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Research on Available Treatments for Fibromyalgia

Updated on January 10, 2013

A compilation of studies that investigated Fibromyalgia treatments available today

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a medical condition that causes sufferers of it to experience pain, sleeping difficulties, excessive fatigue, bladder and bowel problems, stiffness, anxiety and depression. Most sufferers are women and the cases increase with age. The main symptoms of Fibromyalgia which patients suffer the most are the sleep deprivation and the pain experienced by sufferers which they compare to rheumatoid arthritis. Relief for such syndrome is very important for people suffering from Fibromyalgia, which is why many are opting to consider alternative forms of treatments in order to achieve relief. These are some of the main alternative treatments available today which most people use to provide comfort for Fibromyalgia sufferers.

1. The use of vegetarian diet

In 2001, a paper was published through the concerted efforts of Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates and other wellness foundation on the effects of vegetarian diet in treating Fibromyalgia. The study was based on the naturopathic effects of regular intake of raw, uncooked vegetables to drastically improve the well-being of people suffering from Fibromyalgia.

They have initiated an investigative experiment in order to see the effects of a strict vegetarian diet can have in treating Fibromyalgia. They had thirty individuals, which have Fibromyalgia to participate in a dietary experiment consisting mostly of salads, tubers, carrot juice, grain products, seed and nuts, barley grass juice and raw fruits and vegetables. Throughout the duration of the experiment, the participants were subjected to constant observations, health surveys, physical examination of performance and measurements and surveys that inquire about the quality of life during the said experiment.

All participants were given instructions on diet implementation. The participants were given pamphlets and instructional guides to proper food combinations and what kinds of food that should be eaten by people with such condition. The diet was consisted of various selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and various juice preparations which are free from chemical preservatives. Aside from the foods to eat, they were also subject to strict avoidance of foods not prescribed for people by Fibromyalgia, these includes alcohol, refined sugar, dairy products, caffeine and all kinds of meat products.

Participants were instructed to consume food on the basis of energy needs and not cravings. This amounts to a diet that is 65 percent carbohydrates, 24 percent fat and 11 percent protein. This was coupled by a daily intake of two to four servings of carrot juice (240 ml per serving).

The results of the said study showed signs of improvement especially in the physical performance of the participants. Though there are no significant improvements on the initial phase of the study, but the overall effects was significant enough to recommend such diet to help Fibromyalgia sufferers.

The physical performance of the participants during this study shows significant improvements. Pain in various parts of the body was drastically reduced and greater flexibility in the joints and the neck are attained. The overall physical improvements were very important for the successful treatment of Fibromyalgia.

The quality of life of the participants also showed greater improvement. In a questionnaire developed in order to just measure how happy each participant is with their lives, they have shown that in the duration of the study and as improvements were achieved, the levels of happiness of each individuals increased.

They showed less anxiety and depression. Its effect was seen dramatically as participants became more involved in recreation, socializing, participating in organizations and other forms of activity that showed one’s love of life. This showed that diet is a very important factor, not only in the treatment for Fibromyalgia, but also a wonderful anti-depressant and a very effective mood enhancing method.

2. The use of various forms of supplements

Vitamin A, C and E (Nature’s powerful antioxidants)

In 2010, a study was initiated by the Medical Faculty branch of Biophysics at Suleyman University, Isparta, Turkey, to show the benefits of regular intake of vitamin A, C and E in treating individuals suffering from Fibromyalgia. The research saw that the intake of Vitamin A, C and E supplements in combination with regular exercise can reduce the stress levels associated with Fibromyalgia. This basis for using Vitamins, such as the ones mentioned above are due to it antioxidant properties, which is very important for the effective treatment of Fibromyalgia.

Vitamin C particularly, provided stress relieving properties if presented in the bloodstream. These antioxidants are important because of its importance in collagen production of the body in order to improve the healthy growth of muscles. It also provided an impressive boost in the immune system and helps improve the levels of energy to combat the fatigue felt by patients due to the syndrome.

Vitamin E provides natural pain relieving properties which Fibromyalgia sufferers desperately need. Muscle pain is one of the most debilitating problems Fibromyalgia patients must endure. Through the use of Vitamin E, these pains can be effectively reduced. It also provides better blood circulation which also affects the levels of pain felt due to the syndrome.

Vitamin A also plays a vital role in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. As studies that were conducted in 2009, by the same team of researchers, indicate the remarkable inadequate levels of Vitamin A in Fibromyalgia patients. This was due to the large amounts of free radicals in the blood stream that destroys cells. The oxidation that occurs raises the stress felt by the body; this medical condition linked to Fibromyalgia is called “Free Radical cell destruction.”

Vitamin A, as a powerful antioxidant, can really help lower the high levels of free radicals consistent in Fibromyalgia suffers. This antioxidant can drastically lower the cell destruction caused by free radicals by eliminating it from the blood stream. Vitamin A, E and C can help people suffering Fibromyalgia find treatment and relief.

Because of these findings, especially those made by the Suleyman University and their published medical research, TheRedoxReport, The regular intake of Vitamin A, C and E is strongly suggested by medical research, especially if intake of these vitamins is done naturally. Eating food rich in these vitamins is very beneficial, not only for treating Fibromyalgia, but also the entire well-being of the body.

