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7 Vitamins for Fibromyalgia
Seven clinically- proven vitamins and minerals are known to naturally reduce the pain and symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome.
Fbromyalgia Syndrome, or FMS, is a highly complex disease which manifests at least thirty- nine different symptoms. With so many symptoms presenting, vitamin deficiencies are often discovered during the diagnosis process. Although no vitamin on its own will treat or cure fibromyalgia, a long list of the “best” vitamins for fibromyalgia can be useful in treating the disease. At the very least, these vitamins and minerals have clinical support to help naturally reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
The medical faculty in the Department of Biophysics at Suleyman Demirel University in Isparta, Turkey, discovered in 2010 that Vitamins C and E, coupled with exercise, reduced stress in fibromyalgia patients. The two vitamins do this by up- regulating the antioxidant redox system in the bloodstream. The stress reduction was more noticeable in the presence of Vitamins C and E than in exercise alone.
In the previous year, Cell Biochemistry and Function published clinical findings that patients with fibromyalgia were significantly deficient in Vitamins A and E. It was also noted that in the blood of fibromyalgia patients, free radicals were stealing “good” electrons from fat cells, causing oxidative stress, or what is commonly referred to as free radical damage to cells.
The study suggested that by supplying fat soluble antioxidant vitamins, such as Vitamin A and E, cell loss and damage could be reduced in fibromyalgia. A medical study published in Redox Report supports the above study. The level of oxidative stress is much higher in fibromyalgia patients than in healthy adults.
Scientists believe that oxidative stress contributes to the pain levels experienced in fibromyalgia, and suggest that Vitamins A, C, and E may help reduce free radical damage.
Scientific research indicates a strong correlation between fibromyalgia and Vitamin D deficiency. The Saudi Medical Journal reported in 2011 that 61 out of 100 women with fibromyalgia had a Vitamin D deficiency as well. The study also noted that most of the women did not significantly improve their fibromyalgia symptoms until their serum levels of Vitamin D reached well over 50 ng/ml. The Journal of Pakistan Medical Association reports similar findings.
Out of forty women with fibromyalgia, thirty- two had a Vitamin D deficiency. The results were so astounding to the scientists, they recommended testing the entire population for Vitamin D deficiency. Medpage Today reports the link between Vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain, and notes that only 15% of fibromyalgia patients had adequate levels of Vitamin D.
Doctors attending the British Society for Rheumatology convention have been encouraged to treat all of their fibromyalgia patients with Vitamin D deficiency. The Vitamin D Council recommends a high dose Vitamin D therapy of 7,000 IU every day for eight weeks to help relieve the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Although not technically a “vitamin” for fibromyalgia, magnesium has been identified as a crucial mineral. Magnesium can be easily lost for both physical and emotional reasons, because of the hormones and other chemicals released in the presence of stress. Magnesium deficiency is associated with sleep deprivation, according to the medical journal Clinical Cardiology.
Magnesium is also crucial in stabilizing ATP. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, acts as a coenzyme which transports cellular energy for metabolism. Without magnesium, ATP breaks down, causing a lack of energy. Low ATP levels also cause brain cognitive dysfunction, often referred to as “fibro fog,” and muscle dysfunction. Without magnesium to balance calcium, fibromyalgia patients experience muscle cramps, twitches, and spasms.
The University of Maryland Medical Center lists magnesium deficiency symptoms that parallel those of fibromyalgia: restless leg syndrome, Vitamin D deficiency, migraines, anxiety, nausea, mood swings, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, and confusion. A Japanese study conducted at St. Marianna University School of Medicine showed that an oral administration of magnesium helped to improve exercise tolerance in sleep deprived patients, both of which are symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 400mg magnesium for young men, 420mg for men over age 30, 310 mg for young women, and 320mg for women over age 30. For females with fibromyalgia, 400mg magnesium on a daily basis is a recommended starting point, adjusting either upwards or downwards according to individual results.
