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Supplements for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Supplements Many fibromyalgia specialists recommend nutritional supplements for their patients. In his book Fibromyalgia: Up Close & Personal, Dr. Mark Pellegrino says, "Over the years I've used a lot of supplements in the treatment of fibromyalgia, and I believe they are effective in many patients. Not all patients benefit, but in general supplements are safe to try and, if they help, are relatively inexpensive to continue. Today nutritional supplements are one of the most important treatments I recommend for fibromyalgia."

Note: Although supplements are generally safe in appropriate doses, it's important to be aware of the fact that some supplements can interact with some medications, so it is essential that you let your doctor know which supplements you are taking.

Following are some of the supplements most commonly recommended for the four primary symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

• Magnesium and Malic Acid - Researchers have found that people with fibromyalgia are commonly deficient in magnesium. Magnesium helps to improve the production of serotonin, reduce substance P and activate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - all known to be problems for people with FM. Evidence suggests that malic acid can help ease discomfort caused by muscle and tissue hypoxia. Studies in which FM patients took a combination of magnesium and malic acid found that the combo resulted in significant pain reduction.

• Vitamin D3 - Vitamin D3 functions as a hormone and works throughout the body, affecting muscles, tissues, nerves, joints and even the brain. In recent years, scientists have begun to recognize the link between low vitamin D and chronic pain.

• 5-HTP - The amino acid 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is used by the body to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating sleep cycles, pain perception, mood and the immune system. Three clinical trials have demonstrated that 5-HTP supplementation can support improvement of muscle aches, morning stiffness, anxiety and fatigue.

• MSM - Methyl-sulfonyl-methane (MSM) is an organic sulfur-containing compound and is a crucial component of the body's connective tissues. Among its many benefits, MSM has been found to have antioxidant properties. It promotes a healthy inflammatory response in joint tissue that can result in more joint flexibility.

• Boswellin - Boswellin (Boswellia serrata), also known as Indian frankincense, has been used in the Ayurvedic medicine tradition for hundreds of years to support a healthy inflammation response. Although not specifically tested on fibromyalgia patients, Boswellia has been found to support positive effects in subjects with a number of chronic inflammatory complaints that often overlap with FM.

• Curcumin - Curcumin is the primary component of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and is what gives the spice its rich yellow color. Curcumin is widely recognized by medical researchers as being a powerful supporter of the body's natural mechanisms for modulating the inflammatory response. Some have called curcumin "nature's version of an NSAID." A recent study comparing the benefits of the prescription NSAID celecoxib (Celebrex®) versus the ancient herbal remedies curcumin & boswellia concluded that results with the herbal combination were superior.

• White Willow Bark - The bark of the white willow tree contains salicin, which converts to salicylic acid in the body. Salicin is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and is thought to be responsible for the ability of white willow bark to support natural reduction of muscle discomfort and a healthy inflammatory response. Although white willow bark appears to promote benefits more slowly than aspirin, they may last longer.

• Glucosamine and Chondroitin - Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occurring chemical found in cartilage cells and in the fluid that surrounds joints. The body uses it to produce a variety of other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the thick fluid that surrounds joints. Chondroitin is an amino acid found inside joint cartilage that keeps joints lubricated by attracting and absorbing water. Many who use glucosamine and chondroitin find that the combo helps to reduce joint and muscle discomfort, promote improved joint strength and range of motion, and support a healthy inflammatory response.

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Further Reading

Nutritional Approaches in Fibromyalgia – Dr. Mark Pellegrino on Deficiencies, Symptoms, and Supplement Strategies
Nutritional approaches in fibromyalgia
Dr. Charles Lapp's Recommendations on Supplements for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia
Should you take supplements, and if so which ones? And what benefits are reasonable to expect?
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