Q: I have fibromyalgia and basically feel miserable all the time. I’ve not had luck with prescriptions, so I wanted to see if there was anything natural that could help me with the pain and tiredness. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!
A: There are definitely natural supplements which can help! Fibromyalgia is a disorder hallmarked by widespread and chronic muscular and skeletal pain that can also be accompanied by fatigue, depression, headaches, sleep disturbances, and more. Fibromyalgia is difficult to treat, though many people have had good luck with natural products for reducing their symptoms.
The first supplement I’d recommend is S-adenosylmethionine, better known as SAMe (pronounced like “Sammy”). SAMe is necessary for many different processes in the body, and clinical studies have shown benefits for depression, pain, and fatigue- all main issues fibromyalgia patients suffer with. SAMe supplementation usually begins to help with boosting mood and relieving depressive symptoms in the first week, but can take up to six weeks to alleviate overall fibromyalgia symptoms. The body can only produce small amounts of SAMe, so taking additional SAMe as a supplement can make a real difference. It’s important to take SAMe on an empty stomach for best absorption.
Another supplement that can be helpful for people suffering with fibromyalgia is 5-HTP, an amino acid related to tryptophan. 5-HTP works by helping to boost serotonin, the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Increasing levels of 5-HTP in the body can help with reducing depression as well as pain. When taken before bed, 5-HTP has been shown to promote deeper, more restful sleep. Since 5-HTP increases serotonin levels in the body, it is important to not take them with SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, since they work in a similar way; in fact- research has shown 5-HTP to be as effective as prescription antidepressants, but with fewer side effects. The usual recommended dosage for fibromyalgia is 50-100mg three times a day.
Magnesium supplements can be helpful for fibromyalgia, particularly those containing malic acid (a compound in apples and other fruits), since magnesium can help relax the muscles and relieve muscle pain. Most Americans are deficient in this mineral, which can also help with preventing headaches as well as stimulating serotonin production. Studies on fibromyalgia patients who took magnesium malate had a decrease the pain and tenderness that accompanies the disorder. Magnesium is best taken in divided doses, since too much magnesium at one time can cause loose stools.
I hope that helps! Natural products can work very well for people suffering with fibromyalgia because rather than just treating the symptoms they help to bring the body back into balance, treating the whole self rather than just one aspect of the problem.
I'm pleased that fibromyalgia is now being recognized by the medical community as a true disorder. There was a time not very long ago when many medical professionals thought that fibromyalgia was an imaginary disease since it cannot be diagnosed with a specific test. Feel free to stop by the store so we can help you further.