– What You Need to Know (Part 3 of 3)
by Loretta Lanphier, NP, CN, HHP, CH
Best Years in Life)
Imagine waking up every morning feeling worn out, achy, and depressed. The
fatigue never seems to go away, and anxiety is a constant companion because
you just don’t understand what is wrong with you. You’re scared and
confused. If it’s this bad now, what will tomorrow bring? This is the
experience many people describe who now know that the mysterious symptoms
they were suffering from have a name: Fibromyalgia (FM). Once you can put a
name to it and begin to understand it, there is hope of managing it and
getting your life back. Part 3 of a 3 part series.
More Natural Health Suggestions for Fibromyalgia
Boosting Serotonin Levels
seems to be beneficial to most patients. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is
a supplement that when ingested converts into serotonin in the body. One
study indicated that most patients experienced significant improvement
in pain, sleeplessness, anxiety, and fatigue after taking 100 mg. three
times per day for 30 days. Results were even better after 90 days.
is another big player in supplemental remedies. Since magnesium is so
important to the fibromyalgia patient, I would like to park here and
talk a bit more about this mineral and how to get more of it in your
diet. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
It is particularly critical to proper production and metabolism of
energy (ATP) and muscle functions. Most fibromyalgia patients are
deficient in magnesium. This creates fatigue and a lack of energy, as
well as muscle pain. In review, magnesium makes such a difference in the
lives of fibro patients because it is so critical in metabolism of
energy and in proper muscle function. It can be found in high
concentrations in many foods, including beans, nuts, grains, fish,
grass-fed meat, and dark green vegetables such as avocados, broccoli,
and spinach. Deficiency can also lead to irregular heartbeat, nerve
disorders, and circulation problems. Magnesium also works with calcium,
and enables it to be absorbed properly into the body. Vitamin B6 should
also be taken along with any magnesium supplements, as B6 works to allow
greater absorption of magnesium into the cells. I use and recommend
magnesium orotate taken orally and
applied transdermally. Patients with fibromyalgia should consider having
a red blood cell magnesium test to ensure that they are not deficient in
this important nutrient.
– Since those with fibromyalgia syndrome have impaired mobility, they
usually get less exposure to sunlight. This contributes to the vitamin D
deficiency frequently observed in this population (Bhatty 2010, Olama
2013). In one trial involving 100 women with fibromyalgia, 61% were
found to be vitamin D deficient (blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D •
B-vitamins – B-vitamins were reported in a survey to be used by a
quarter of fibromyalgia patients (Wahner-Roedler 2005). Homocysteine
levels are kept in check by adequate B-vitamin intake. In one study,
women with fibromyalgia were shown to have higher levels of homocysteine
in their cerebrospinal fluid than healthy controls (Regland 1997). Other
evidence indicates that a Myers’ Cocktail, which consists of an
intravenous infusion of several vitamins (i.e., B-complex vitamins), may
be useful in fibromyalgia (Gaby 2002; Ali 2009). Also, B-vitamins are
essential for maintaining optimal mitochondrial function (Depeint 2006).
is a substance found in many fruits, with especially high levels in
apples. It is involved in the production of energy in the body. When
malic acid levels are low, the body turns to less efficient ways of
making energy, and this causes lactic acid to accumulate. Lactic acid
causes muscle pain and fatigue. Supplementation with a combination of
magnesium orotate and malic acid is especially effective.
Increasing Nitric Oxide Levels.
Researchers from Washington State University were successful in
decreasing fibromyalgia pain by increasing the production of nitric
oxide (NO) from endothelial cells. NO delivers nutrients to muscles by
dilating blood vessels. Patients with fibromyalgia have low levels of
nitric oxide. This deprives their muscles of oxygen-rich blood and
nutrients. Eventually, harmful toxins build-up and cause debilitating
pain. Supplements found to increase nitric oxide are pomegranate
extract, cocoa polyphenols and Super-Oxide Dismutase (SOD).
Coenzyme Q10 and Ginkgo Biloba
combined shows great promise. One study found that 64% of subjects
experienced significant relief from symptoms after taking these
is a substance that is important to energy production as well. Many
fibromyalgia patients are deficient in this. Supplementation of 500-1000
mg. daily for 12 weeks has proven useful.
can help to address SIBO which is small intestinal bacteria overgrowth.
