Foods to be used by Patient with Fibromyalgia:
Several studies have shown that patients suffering from Fibromyalgia suffer from nutritional deficiencies. They may be deficient in certain key nutrients like Vitamin C, D, B12 as well as folic acid. They may also suffer from deficiency of essential minerals like Magnesium. If a patient include these essential Vitamins and Minerals in diet it will help in reducing inflammation and also help in building natural defense system of body.
Foods rich in Magnesium:
It includes pumpkin seeds, lots of green leafy vegetables, yogurt or kefir, almonds, and avocados. If a patient takes minimum of three servings of these foods per day it will help ease the discomfort and pain associated with fibromyalgia. (12)
Foods rich in Melatonin: Patients suffering from Fibromyalgia shows the symptoms of sleep disorders so consumption of sleep hormone melatonin is recommended in the diet. It is generally considered safe to consume Melatonin supplements but it should be kept in mind that melatonin can interact with certain other medications, such as, birth control pills, immunosuppressant, diabetic prescriptions and anticoagulants. (13)
Consumption of several foods can help in getting the melatonin. These include: Walnuts, rice, barley, ginger, red wine, bananas, tomatoes, asparagus, fresh mint, mustard seed, tart or sour cherries and cherry juice. Furthermore, researches have shown that deficiencies of magnesium, folate and zinc are associated with lower levels of melatonin. (14)
That’s why it is important for a patient on a fibromyalgia diet to eat foods that are rich in essential nutrients.
Foods rich in Tryptophan: Tryptophan is basically the precursor of serotonin, which is responsible for restful sleep. People often think that tryptophan, can be obtained by consuming turkey but there are also some other healthy foods associate with high levels of tryptophan. These include wild fish, grass-fed dairy, sprouted grain, free range chicken, nuts and sesame seeds.
Coconut Oil: Patients with fibromyalgia should replace all unhealthy fats in the diet with coconut oil. 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil per day should be incorporated in diet. It will help in reducing joint pain, balancing hormones, improving memory and also help in improving overall patient’s brain function. (15)
Drinks and Fermented Foods: Healthy floral balance in the gut can be restored by using Kombucha and other fermented products. As patients suffering from fibromyalgia also suffers from IBS, so it’s important to improve digestion. Furthermore, to get relieve from ‘fibro fog,’ aches and pains kefir and sauerkraut can also be included in the fibromyalgia diet
Wild Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids, some other essential minerals and vitamins can be obtained from Salmon and tuna. Fish oil and wild fish are essential for patients with fibromyalgia and other rheumatoid disorders. In fact, omega-3 supplements help in curbing stiffness, lower depression, reduce joint pain, and also improve mental skills. (16)
Turmeric: Freshly grated turmeric or curcumin can be added to favorite recipes by the patient. Curcumin is the active ingredient famous for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Turmeric should be consumed with black pepper so that patient’s body will be able to absorb it properly.
Ginger: It is proved that ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory spice that helps patients in relieving pain. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment conducted in Miami, scientists found out that participants that were given ginger experienced more reduction in knee pain than those that were given acetaminophen. Furthermore, it is also observed that the group consumed ginger extract experienced more stomach upset than the group who consumed acetaminophen, although digestive upset caused by ginger consumption was mild. So, it is suggested to fibromyalgia patients that they should add fresh ginger to marinades, salad dressings, and other favorite recipes as well. (17)
Natural Therapies for Fibromyalgia Patients:
According to Mark J. Pellegrino, MD of Ohio Pain and Rehabilitation Specialists, there is no magic pill that can cure fibromyalgia symptoms though a balanced approach is important. (18)
To fight the symptoms of fibromyalgia, lifestyle changes, healthy diet and nutritional supplements are all important points that should be kept in mind.
Some of the best supplements for fighting fibromyalgia symptoms as discussed below:
Acetyl L-carnitine (1500 mg/day): Small randomized trial was conducted to test acetyl L-carnitine and duloxetine or Cymbalta on 65 patients with fibromyalgia. Both results shows a general clinical improvement but the study found out that acetyl L-carnitine may also help in improving depression, pain and overall quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. (19)
Magnesium (500 mg/day): As discussed above, deficiency of magnesium is often associated with fibromyalgia. So, increase of magnesium consumption in diet can help in reducing pain and tenderness. Furthermore, it also helps to elevate patient’s energy level and help in reducing both depression and anxiety.
Fish oil is considered as one of the richest natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help fibromyalgia patients in improving brain function, in relieving depression as well as anxiety.
Combo of Turmeric & Black Pepper (1000 mg/day): As discussed previously, it’s important to take turmeric in combination with black pepper. Fortunately, high-quality combination supplements are available. According to the study published in Clinical Nutrition, supplements composed of piperine and curcuminoids significantly helps in improving oxidative status and inflammation. (21)
Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU/day): Deficiency of vitamin D is responsible for chronic pain in some patients. One small study conducted; find out that the control group that consumed the vitamin D supplementation experienced a noticeable reduction in pain. While to confirm this, it is necessary to conduct some larger studies. (22)
Ashwagandha and Rhodiola (500-1000 mg/day): Patients suffering from fibromyalgia commonly shows the symptoms of anxiety, stress, exhaustion and hormone imbalances. These two adaptogens work together and help the patient to respond effectively to stress conditions.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (50 mg 1-3times/day): A review published in Rheumatology International suggests that 5-HTP help in improving fibromyalgia symptoms.
