What can you tell me about Fibromyalgia and how best to treat it?
Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood disorder that affects about 5.7 million Americans. It is characterized by widespread chronic muscle aches and pains, increased sensitivity to pain, morning stiffness, and fatigue. There is also a strong connection with difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression among sufferers of this disease. The disease is much more common in women (85-90%) than men. At present, there is no known cure for this disease because the symptoms cannot be traced to a specific cause. Researchers suspect that there are multiple factors causing this condition.
There has been research looking into the possibility that low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are a key factor in the fibromyalgia symptom complex. There has also been research into decreased levels of growth hormone as a causation of fibromyalgia. These studies continue but new ideas continue to evolve.
The most recent investigation into the cause of the muscle aches and pains due to fibromyalgia lies in the body's energy production system. Fatigue is a common complaint in fibromyalgia. If the body is deficient in producing energy from normal energy rich foods, it breaks down muscle protein to create energy. Any breakdown in muscle protein can result in muscle pain and stiffness.
Several nutrients play key roles in the energy production process within the body. This is a very complex process. The B complex vitamins play an essential role in releasing energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Magnesium is an essential mineral that also plays a key role in may of the reactions leading to energy production, as does malic acid. Malic acid is found abundantly in apples other fruit and vegetables. Low levels of magnesium have been found in many patients who suffer from fibromyalgia.
The role of alternative medicine in treating fibromyalgia is growing. Exercise and massage therapy have produced positive results. The role of supplements is also producing positive results. Until we know the exact causes of this disease, it is important that we make sure there are no nutritional deficits that are contributing to this disease. Fifty percent of the individuals who supplemented additional B complex, vitamin D, malic acid and magnesium to the diet noted improvement. There are no safety issues or side effects involved. These are nutrients already in our body. The plan is to make sure the body of these nutrients to function normally.
John Mamana, M.D
CEO, American Health Sciences