SIBO leads to systemic overproduction and absorption of toxins that
impair brain/nerve and muscle mitochondrial functions. Bacterial
overgrowth produces Dlactic acid which is a neurotoxin as well as a
metabolic poison in abnormal amounts. It can cause fatigue, muscle pain
and problems with cognition. Bacterial overgrowth can produce hydrogen
sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is also a neurotoxin / metabolic poison and
can also cause fatigue, muscle pain and dyscognition. Bacterial
overgrowth can produce tryptophanase. Tryptophanase digests tryptophan
which is the main building block for serotonin and ultimately melatonin.
The literature shows that “fibromyalgia patients have been shown to be
low in tryptophan which means poor sleep and increases in pain, fatigue,
carbohydrate cravings, and depression. Tryptophan depletion leads to
melatonin deficiency which in turn leads to sleep disturbances,
mitochondrial impairment and oxidative stress as well as muscle
fatigue.” Migraine Headaches,
Hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia: Assessments and Therapeutic Approaches
using Integrative Chiropractic, Naturopathic, Osteopathic and Functional
Medicine by Dr. Alex Vasquez.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
are helpful too. Clean fish oil, flaxseed oil, and primrose oil are good
sources for EFA’s. These fatty acids aid in producing series 1 and 3
prostaglandins which help reduce inflammation. Stay away from animal
fats in the diet, as these spawn series 2 prostaglandins, which increase
acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps with muscle and joint pain.
Researchers have also discovered that ginger may stymie the growth of
“Substance P,” which is a pain mediator found at elevated levels in many
St. John’s Wort
helps many patients with both depression and sleeplessness. It also
works well in conjunction with 5-HTP and magnesium.
is a therapy that is helpful in many cases. Some love it, but others
complain that it is painful for them at times. Everyone is different,
and as is the nature of fibromyalgia, one’s levels and locations of pain
vary. A massage therapist must be sensitive to this when working on a
subject. Short sessions are usually best. Some have even taught family
members what works best for them. A form called “deep muscle massage” is
preferred by many. It’s wonderful to have a masseuse right on the
premises! (That would be nice for all of us, fibro or not). Heat
therapy, cold therapy, sauna therapy and hydrotherapy (warm baths) are
often used either standing alone or in combination with massage.
Chiropractors aim to correct
misalignments of the spine and pelvis through the use of hands-on
adjustments. As joint motion improves, fibromyalgia patients often
discover that the excruciating pain can be reduced or, in some cases,
eliminated. Once this pain is under control, other symptoms associated
with fibromyalgia such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, and depression may
diminish. Chiropractic care has helped thousands of patients return to
their normal lives. Retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, the first woman
General in the U.S. Army to command in Iraq, suffered from fibromyalgia
during her service. She states: “The adjustments and nutritional advice
I received from my chiropractor helped in treating the fibromyalgia and
made me feel better on a day-to-day basis.”
is also found useful by some patients. A soak in a hot tub with
essential oils of lavender, frankincense, juniper, or chamomile can be
soothing to both the body and the spirit.
Before embarking on any of the above
recommendations, I highly recommend consulting with a knowledgeable
Naturopath, Functional Medicine Doctor or Chiropractor in which you can
discuss your symptoms, this article as well as getting help and guidance in
monitoring your path to wellness. Often the success or failure of any
protocol can be partially linked to knowledgeable guidance, high amounts of
encouragement and frequent accountability.
Lanphier, NP, CN, CH, HHP is a Naturopathic Practitioner, Clinical
Nutritionist, Clinical Herbalist and Holistic Health Practitioner as well as
a stage III cancer survivor since 2000, she understands the necessity of
providing the body with what it needs to repair and heal. Loretta is
dedicated to helping people create lasting changes in their health and
well-being through whole body nutritional balancing, physician strength
supplementation and up-to-date natural health education and modalities.
Loretta is Editor and contributor to the worldwide e-newsletter Advanced
Health & Wellnessand
her new health and wellness blogExhibit
Health. She is also a co-moderator of our Yahoo Health Group
focused on cancer,