Fibromyalgia and Diet
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder in which sufferers experience widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and mood, sleep, and memory disorders (the so-called “fibro fog.”) Some researchers believe fibromyalgia is essentially a problem with the way the brain processes pain signals.
Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. You’re more likely to get it if you already have another painful disease like an infection or arthritis, already have a mood disorder like depression or anxiety, are a physical or emotion abuse survivor or have PTSD, you don’t exercise, or you have a family history of fibromyalgia.
We’ve already alluded into general terms to fibromyalgia symptoms. In more detail, these include the following:
- Muscle pain, tightness, burning, or twitching
- Low pain threshold or tender spots
- Trouble concentrating and remembering
- Poor sleep
- Anxiety and/or depression
All of which fibromyalgia sound pretty nasty, and it can be, especially when you take in the fact that as of yet, there’s no cure as such. But for many people, adopting the proper diet brings significant fibromyalgia pain relief. So if you suffer from the condition, try following these fibromyalgia diet tips.
Fibromyalgia Diet Tip #1: Ditch Gluten
Gluten is a substance found in wheat and some other cereal grains. It gives dough its elasticity.
Lots of people are concerned with gluten these days. You may have rolled your eyes at such a person, and possibly with complete justification, since the fact is that the majority of people can digest gluten perfectly well. That includes many fibromyalgia sufferers…in the days before the illness developed.
Unfortunately, though, fibromyalgia patients often do have problems with gluten. Ingesting it makes fibromyalgia symptoms worse. For that reason, it’s a good idea to avoid wheat and wheat derivatives, wheat starch, malt and malt derivatives, and brewer’s yeast.
Note, however, that when seeking to eliminate gluten, it’s better to taper off than to go cold turkey. Quitting all at once can actually worse fibromyalgia symptoms.
Fibromyalgia Diet Tip #2: Cut Back on Food Additives
Common food additives include cysteine, aspartate, and glutamate. All are excitotoxins.
Excitotoxins are amino acids that heighten pain sensitivity in fibro patients, which of course is about the last thing they need. So, conversely, cutting back on food additives can help them.
The catch here is that some amino acids, cysteine included, are considered beneficial for overall health. So you wouldn’t want to eliminate them completely. Still, it’s a good idea not to consume a great deal of food containing a lot of them, like Asian takeout and diet soda.
Fibromyalgia Diet Tip #3: Cut Back on Caffeine
The insomnia that fibromyalgia often brings makes its other symptoms. Unfortunately, some patients respond to this issue in exactly the wrong way. They take in a lot of caffeine to help them fight their fatigue and make it through the day, and then that night their insomnia is even worse.
What would really help them is reducing their caffeine intake to promote better sleep even though withdrawal can lead to temporary headaches and irritability.
With that, let’s turn from what fibro patients shouldn’t eat to what they should.
Fibromyalgia Diet Tip #4: Eat Your Vegetables
Your body needs antioxidants. When it doesn’t get enough, a condition called oxidative stress occurs, and that condition can exacerbate or even cause fibromyalgia symptoms.
Happily, it’s not hard to get antioxidants. Almost any fruit or vegetable you can think of is full of them including such beneficial substances as vitamins A, C, and E. Among your healthy choices are spinach, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, beets, strawberries, eggplant, red bell pepper, onions, and beets.
Some people claim raw vegetables are the most beneficial of all, but many of us aren’t willing to forgo cooking them entirely. If you don’t overcook them, if you steam them lightly, for example, you’ll still benefit from their antioxidant properties.
Fibromyalgia Diet Tip #5: Get Your Vitamin D
It’s important for patients who appear to suffer from fibromyalgia to have their vitamin D levels checked. Low vitamin D levels can produce some of the same bone and muscle pain as fibromyalgia or make such fibromyalgia symptoms worse. So make sure you’re getting enough.
Fibromyalgia Diet Tip #6: Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids act to reduce inflammation anywhere in the body. They fight the muscle and joint pain associated with fibromyalgia (and help to avert cardiovascular disease as well.)
You can get Omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements, but you can also get them in the following foods: fresh albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, milk yogurt, eggs, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, flaxseed, avocado, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peanut butter, whole grain breads, and whole grain cereal.
When Your Fibromyalgia Diet is Not Enough
Following the nutritional advice above has helped many a fibromyalgia sufferer, but it must be admitted that by itself, it may not be enough to clear up the symptoms of every patient. But even for those patients, there’s hope.
Today cutting edge medical facilities like the Pain Relief Institute are using stem cell recruitment therapy to address many conditions associated with chronic pain. Stem cell recruitment therapy uses stem cells from the patient’s own body and from amniotic fluid to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue where only damaged tissue was before. It’s a non-invasive procedure with minimal recovery time, and it’s helped many people including fibromyalgia sufferers.
If you’d like to discuss how stem cell replacement therapy might help your fibromyalgia symptoms, we invite you to contact us at the Pain Relief Institute for a consultation.