5-Hydroxytryptophan helps to increase deep sleep, by relieving fibromyalgia pain. It actually works by supporting the healthy levels of serotonin in the patient’s brain. In the body tryptophan is important precursor of 5-HTP, but it cannot be obtained by consuming foods rich in tryptophan. So, patient should take its supplement.
According to the findings of small placebo-controlled study regarding fibromyalgia and 5-Hydroxytryptophan, fibromyalgia symptoms can be improved by using supplements. 5-HTP supplements are made from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia which are generally regarded as safe for most of the individuals. (23)
Life Style Changes for Fibromyalgia Patients:
For some patients with fibromyalgia medications like anti-depressants, pain killers and anti-seizures drugs may not provide perfect solution. Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation reported a research that treatment through medication sometimes proved to be ineffective due to cumbersome side effects. In this scenario combination of drugs treatments and alternative therapies provide the best solution. (3435)
Some of the life styles habits that can be helpful for patients with fibromyalgia are discussed below:
Moderate and Regular Exercise: Many patients that suffer from midst flare of fibromyalgia the last thing that sounds appealing to them is regular exercise. Regular moderate exercise such as swimming, walking, yoga, Pilates and biking can help in relieving stress and pain.
According to the study published in the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation archives there is a strong relationship between fibromyalgia and physical fitness. Patients with higher physical fitness are seemed to be consistently associated with less severe symptoms of fibromyalgia. (24)
Yoga: According to eight-week study conducted on yoga benefits it is proved that yoga is very beneficial for fibromyalgia patients. In one of the journal named Pain researchers linked yoga with decreased level of fibromyalgia pain.(234)
A study published in Journal of Pain Research concluded that if a patient takes 75 minutes yoga session, twice per week it will help in reducing fibromyalgia pain.
Additionally it alters the total cortisol level in patients with fibromyalgia and help in increasing mindfulness. (25)
Acupuncture: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published the article that suggests that acupuncture also help in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms.
This therapy has been used to relieve pain for about 2500 years ago. It helps in increasing relaxation with many more associated benefits. A small study conducted regarding acupuncture benefits proved that it is an effective and safe treatment for immediate reduction of fibromyalgia pain. Researchers believe that acupuncture session results in release of opioid peptides from patient’s body that restores normal body balance and also help in relieving pain. Many researchers also believe that this is actually the natural response of body for managing pain. When patient is unable to manage body balance and energy, acupuncture therapy can be very helpful. (26)
Massage Therapy: Regular massage helps patients by reducing their heart rate. It also improves patient’s range of motion, relieves pain and reduces depression and anxiety. Furthermore, to get complete relief weekly massages is recommended.
Researchers believe that meditation may involve in changing the way of brain functioning which will help in improving fibromyalgia symptoms. Current Pain and Headache Reports published a research review that provides the evidence that meditation can improve fibromyalgia associated pain. Meditation helps in providing the deep rest and relaxation by calming the patient’s mind and by easing of patient’s body. This ultimately results in self-healing of patient’s body.(15)
Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy (MLDT): A small study regarding MLDT published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics find out that MLDT helps in the movement of lymph fluid through the body which will ultimately help in elimination of waste and toxins from patient’s body. As a result body will be clear of wastes and toxins which will stimulate healing power of patient and also help in relieving many symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. (27)
Essential oils: To treat wide range of symptoms and conditions associated with fibromyalgia essential oils are proved to be effective. Use of essential oils helps in reducing pain and relieving stress. Helicrysum oil in combination with coconut oil when used by patients for massage into sore areas it will help in improving patient’s blood circulation, furthermore it also support the healing of nerve tissues and reduce muscle’s pain.
Lavender oil: It is well known to help in relieving emotional stress, improving sleep and reducing anxiety. To get relieve from fibromyalgia pain it should be used in the form of homemade muscle rub and further to improve the sleep quality it can be used in a diffuser in the bedroom.
Moist heat: Moist heat helps in boosting blood flow to the painful areas of the body, and as a result help in providing relief from fibromyalgia pain. Furthermore, fibromyalgia pain can also be decreased by taking warm baths with few drops of essential oils in it. Moist heating pads and showers can also be helpful.
Patients should get some sunshine: To increase the level of Vitamin D naturally, patient should make a habit of taking sunshine for about 10-20 minutes regularly. While getting sunshine patient should not wear sunscreen because doing this will not allow sun rays to reach patient’s body.
The biggest challenge in fibromyalgia treatment is that patient should keep his/her hope alive to struggle courageously with disease symptoms. Researchers are continuously working to find out answers regarding the treatment of this debilitating condition. World’s leading researchers are talking about natural treatments for fibromyalgia, many of which are disused above. Furthermore, health care professionals across the globe consistently, recommend alternative therapies to cure fibromyalgia such as lifestyle changes, natural supplements, and diet. Basically, the key is that patient should find out the right combination of these therapies that works to help in relieving disease symptoms.