals as an anti-inflammatory. The results of this alone can be amazing! Fibromyalgia

Another very successful approach is attempting moderate the serotonin balance of the brain, and for this we have 5HTP. An Italian study showed that administering 100 mg of 5HTP 3 times a day resulted in a 50% reduction in symptoms! These were two studies, one of them double blind, 50 patients in each, and the results were the same each time – significant improvement. (J. Int. Med. Res. 1990; 18:201-9 and J. Int. Med. Res. 1992;20:182-9).  For some older patients the addition of small amounts of Melatonin can also be helpful. Because St. John’s Wort affects serotonin levels, many sufferers have found it a constructive addition. Fibromyalgia

I always recommend even to my casual customers (and insist with counselees) that they have their Stress levels checked and their production of Cortisol and DHEA measured before they implement supplementation to correct a possible problem. Fibromyalgia

Consistently low adrenal function is, among other things, connected to inefficient thyroid function. If this has been addressed, and you are on medication, ignore this – otherwise, I have found it helpful to supplement with L-Tyrosine: somewhere from 1 to 3.5 grams daily. If you have kidney problems of any sort, do not supplement with amino acids!Nearly always there are discrepancies. as determined in the second of the 2 studies mentioned above.  ** For low adrenal function, I recommend a liquid sublingual called Sub-Adrene, which is extremely effective. It is made by American Biologics. There are also many combinations of herbs which support adrenal function, and these can be helpful. Enzymatic Therapy makes one called Adren-Comp, with (among other herbs) Licorice (avoid if high blood pressure is a problem) and Eleuterococcus. Make sure, if you have poor adrenal function, that you are not cutting back too strictly on your carbohydrate intake: adrenals need a good steady supply of complex carbs. (That’s code for “not Hostess Twinkies”! ) I also recommend a specific Stress Formula to mitigate the effects of stress on the system. One I have had great success with is an Ayurvedic formula containing (again, among other things) Ashwaganda. Fibromyalgia

If DHEA levels are confirmed as being low, I recommend a good sublingual spray source of it, such as the one made by Nature’s Plus . Be sure also to remeasure your levels within about 6 weeks to make sure you have not over-compensated. Fibromyalgia

**Fibromyalgia patients also appear to have a failure to raise growth hormone production when they exercise, together with raised levels of cortisol, according to research reported in the May 2002 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism:  this may again be a result of extreme reaction to stress, and of course, perpetuates the low energy cycle.  The same study comments that Gh deficiencies may be more common in those suffering from Fibromyalgia than was previously suspected.  I would suggest adding the homeopathic hGh spray to your regimen and evaluating your results.

There are many anecdotal reports of Magnesium with Malate ( Malic Acid) being helpful in Fibromyalgia: but as far as I can ascertain no published studies. Try it!  It may help you. Source Natural makes a combination formula called Fibro-Myalgin which many of my customers say is the most helpful formula they have ever tried, and it has a goodly amount of Magnesium as malate in it. Incidentally, low levels of Magnesium have been found in the red blood cells of Fibromyalgia patients, linked to abnormal Thiamine metabolism.

Last but not least of the major supplementary interventions is Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs. These are absolutely essential to the proper functioning of our bodies, and yet one of the commonest deficiencies we see these days. There is much to be said about EFAs, but here suffice it to note that NOT having the proper EFAs is a sure ticket to inflammatory response, and to faulty mentation. I suggest Fish liver Oil, and either Evening Primrose or Borage Oil. I have many experts telling me that the two are identical, but this doesn’t change the fact that objectively I have people tell me that one works for them and the other doesn’t. You will have to find out which is better for you. Fibromyalgia

There are other supplements which have their supporters – CoQ-10, CMO, high amounts of Vitamin E, SAM-e, NADH, to name a few. It may well be that they help and I would not discourage you from trying them. However, the ones I list in this article are the ones which I feel EVERY sufferer from Fibromyalgia should make part of their regimen until they find relief.

