The role of nutrition in the management of Fibromyalgia cannot be overemphasized. Research has shown that the supplementation of certain vitamins, amino acids and minerals significantly decreases overall muscle pain and stiffness. In addition these products can also help to reduce fatigue and help Fibro patients obtain a better quality of sleep. It is extremely important for people with Fibromyalgia to not haphazardly take multiple nutritional products with the expectation that “one of these products is sure to make me feel better”. This “shotgun” type of approach is often extremely counter productive because people with Fibromyalgia are often very sensitive to major nutritional changes.
When patients are accessed at our office to see what path they need to take nutritionally, a great deal of attention is paid to what area of the syndrome needs to be addressed first. There is most often a step-by-step process because with Fibromyalgia there are usually several factors involved and they need to be treated independently.
Food and the Fibro Patient
There have been many studies done of people with Fibromyalgia and similar syndromes concerning foods and how the body processes nutrients. It appears that one of the problems associated with Fibro patients is the fact that many of them have difficulty processing and breaking down their foods and obtaining the full nutritional benefit from what they consume. It is also apparent that people with these syndromes are incredibly sensitive to certain foods and need to minimize their consumption or avoid them completely. We know that many of them have an associated condition called irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and this can also contribute to poor digestion and utilization of nutrients. There are however ways to bring the digestive system back into a healthy balance. One of the best ways of doing that is through eating the right foods at the right times.
As a general rule it is best to avoid processed foods and foods that are high in preservatives and sugars. The more refined the foods are, the less beneficial they will be for Fibro patients. We have seen through much research that the elimination of foods that contain MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartame has led to major improvements in Fibro patients. These chemicals actually act as neurotoxins and interupt nerve transmission at the the synapses. The American College of Nutrition published a study in Oct 2001 that showed that food intolerances may play a major role in the aggravation of Fibromyalgia symptoms.
This is not to say that people with Fibro have food allergies. Intolerances act differently than allergies and not suddenly but over a period of several days. There are a number of ways for people to test themselves for food intolerances but one of the best ways we have found is through the “elimination and then challenge technique”. This takes time and patience but can be extremely rewarding for long term healing.
As stated above, the other condition closely associated with Fibro is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Irritable bowel means that the GI system is acting either too fast or too slow. IBS is therefore considered a condition of motility. When this syndrome seems to be one of the main presenting symptoms in our Fibro patients, it is crucial that we deal with that issue first in order for the body to heal, get back into balance and derive maximum benefit from what is consumed.
For anyone interested in learning more about the nutritional approach to managing Fibromyalgia they can explore this site for free. Here at functionaldoctornj.com we intend to help educate people with Fibro and related syndromes in order that they can better manage their own conditions. All of the latest information that Dr. Guariglia derives from his research and the societies and organizations he belongs to, he will pass along.