(FM) management involves many treatment approaches. As was pointed out last
month, the importance of sleep quality, hormonal balance, infection management,
nutritional supplementation, exercise and more was discussed as the “SHINE”
approach. This month, we are going to explore how important diet is in the
management of FM.
It’s been said that one of the
most powerful tools the FM patient has in their possession is their FORK
because, “…food becomes cells.” That is to say, the food we eat is used to
build cells, tissues, and support our organ systems. The National Fibromyalgia
Association (NFA) has reported that all FM patients have some common
physiological abnormalities that include:
much Substance P (a pain producing neurotransmitter).
little tryptophan (an essential amino acid that helps make serotonin which
helps mood and many other things).
enough serotonin (a brain neurotransmitter that fights depression)..
in muscle cells, especially the mitochondria that provides energy (ATP) to the
With the exception of substance
P, we can control ALL of the above, at least in part, with diet and eating the
right food. The following 7 nutritional recommendations can make a significant
improvement for the FM sufferer:
ELIMINATE FOOD TRIGGERS: Eliminate foods
that irritate the digestive system. The NFA reports that 40% of FM
patients have irritable bowel problems and food sensitivities that trigger
abdominal pain, diarrhea, and headaches. Common food triggers include:
monosodium glutamate (MSG), caffeine, food coloring, chocolate, shrimp,
dairy products, eggs, gluten, yeast, milk, soy, corn, citrus, sugar and
aspartame. Regarding aspartame and MSG - a 2010 study out of France
reported FM symptoms subsided significantly after eliminating both from
the diet, as they found that they stimulated certain neurotransmitters.
EAT MORE TURKEY! That’s because
turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that can help combat
chronic fatigue and depression, which are common FM symptoms. In a large
NFA 2007 survey of 2,596 FM patients, about 40% of the group complained of
energy loss. Tryptophan is only acquired through food as our bodies cannot
make it or convert it from other substances. Tryptophan is needed by our
body to make serotonin (the “happiness hormone”) which improves our mood
and makes melatonin, the chemical that helps us sleep deeply. Hence, to
fight fatigue, avoid the food triggers mentioned in #1 and increase
tryptophan, which can be found in certain protein rich foods such as
cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel), nuts and seeds,
soy (soymilk, tofu, and soybeans), turkey, and yogurt. Many of these foods
also contain tyrosine, which increases levels of brain neurotransmitters
dopamine and norepinephrine. These brain neurotransmitters help with cell
messaging, alertness, and reduce cognitive “fog,” often described by FM
sufferers. Also consider taking melatonin if sleep is an issue.
EAT MORE SARDINES! Okay, turkey is
more “palatable,” but sardines have the ability to reduce muscle pain, of
which, according to the NFA survey, 63% of FM sufferers experience. This
is thought to be due to coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency, essential for
muscle function and found in sardines and organ meats. Of course, if these
natural food approaches don’t appeal to you, a CoQ10 supplement may be
easier. In two studies, FM patients were found to be 40% deficient in
CoQ10, and 30% experienced less muscle pain and fatigue after taking
300mg/day for 9 months.
you, a friend or family member requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate
the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!To schedule an appointment with one of our Fibromyalgia Experts in San Francisco call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.