The Annals of Pharmacology published a case study showing the benefits of high- dose magnesium for pain relief. If well- tolerated, up to 1000mg of magnesium per day, from easily available sources, may be of benefit for people with fibromyalgia. A common problem with taking too much magnesium, either in the form of Epsom salts or in supplement form, is diarrhea.
Magnesium does have a laxative effect on the bowels. If the bowels become too loose, a smaller amount of magnesium is needed. Some websites recommend spreading doses of magnesium out through the day.
Calcium works in tangent with magnesium. The latest medical research, championed by magnesium expert Caroline Dean, M.D., N.D., says that calcium should be taken at a 1:1 ratio with magnesium, rather than the formerly suggested 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. This is because most people in the United States who are concerned about calcium levels eat a high calcium diet in addition to supplementation. The added calcium from foods pushes the calcium: magnesium ratio up from 2:1 to 4:1 or even 5:1. In order for calcium to be absorbed in the body, it must be balanced with magnesium in the proper amounts.
Without magnesium, calcium can be deposited outside the bones as bone spurs, in joint tissues, in the kidneys as kidney stones, and in soft tissues. Improper ratios between calcium and magnesium can actually lead to osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis- hardening of the arteries. The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health suggest that healthy women get 1000 mg calcium each day below the age of 50, and 1200 mg calcium daily after the age of 50. This amount of calcium can be obtained exclusively from food quite easily.
One cup of yogurt contains a full third of the body’s daily requirement for usable calcium. Mozzarella and cheddar cheese are also high in calcium, also with one- third of the daily requirement for dietary calcium. Non- dairy sources of food that are high in calcium include canned pink salmon, canned sardines, fresh raw kale, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli. One of the most surprising sources of calcium is a full glass of orange juice, which provides a full third of a healthy mature woman's calcium requirements each day, and almost half of a healthy adult male’s requirements.
The calcium, iron, copper, and manganese hair analysis study The Journal of Korean Medical Science published a 2001 study on hair analysis for women with fibromyalgia. The hair analysis showed that the fibromyalgia patients had much lower levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese than women in the well- matched control group.
For fibromyalgia, vitamin and mineral deficiency is an obvious symptom of concern. There have been no follow up studies involving copper and manganese for fibromyalgia. Follow- up studies testing iron deficiency in fibromyalgia patients, such as the 2011 Clinical Rheumatology report, show that there is no evidence to support iron supplementation in patients with fibromyalgia.
The recommended daily allowance of sodium for a healthy person is 2300 mg per day. For people on a low salt diet, the recommended daily allowance is only 1500mg per day. Many people have been led to believe that salt is “bad,” and should be restricted.
This is true for sodium chloride, or regular refined table salt. Sea salt, though marketed as being healthier than refined salt, has roughly the same amount of sodium chloride as refined salt. The true advantage in sea salt, according to the Mayo Clinic, is that the original trace minerals during salt harvesting is left in. This improves the salt’s taste, making it the preferred salt in gourmet recipes. Refined salt products take out these minerals in order to make the salt whiter in color and easier to pour. However, there are different ways to get sodium.
Sodium citrate is a salt with a different chemical makeup than sodium chloride. Its taste is more sour than sodium chloride. There is also sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, and sodium- rich foods. The medical journal Clinical Science published a clinical study involving the effects of salt-loading on insulin levels.
A noted side effect of salt loading was that the sodium lowered the activity in the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in lower levels of noradrenaline (norepinephrine) found in the urine and bloodstream. The sympathetic nervous system is elevated in fibromyalgia. The body produces too much norepinephrine, triggering extreme pain level signals in the brain. In 2011, researchers in the Department of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas were able to demonstrate that sodium oxybate was able to reduce pain, sleep disturbances, and fatigue in fibromyalgia patients.
This study suggests that sodium may be one of the best “vitamins” for fibromyalgia pain. Increased sodium can be obtained safely and organically by consuming foods known to be high in sodium. Just a few sodium- rich foods include:
SAM-e is an amino acid produced by methionine and ATP and is a major source of energy in every cell in the body. SAM-e is not available through food and is made by the body. Researchers have been able to isolate the acid and offer it in injectable and oral forms. Research has shown that when SAM-e is given to patients with fibromyalgia, they report lessened pain and feelings of depression. Some studies have also found that SAM-e could also boost restful sleep.
