Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND

See also Autoimmune Disorders and Epstein Barr Virus

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) can cause severe pain and impair deep sleep. It is a stress-related autoimmune disorder and many of the symptoms mimic those of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and arthritis.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include painful, tender and recurrent aches in various points all over the body. There is a persistent, but diffused pain in the structural system (bones and muscles), accompanied by fatigue, headaches, general weakness, irritable bowel, poor sleep patterns, digestive problems, and nervous system problems (depression and anxiety).

Modern medicine has not identified the cause of FMS, but it is likely caused by diet and lifestyle factors, as evidenced by the fact that many people have experienced relief from FMS by making diet and lifestyle changes. While there is no "magic bullet" formula or secret "recipe" of things to do to cure FMS, working on the suspected causes will probably bring relief, if not a complete recovery.

Diet and Nutrients
Nutrition should be a person's first concern in overcoming FMS. A mild food diet consisting primarily of fresh vegetables with some fruits has led to a reduction in joint stiffness and pain in many FMS suffers. In the beginning, about 80% of the diet should be fresh vegetables with Some fruits. These are alkalizing foods, which aid in reducing acid waste in the tissues. They also contain antioxidants which reduce inflammation and tissue damage.

The remaining of the diet can consist Of high quality proteins and whole grains. Sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed vegetable oils, shortening, margarine and processed packaged foods should be avoided. In addition, FMS suffers usually benefit from some specific supplements, including (in order of importance) magnesium, iodine, omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

Magnesium is essential for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy powerhouse for cells. Deficiencies of magnesium cause cells to have to use anaerobic pathways to produce energy, which leads to lactic acid formation in muscles and to pain. Magnesium ions are also essential to helping muscles relax, so deficiencies lead to muscle stiffness.

Fibralgia is a supplement containing magnesium with malic acid. It aids in the production of ATP in the muscles and helps reduce muscle pain and stiffness. It also helps reduce fatigue in people suffering from FMS.

Iodine is an essential nutrient for the thyroid gland and many FMS sufferers also have a dysfunctional thyroid. Dr. David Brownstein, author of Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, claims that iodine supplements alone have cured fibromyalgia. This helps explain why several natural healers independently discovered that black walnut ATC was helpful for FMS. Black walnut, especially ATC concentrated Black Walnut, is a good source Of natural iodine. It is also antimicrobial and antiparasitic and mildly detoxifying. Liquid Dulse is another good iodine supplement.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential for the health of nerve fibers and aid in the production of chemical messengers resulting in reduced inflammation and pain. Most modern diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, so a supplement like Super Omega-3 EPA may also be helpful.

FMS suffers who are having a hard time eating as many vegetables and fruits as they should, will find supplementing their intake of antioxidant nutrients helpful. Thai-Go is a tasty way to improve antioxidant intake. It has the highest oxygen radical absorbing capacity (ORAC) rating of any liquid antioxidant supplement, and this has been certified by the company that developed the ORAC testing. It contains mangosteen, which contains xanthones proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

Digestive Issues
People who suffer from FMS tend to be low in enzymes. This is due to the high level of enzyme inhibitors and the lack of raw and enzyme-rich foods in most modern diets. Supplementing enzymes with Proactazyme Plus or Food Enzymes is important for people suffering from just about any chronic health problems. In most cases, these people also have a hiatal hernia that needs to be corrected.

One of the biggest contributing factors to FMS and its related conditions may be chronic intestinal inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. Intestinal inflammation can be caused by enzyme deficiency, poor digestion, environmental toxins, yeast or bacterial infections, parasites or drug medications. The inflammation causes the intestines to become excessively porous, which allows toxins from the digestive tract to easily enter the bloodstream, causing irritation and inflammation to tissues.

Regular use of a fiber supplement like Psyllium Hulls Combination or Everybody's Fiber can reduce intestinal inflammation and aid in the repair of leaky gut. Una de gato (also known as Cat's Claw) is one of best herbal remedies available for toning up intestinal membranes and reducing gut leakage. Kudzu/St. John's Wort is another great herbal supplement that helps here.
A yeast or parasite cleanse may also be needed.

Detoxification
It is very probable that environmental toxins play a role in FMS. However, harsh cleansing is usually contraindicated in these situations because it will aggravate symptoms. What is needed is gentle detoxification, starting with fiber to help bind toxins in the gut.

In addition to the fiber, a small amount of a supplement to help cleanse the liver and aid its detoxification process is also helpful. Taking just one capsule of Enviro-Detox or one to two capsules of Liver Balance daily is all that is needed. These formulas will encourage the liver to break down chemicals in the system. The fiber will help bind them and remove them. As your body gets stronger, you can take more.

Heavy metal toxicity may play a role in some of the problems associated with FMS. If this is a problem, try adding one capsule of Heavy Metal Detox per day along with six to eight capsules of Algin, a mucilaginous fiber from kelp that binds heavy metals in the intestines for elimination.

One other factor to consider in detoxifying the body is helping the cells to remove toxins that may be lodged inside the tissues. Cellular Energy aids the production of energy in the cell, which helps cells and tissues eliminate toxins. It can also help reduce fatigue and weakness and increase stamina in FMS.

Stress Factors
FMS is most common in hardworking perfectionists. K. P. Khalsa, RH (AHG), has noted that FMS sufferers are usually high achieving women that are burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, too. From this point of view, FMS can be considered a "health collapse" related to chronic stress.

The adrenal glands are responsible for helping the body cope with stress. They synthesize cortisol to control inflammation and balance blood sugar in times of crisis. They also produce hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline) to give us the energy we need to face challenges.

Chronic stress depletes the adrenal glands, which makes it difficult for the body to control pain and inflammation. Adrenal exhaustion also leads to a collapse of a person's drive and energy and produces fatigue coupled with restless and disturbed sleep patterns.

To overcome adrenal exhaustion, it is necessary to avoid refined carbohydrates (particularly sugar), alcohol and caffeinated beverages. An adrenal glandular like Adrenal Support will help to rebuild the adrenal glands and restore energy levels and sleep. Rebuilding the adrenals will also help to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. If the thyroid is also low, then adding Thyroid Support will also be necessary for restoring energy to the system.

Another formula to consider is Nervous Fatigue Formula. This Chinese blend helps with mental confusion and muddled thinking ("brain fog") and fatigue coupled with disturbed and restless sleep. It gently aids liver detoxification, too.

Of course, it also helps to learn to deal better with stress. People suffering from FMS should learn to pace themselves by setting realistic goals and balancing work with rest and recreation. Taking breaks when one is tired, getting a good night's sleep and allowing time in one's life for relaxing activities is a must. Consider stretching, meditation, yoga, tai chi, relaxing baths or long walks in nature.

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Therapies:
Affirmation, Visualization & Meditation, Gut Healing Diet, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Hiatal Hernia correction, Hydration and Stress Management

Herbs: Black Walnut, Kava Kava, Licorice Root, Lobelia and Yucca

Herbal Formulas: APS Il and Enviro-Detox

Herbal Extracts: CurcuminBP

Nutrients: Magnesium, MSM, Probiotics and Protease High Potency

Nutraceuticals:Adrenal Support, Anxiousless, Cellular Energy, Fibralgia, Food Enzymes, Proactazyme and Thai-Go