Living with Fibromyalgia? These Nutrients Can Help

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Fibromyalgia is a relatively common disease that affects 2% of the U.S. adult population.1 Despite its prevalence, it still remains somewhat elusive.

Fibromyalgia is actually a syndrome, or a collection of problems and symptoms, which include muscle pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and trouble concentrating.

People with fibromyalgia may experience pain that lasts for months or even years. Some people live in constant pain with the condition, and this can get worse over time.

Fortunately, finding relief and improving quality of life is possible by targeting supplementation. Here are three pathological processes related to fibromyalgia that nutrients can help with:

  1. Low levels of ATP, the energy molecule.
  2. High levels of oxidative damage.
  3. Increased systemic inflammation.
Below, we’ll explore each one in detail.

Optimize Cell Energy Production by Boosting ATP

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy molecule for all of the cells in your body. One study demonstrated that people with fibromyalgia tend to have low levels of ATP.2

As a result, boosting ATP production is an appropriate goal. Here are the supplements that can help:

  1. D-Ribose is a 5-carbon sugar that forms the base of ATP. Supplementing with 3 grams a day may be helpful in boosting ATP production.3

  2. Magnesium is essential to healthy muscle function. The enzymes that metabolize ATP to release energy require magnesium to function. Multiple controlled clinical studies have found that magnesium is effective in relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia.4

  3. Ubiquinol CoQ10 with Shilajit enhances cellular energy by increasing ATP production better than CoQ10 alone. For instance, the combination increased brain energy 40% more than CoQ10 alone and increased energy in the heart 27% more than CoQ10 alone.5

Reduce Widespread Oxidative Damage with Antioxidants

More and more studies are finding high levels of oxidative damage — reactive oxygen molecules that damage important cellular structures like DNA6 — in people with fibromyalgia and related disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome.7,8

One of the key oxidants implicated in these related disorders is called peroxynitrite. Researchers from Washington State University have hypothesized that antioxidants may help minimize damage from peroxynitrite and subsequently improve the severity of symptoms.9

So which antioxidants can help combat oxidative damage? Here are some suggestions:

  • Blueberries anthocyanins
  • Vitamins C & E
  • Selenium
  • Pomegranate polyphenols
  • N-acetyl-cysteine
  • Reduced L-glutathione

Ease Systemic Inflammation Naturally

High levels of systemic inflammation have also been reported in people with fibromyalgia.10 As a result, easing inflammation with specific nutrients can go a long way in helping people with the disease feel better.

Here are some suggestions for easing inflammation:

  1. Black tea theaflavins can help turn off specific genes in your DNA that express inflammatory cytokines.11
  2. Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric. It’s been shown to inhibit the effects of the master inflammatory molecule, called NF-kappaB.12
  3. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats have been shown to inhibit cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme used to produce powerful pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.13

Which Nutrients Are Right for You?

Consider calling one of our Wellness Specialists for personalized guidance and suggestions.

Do you or a loved one suffer from fibromyalgia? Please share your experiences in the comments.

  1. J Rheumatol Suppl. 2005 Aug;75:6-21.
  2. Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Mar;41(3):406-13.
  3. Pharmacotherapy. 2004 Nov;24(11):1646-8.
  4. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2003 Aug;17(4):667-83.
  5. Pharmacologyonline. 2009;1:817-25.
  6. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jun;63(6):985S-990S.
  7. Rheumatol Int. 2005 Apr;25(3):188-90.
  8. Rheumatol Int. 2006 May;26(7):585-97.
  9. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Jan;54(1):115-25.
  10. Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Dec;29(12):1403-12
  11. Crit Care Med. 2004 Oct;32(10):2097-103.
  12. J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2004 Aug;6(4):367-7.
  13. Drug News Perspect. 2008 Dec;21(10):552-61.


Stephen in Birmingham said...

Hey figured I would ask if you have ever heard about the living food diet? I read that studies have shown that this diet can be really beneficial for people living with fibromyalgia. It's built around eating mostly raw fruits, vegetables, berries, and root nuts. This way you increase your healthy fiber intake and avoid a lot of excess sodium and cholesterol.

Life Extension said...

Stephen in Birmingham - We're not familiar with any research concerning the living food diet and fibromyalgia; however there is some research showing a vegetarian style diet has been shown to help these patients.

Unknown said...

There is no cure for Fibromyalgia, however along with exercise and medication, using weighted blankets for Fibromyalgia can provide stress relief to help control symptoms. Need to start therapy and fibromyalgia treatment

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