What Works for Fibromyalgia?

What Works for Fibromyalgia?

Not long ago, many conventional health providers believed that fibromyalgia, a debilitatingly painful condition, was “all in your head.” Because researchers couldn’t pin down this elusive diagnosis, symptoms were often classified as “mental.”    

Now, however, science is catching up and highlighting what these patients have known all along: Fibromyalgia is very real, often with unbearable symptoms that can make daily life a struggle.1 Because of how stressful this condition can be, fibromyalgia is still considered to have a real psychological component, but this time, science is validating the reason: The pain of fibromyalgia can often cause heightened mental and emotional distress.  

The numbers speak for themselves. Over 4 million people, mainly women, struggle with this exasperating condition. And for many, it took years to properly diagnose and treat.2  

For many fibromyalgia patients, symptoms may flare up unexpectedly. Some days, it may be so painful that you can barely function, and normal self-care activities can seem impossible. Not only that, but fibromyalgia raises your risk for other conditions.3 

Fibromyalgia patients are: 

  • Twice as likely to be hospitalized 
  • Have a 300% greater risk of major depression 
  • Develop other painful conditions3 
  • Struggle with employment 
  • Often take multiple medications4 with negative side effects 

But there is hope. Integrative medicine offers a number of approaches that can make a difference in giving you back your life quality by reducing the plethora of symptoms. 

Fibromyalgia Symptoms Disrupt Your Life 

More than 60 debilitating symptoms characterize this elusive condition. The most prevalent among these is persistent, excruciating pain in the body. Other symptoms include:  

  • Tactile sensitivity 
  • Sensory overload 
  • Debilitating fatigue 
  • Depression 
  • Memory and cognitive issues, aka “fibro fog” 
  • Headaches and migraines 
  • Jaw pain, including TMJ (temporomandibular joint)  
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) 
  • Numbness and tingling in limbs 
  • Muscle fatigue 
  • Nerve twitches 
  • Flu symptoms 
  • Sleep problems
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Speech problems 

Researchers are only now starting to understand some of the possible causes behind fibromyalgia, and two major theories currently stand:  

1) Chronic inflammation5,6 — particularly in the brain (aka neuroinflammation)  

2) Gut dysbiosis, aka unhealthy gut microbiome7,8 — an imbalance in the trillions of microbes in your gut 

Now that we better understand what may cause fibromyalgia, we can develop targeted, holistic strategies to restore healthy function—and quality of life. 

Steps to Manage Fibromyalgia Symptoms 

If you’ve struggling to get relief from fibromyalgia, these integrative strategies could make a significant difference. As you probably already know, the prescription drugs prescribed for fibromyalgia generally offer minimal relief… but come with a laundry list of unwanted side effects.  

With these holistic steps, you’ll get the opposite: No risk of dangerous side effects, and a wealth of potential benefits for your health and vitality.  

1. Anti-inflammatory diet 

Research shows that following a vegetarian, vegan, low calorie diet may help ease some fibromyalgia symptoms.9 At the same time, try to eliminate these inflammatory foods that can trigger symptoms:  

  • Sugar 
  • Gluten 
  • Trans fats 
  • Refined carbohydrates 
  • Processed meats 

2.  Reduce chronic inflammation at the source—with Modified Citrus Pectin 

System-wide, chronic inflammation is triggered, and driven, by a master alarm protein in the body called galectin-3. Blocking galectin-3’s pro-inflammatory signals helps reduce painful inflammation, including neuro-inflammation—a key driver of the most difficult fibromyalgia symptoms.  

The researched form of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) enters the bloodstream and binds/blocks galectin-3 more effectively than any other compound studied.10 By halting the destruction of out-of-control galectin-3, MCP reduces and reverses  inflammation and its long-term damage, and in doing so, can help reduce fibromyalgia pain. On top of that, MCP balances and reins in overactive immune function,11 while actively supporting healthy immune responses. In this way, MCP defends against infections that can complicate fibromyalgia, while preventing immune system overreactions and subsequent damage to organs and tissues.  

3. Calm neuro-inflammation with pure honokiol 

Honokiol is a potent compound extracted from magnolia bark, with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier12 and directly reduce brain inflammation (neuroinflammation) characteristic of fibromyalgia.13 Honokiol helps regulate overactive pain signals14 your body receives when you suffer from fibromyalgia. 

At the same time, honokiol helps reduce other fibromyalgia symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Honokiol shows potent anti-depressant15 and anti-anxiety16 properties, without being habit forming. It also helps promote deep REM sleep—essential for those who struggle to fall asleep, and stay asleep.17  

4. Healthy stress relief 

Chronic stress can aggravate the symptoms of any condition, but with fibromyalgia, stress can be particularly difficult. Calming your body’s stress with regular practices such as these, can improve your stress response and help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically: 

5. Restore gut and microbiome integrity with a high-quality probiotic elixir 

When your gut microbiome is imbalanced—aka dysbiosis—harmful bacteria, fungi and other microbes in your gut outnumber the friendly ones. Dysbiosis is now linked to numerous whole-body problems, from GI distress and immune dysfunction, to anxiety and fibromyalgia flare-ups.18,19  

A healthy GI system is essential for neurological wellness. Your gut manufactures important neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA that support mood and brain function. A diverse, thriving gut microbiome can also put an end to GI problems, like diarrhea and indigestion, that can aggravate other fibro symptoms.  