Foods rich with vitamin C are the following, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Strawberries, Papaya and all forms of Citrus. Foods especially rich in Vitamin E are Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Germ oil and Olive oil. Lastly foods rich with Vitamin A are Cantaloupes, Greens, peppers, Carrots and Beef liver.

Vitamin D

Vitamin Deficiency is very much linked to all sorts of medical conditions such as a weakness. Pain, cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and also, as certain studies found has a link with Fibromyalgia syndrome.

The 2011 issue of the Saudi Medical Journal reported the relationship of Vitamin D deficiency to progression of Fibromyalgia syndrome. It also showed that many individuals, mostly women didn’t showed signs of recovery from the syndrome until they have received adequate amounts of Vitamin D. This clearly shows the importance of this Vitamin in the treatment of Fibromyalgia.

In another publication called the Pakistan Medical Journal, it also showed the same findings through the help of an experiment on forty women with Fibromyalgia. They have observed that thirty-two women of the said group have Vitamin D deficiency which astonished medical scientists. This findings lead to a larger examination of groups with Fibromyalgia and it showed the same results. Most of Fibromyalgia sufferers have vitamin D deficiency; only 15% of the patients are not deficient on the said vitamin.

Doctors attending the British society convention concerning advances in Rheumatology have also concluded that high doses of Vitamin D, which amounts to almost 7000 IU daily intake for about 8 weeks, will effectively lessen the pain associated with Fibromyalgia. The intake of Vitamin D supplements are advisable, however the natural means of obtaining Vitamin D is always preferred. Vitamin D is naturally obtained from Sunlight, all sorts of oily fishes such as herring, salmon and cod, as well as sardines.

Magnesium

There are a various number of studies conducted on the connection of Magnesium in Fibromyalgia treatments. It has been considered by many that Magnesium has a vital part in the treatment and recovery of people suffering from Fibromyalgia. Magnesium can effectively lessen stress, especially as sleep deprivation, like asthma has been linked to a deficiency of Magnesium. The Clinical Cardiology Journal has reported the said link between Magnesium and Fibromyalgia. It also says that a regular diet is not enough to obtain the necessary amounts of Magnesium to take effect in a person afflicted by the syndrome. This is very important as such confirmation on the use of Magnesium can drastically transform the lives of people suffering from Fibromyalgia.

According to the research conducted on Magnesium, it is essential for a number of bodily functions. An example of bodily function that relies on adequate levels of Magnesium in the body is helping increase the energy achieved through the metabolic function of the body and the rate of bone growth. These functions are influenced by the levels of Magnesium in the body. Also the efficient breakdown of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which is the basic energy unit used by cells in the body, is ensured by the presence of adequate levels of Magnesium in the body. The absence of Magnesium has also been linked to brain dysfunction called “FibroFog”, which is a type of memory loss suffered by patients with Fibromyalgia and the prevalence of muscle cramps, spasms and other involuntary movements of the muscle.

The University of Maryland Medical Center also supplied observations on the said syndrome. They have noted a range of Magnesium deficiency symptoms which involves conditions like palpitations, mood swings, anxiety, low blood pressure and other brain dysfunctions. This supports the prior findings on the importance of Magnesium in the body and how its inadequate level can cause problems.

Research conducted a Japanese research team in the University of St. Marianna Medicine School on Magnesium has showed that it can drastically improve the quality of sleep a person has. Sleep deprivation is one of the major symptoms of Fibromyalgia and it shows promise as a potent treatment for Fibromyalgia symptoms. Although Magnesium itself is not the cure for the syndrome, its regular intake can drastically reduce the effects of its symptoms. The Department of Dietary Supplements in the National Health Institute has issued a specific amount a person needs as its daily intake.

According to the prescription issued by the department, Magnesium intake should be as follows:

400mg for males below 30

420mg for males above 30

310mg for females below 30

320mg for females above 30

They also stated that for female sufferers, a dose of 400mg of Magnesium in a daily basis is needed in order to positively affect the downward progression of Fibromyalgia.

Also in line with the study on Magnesium and its benefits in treating Fibromyalgia, the Pharmacology Annals issued a case study on the effects of high dosage intake of Magnesium for pain relief. The report stated that dosage of Magnesium where it is still beneficial can reach up to 1000mg if a person can endure such dosages without feeling ill. The only ill effect of an overdose of Magnesium is diarrhea, which is the same case as with Vitamin C. Natural sources of Magnesium are oat bran, sunflower seeds, dark or black chocolate, nuts, molasses and rice.

Calcium

Calcium is also one of the most effective antioxidants needed by the body. Calcium is one of the main responsible for the capability of cardiac muscles to contract efficiently and pump blood throughout the body. According to researches made in Fibromyalgia, especially by the National Health Institute and other well respected research bodies, Calcium has no direct influence on the treatment of Fibromyalgia; however, the effectiveness of Magnesium, which has been used to treat the syndrome, requires a solid and precise amount of Calcium for it to induce an effect. The ratio for Calcium and Magnesium are suggested to be in equal amounts, however varying quantities on how much Calcium or Magnesium should be taken still relies on the advocacy of the medical expert. The study showed that Calcium supports Magnesium on its treatment of Fibromyalgia. It is an important discovery as it shows the connection between do healthy diet can indeed affect the symptoms and even Fibromyalgia itself.