L-carnitine is an amino acid found mainly in meats and dairy. L-carnitine provides healing and growth in muscles and is responsible for boosting tissue strength. In one randomized trial, when women with fibromyalgia were given L-carnitine supplements and a prescription medication for managing fibromyalgia pain, it was the women who supplemented with L-carnitine who reported the biggest reduction in muscle pain, depression, and improvements in quality of life.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids have been linked in multiple studies to reduce the pain and suffering of fibromyalgia patients. When combined with magnesium, Alpha Hydroxy Acid was able to significantly reduce pain in numerous fibromyalgia patients. Researchers are not sure why Alpha Hydroxy Acid can reduce pain, but it also has benefits for skin.
Ascorbigen is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables. The compound is linked with reducing pain and tenderness in fibromyalgia patients. Numerous studies have found that when fibromyalgia patients supplemented with ascorbigen, their symptoms were reduced in just a few weeks.
Capiscum is a compound found in spicy foods. The compound has an antioxidant effect in the body and also fights inflammation in pain. Patients with fibromyalgia may find symptoms are reduced when supplementing with capiscum.
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that comes in two forms. Form 1, vitamin K1, is found in dark, leafy greens. Vitamin K2 is found in meat and dairy products. Both forms of the vitamin are essential to health. In fibromyalgia patients, vitamin K was shown to benefit all symptoms of the condition. When participants increased their vitamin K intake through the consumption of chlorella tablets, their symptoms showed significant improvement.
Coenzyme Q-10 is an enzyme that researchers suggest may help manage fibromyalgia pain. The enzyme is responsible for boosting the immune system, providing muscle support, and removing oxidation from the body. The enzyme's muscle support may be the biggest benefit to fibromyalgia patients, who often report, weak, tender, and sore muscles.
Some cases of fibromyalgia may be triggered by inflammation. If inflammation is a cause, increasing DHEA intake can help counteract some of that damage. DHEA is also the form of omega 3 fatty acid used most to support brain health.
If your muscles feel sore and weak, adding additional sources of creatine protein could help manage some of the pain and weakness associated with fibromyalgia. However, the protein can only strengthen muscles, it will not relieve pain or cut down on other symptoms. However, stronger muscles may make it easier to complete day-to-day tasks that are necessary to function normally.
D-ribose is a form of carbohydrate that is highly effective in managing fibromyalgia pain. Studies indicate that adding additional D-ribose to your diet can improve energy, sleep, and mental clarity. It also boosts overall well-being, fights depression, and lessens pain intensity. This simple carbohydrate packs a powerful punch in the fight against fibromyalgia pain.
Tryptophan is a precursor to 5-HTP and serotonin. Serotonin is an essential brain chemical that, when lacking, is thought to play a big role in the amount of pain a person with fibromyalgia feels. A lack of serotonin also makes it easier to become depressed and harder to sleep at night. Boosting 5-HTP levels will raise serotonin levels naturally. A study published in Alternative Medicine Review found that supplementing with 5-HTP was able to reduce depression, anxiety, and insomnia in individuals with fibromyalgia. The easiest way to do this through diet is by adding foods high in tryptophan to your diet.
Women and men with fibromyalgia often report feeling anxious, exhausted, and stressed most of the time in addition to their pain symptoms. Research suggests that a higher intake of B vitamins could help alleviate some of these symptoms. In particular, B vitamins help restore energy and help the body respond effectively to stress.
If you are suffering from Fibromyalgia, there is no cure. However, there are many lifestyle techniques that can help you get through the worst days. Research suggests that a lack of vitamins can contribute to pain, anxiety, weakness, and exhaustion. Boosting your vitamin levels will help alleviate some of the worst symptoms of fibromyalgia and help you live a normal life again
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