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
- 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.
5 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:
- 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 opens in a new windowModified 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
opens in a new windowHonokiol 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:
- Yoga and tai chi
- Regular massage
- opens in a new windowMindful meditation
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 opens in a new windowpre + 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.
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opens in a new windowWhat Works for Fibromyalgia Part II: In An-Depth Look at New Treatment Strategies
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