Other strategies I recommend are: stress control through meditation and exercise, massage, magnets, but above all, DIET!

EAT: barley, buckwheat, canola, flaxseed and walnut oils, fish, fruit (except Citrus) legumes, millet, oats, vegetables.Guidelines for diet. My thanks to Marcia Zimmerman, CN, for this list. Fibromyalgia

AVOID: alcohol, aspartame, butter, caffeine, carbonated beverages, citrus, coffee, dairy, meat, MSG, nuts, sugar, tea, white flour. Fibromyalgia

Keep an eye each day on your urine pH levels, and adjust your diet accordingly. Diet determines whether we tend towards the acid or alkaline, and the average U.S. diet might almost be designed to cause us to err! Fibromyalgia

  • Proteins (pork, beef ,chicken, ham, turkey etc.) coffee and tea, eggs, beer, wine and pops, most breads, spaghettis and pastas, refined rice (grains) and chocolate.  all promote an acid state in our body fluids.
  •  Dairy foods (*for those who can tolerate them), potatoes and onions are mostly neutral,
  • and fruits, vegetables, beans and soy are on the alkaline side.

Some “superfoods” that act as natural “buffers”  I use and recommend frequently. A natural buffer is a substance that counteracts the acid state of the body, and chief among them are Fibromyalgia

  • concentrated green foods like barley grass, spirulina and other algae, and some wonderful combinations of dried vegetables, sea vegetables and cereal grasses. Fibromyalgia

The other buffers I use and recommend because they are healthful in many other ways also, are Brewers Yeast ( a natural source of B vitamins, selenium and chromium, among other things), Lecithin (a concentrate of the Phosphatides in soy),Calcium, Bee Pollen and KelpFibromyalgia

Vitamin C as Ascorbate is an option that can have other benefits for those whose faulty pH accompanies a severe disease state where low immunity is a factor. Use the Vitamin C to bowel tolerance, and when that is established, I recommend using it in the morning and last thing at night to help regulate the body’s acid balance. Fibromyalgia

There is no doubt at all that., as is the case with other of the “mystery” diseases, overcoming Fibromyalgia can sometimes seem like an impossible task, and in fact some people are never free of it. But I can tell you that taking responsibility for your own health and feeling the strength that can grow from knowing you are in control can make a big difference. I would never use the word “cure” but I have a wonderful substitute -“amelioration”. The word alone is worth the price of admission. Fibromyalgia

Exercise:  interestingly, a recent Canadian study found the following: Patients with fibromyalgia find that exercise is more effective in alleviating their symptoms than medication or alternative treatments, according to results of a prospective Canadian study. Over time, patients tended to reduce their use of medications, which included acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, antidepressants, and tranquilizers. Alternative treatments were used increasingly at the second and third years. Physical exercise was identified most often as the intervention perceived to be most helpful.

Checklist:

Detox your system.  Avoid sources of fluoride.

Improve your diet – identify and eliminate intolerances.

Regulate your pH—we have the pH strips available, by the way.

Measure stress levels

Consider yoga and meditation

Balance your fatty acid intake

Supplement as  required with:

Multivitamin and antioxidants
5 HTP
Thiamine
CoEnzyme A
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Magnesium Malate
Pancreatic enzymes
Adrenal help
Tyrosine
MSM & DMG

Find the recommended supplements here

A new treatment for Fibromyalgia: IVMT – http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00067405
(intravenous micronutrient therapy) 

Diagnostic Pressure Points, a Diagram – http://www.fmnetnews.com/pages/criteria.html

Fibromyalgia – Drug Free relief from Chronic pain –  an Overview – http://www.redflagsweekly.com/features/2003_jan29.html

Home Page of the International Guai Support Group – http://www.psha-inc.com/guai-support/

Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Resource  – http://www.immunesupport.com/tracklinkexchange.cfm?linkid=651

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