In 2001, the Korean Medical Journal published a research study on people, especially women afflicted by Fibromyalgia. According to their analysis, they have found that most women infected by Fibromyalgia have low levels of Magnesium, Calcium, Copper, Manganese and Iron. This shows that through the increased intake of Calcium, Magnesium and other mineral, preferably through natural means, will help treat the syndrome and maybe cure it completely. It is important to know that through the correct dosage of these vitamins and mineral one can have a chance to live a normal life and halt the debilitating effects of Fibromyalgia.

However in the 2011 Clinical rheumatology report showed that the increase of any vitamins or minerals do not drastically produce beneficial effects on the syndrome, yet they are still optimistic on the secrets of vitamins and minerals in treating Fibromyalgia.

Sodium

In the continued study on Fibromyalgia and in finding the cure for it, the effects of sodium begins to come into center stages. As Fibromyalgia have symptoms such as chronic pain in the muscles, fatigue and insomnia, sodium has been observed to cause a positive effect in restoring normal sleep patterns for people suffering the syndrome. Studies also recommend that sufferers of Fibromyalgia must have a daily intake of 2300mg of sodium.

These observations were reported by the Texas University in San Antonio. The medical department of that institution issued a report in 2011, which states that adequate sodium levels can indeed have an effect in reducing muscular pain and restoring natural sleep patterns for Fibromyalgia sufferers. They concluded that the use of sodium can effectively reduce the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia, especially the pain experienced by sufferers. Though there are many sodium supplements available, the natural intake of it is still very much preferred. Natural sources of sodium are olives, beets, celery and most vegetables.

L- Carnitine

L-Carnitine or Carnitine is a nutrient present in the body that is produced by the liver and kidneys which is stored in the brain, heart, muscles and in the sperm. This nutrient is very essential in the proper breakdown of fat to energy, the reduction of stress and the halt cell damage due to free radicals.

This nutrient has been the focus of various studies lately on its role in treating Fibromyalgia. In the 2010, March issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine, a study was published on the effects seen by researchers on their study of L-Carnitine on Fibromyalgia patients. According to the report, researchers have conducted 70 clinical experiments on various medication and supplements that are regarded as beneficial for Fibromyalgia patients. The top three of all the supplements used were Sodium, SAMe and L-Carnitine as they provide pain relieving effects of sufferers. The study was in reference to an earlier publication in the 2007 issue of Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, which also shows the positive effects of L-Carnitine as compared to placebo and other supplements, especially if taken three times a day with a steady dose of 500mg of L-Carnitine. The painful symptoms of Fibromyalgia have been reported by sufferers was drastically reduced once they have undergone such dosage of L-Carnitine, although side effects such as nausea and diarrhea are observed.

Melatonin

Another effect of Fibromyalgia is the apparent change in mood and mental behavior. This symptom has been observed by scientists and medical experts to be drastically reduced by the presence of adequate amounts of Melatonin.

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland. This hormone is responsible for the circadian rhythm, which dictates when you sleep and when you wake up. The role of melatonin on the regulating the sleep cycle of the body is very important in the research of possible treatments for Fibromyalgia. It has been known that one of the most punishing experiences of people suffering from Fibromyalgia is sleep deprivation. It has been observed that through the use of melatonin, people can effectively induce sleep even if they are experiencing insomnia. This observation was confirmed by researches conducted by the University of Maryland medical center. They have concluded that Melatonin can definitely help patients in their sleep problems and in turn improve the immune system of the body.

In the 1998 issue of the Clinical Endocrinology journal, it reports that patients suffering from Fibromyalgia have low levels of melatonin secretions which are the reason for the sleep deprivation condition suffered by patients. They low levels of Melatonin are also the cause of the fatigue and pain experienced by sufferers. This was an important discovery as it sets the track on how to deal with some of the symptoms seen in the syndrome.

In the 2000 issue of the Clinical Rheumatology journal, it states the findings of a study done by researchers on the benefits of Melatonin. They have 21 volunteer patients with Fibromyalgia undergo a 30 day treatment of Melatonin. After the month long experiment, twenty-one patients have shown considerable improvements in their sleep patterns.

3. Exercise

It has been common knowledge that exercise is always beneficial to health, which is why it is not that surprising to know that exercise can also help people suffering from Fibromyalgia. Experts in the said syndrome all agree that actively pursuing an exercise regimen to maintain the strength and flexibility of the muscles can help improve the treatment of Fibromyalgia, especially if other supplements or medication are being taken. This is the reason why many doctors encourage their patients to have a regular exercise routine in order to condition the body.

The main hormonal benefits one can have through exercise are the production of Endorphins. This is a neurochemical produced by the body to enhance the person’s positive or “happy” emotional state. This will help reduce the mood swing of the body and the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression.

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