In my practice, I rely on a powerful liquid pre + probiotic formula to dramatically improve  gut microbiome and overall GI health. This certified organic probiotic formula delivers unparalleled results for gut health and overall wellness, and has effectively eliminated long-standing digestive problems for many of my patients. The reason it works so well is thanks to its unique, synergistic formula: 

  • Fermented digestive botanicals including fennel, ginger and others support optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, a strong protective gut barrier, and relief from digestive discomfort 
  • 8 live clinically-studied lactobacillus probiotic strains enhance the beneficial bacteria population in your gut  
  • Organic acids support optimal acid pH in your GI tract so beneficial bacteria can grow and flourish… and pathogenic bacteria can’t 
  • Modified citrus pectin supplies prebiotic superfood for the probiotic bacteria  

This powerful combination of active, gut-strengthening ingredients allows for the successful colonization of beneficial bacteria and promotes a thriving gut microbiome. 

The more we learn about fibromyalgia and its potential triggers and complications, the better equipped we’ll be to get the upper hand on this increasingly prevalent condition. These tools listed here can help provide healthy relief, while reducing risks of other conditions and supporting overall wellness in the process.  

Sources: 

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Häuser W, Sarzi-Puttini P, Fitzcharles MA. Fibromyalgia syndrome: under-, over- and misdiagnosis. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2019 Jan-Feb;37 Suppl 116(1):90-97. Epub 2019 Feb 8. PMID: 30747096. 

3Jahan F, Nanji K, Qidwai W, Qasim R. Fibromyalgia syndrome: an overview of pathophysiology, diagnosis and management. Oman Med J. 2012;27(3):192-195. doi:10.5001/omj.2012.44 

Boomershine CS. The FIBRO System: A Rapid Strategy for Assessment and Management of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2010;2(4):187-200. doi:10.1177/1759720X10374437. 

5 Coskun Benlidayi I. Role of inflammation in the pathogenesis and treatment of fibromyalgia. Rheumatol Int. 2019 May;39(5):781-791.  

Bäckryd E, Tanum L, Lind AL, Larsson A, Gordh T. Evidence of both systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation in fibromyalgia patients, as assessed by a multiplex protein panel applied to the cerebrospinal fluid and to plasma. J Pain Res. 2017 Mar 3;10:515-525.  

7 Malatji BG, Mason S, Mienie LJ, Wevers RA, Meyer H, van Reenen M, Reinecke CJ. The GC-MS metabolomics signature in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome directs to dysbiosis as an aspect contributing factor of FMS pathophysiology. Metabolomics. 2019 Mar 27;15(4):54.  

Erdrich S, Hawrelak JA, Myers SP, Harnett JE. Determining the association between fibromyalgia, the gut microbiome and its biomarkers: A systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2020 Mar 20;21(1):181.  

Silva AR, Bernardo A, Costa J, Cardoso A, Santos P, de Mesquita MF, Vaz Patto J, Moreira P, Silva ML, Padrão P. Dietary interventions in fibromyalgia: a systematic review. Ann Med. 2019;51(sup1):2-14. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2018.1564360. PMID: 30735059. 

10 Liljebo T, Störsrud S, Andreasson A. Presence of Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs) in commonly eaten foods: extension of a database to indicate dietary FODMAP content and calculation of intake in the general population from food diary data. BMC Nutr. 2020 Sep 18;6:47.  

11 Lu Y, Zhang M, Zhao P, et al. Modified citrus pectin inhibits galectin-3 function to reduce atherosclerotic lesions in apoE-deficient mice. Mol Med Rep. 2017;16(1):647-653. doi:10.3892/mmr.2017.6646. 

12. Eliaz I, Raz A. Pleiotropic Effects of Modified Citrus Pectin. Nutrients. 2019 Nov 1;11(11):2619. doi: 10.3390/nu11112619. PMID: 31683865; PMCID: PMC6893732. 

13. Woodbury A, Yu SP, Wei L, García P. Neuro-modulating effects of honokiol: a review. Front Neurol. 2013;4:130. Published 2013 Sep 11. doi:10.3389/fneur.2013.00130. 

14. Theoharides TC, Tsilioni I, Bawazeer M. Mast Cells, Neuroinflammation and Pain in Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Front Cell Neurosci. 2019 Aug 2;13:353.  

15. Khalid S, Ullah MZ, Khan AU, et al. Antihyperalgesic Properties of Honokiol in Inflammatory Pain Models by Targeting of NF-κB and Nrf2 Signaling. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:140. Published 2018 Mar 20. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00140. 

16. Zhang B, Wang PP, Hu KL, Li LN, Yu X, Lu Y, Chang HS. Antidepressant-Like Effect and Mechanism of Action of Honokiol on the Mouse Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) Depression Model. Molecules. 2019 May 28;24(11):2035. doi: 10.3390/molecules24112035. PMID: 31141940; PMCID: PMC6600641.

17. Kuribara H, Kishi E, Hattori N, Okada M, Maruyama Y. The anxiolytic effect of two oriental herbal drugs in Japan attributed to honokiol from magnolia bark. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2000 Nov;52(11):1425-9. doi: 10.1211/0022357001777432. PMID: 11186252. 

18. Qu WM, Yue XF, Sun Y, et al. Honokiol promotes non-rapid eye movement sleep via the benzodiazepine site of the GABA(A) receptor in mice. Br J Pharmacol. 2012;167(3):587-598. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02010.x. 

19. Minerbi A, Gonzalez E, Brereton NJB, Anjarkouchian A, Dewar K, Fitzcharles MA, Chevalier S, Shir Y. Altered microbiome composition in individuals with fibromyalgia. Pain. 2019 Nov;160(11):2589-2602. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001640. PMID: 31219947. 

20. Minerbi A, Gonzalez E, Brereton NJB, Anjarkouchian A, Dewar K, Fitzcharles MA, Chevalier S, Shir Y. Altered microbiome composition in individuals with fibromyalgia. Pain. 2019 Nov;160(11):2589-2602.