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Fibromyalgia patients lower in cellular calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese, hair mineral analysis suggests

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By K Young-Sam, et al. • • October 28, 2011

Women with fibromyalgia have lower levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese in hair mineral analysis
– Source: Journal of Korean Medical Science, Oct 2011

[Note: Even if blood test results of these crucial minerals are “normal,” their levels can actually be abnormally low in the muscles and other cells, as the hair analysis may indicate. To read the free full text of this article, which explains how each of these minerals may relate to FM symptoms, go to To summarize:

• Studies of FM patients have associated hypocalcemia with muscle spasm, cramps & twitches/jerks;

• Hypomagnesemia (often co-occuring with low vitamin D) is associated with general weakness/cramps, sleep deprivation & fatigue;

• Low manganese deprives the mitochondria of an essential free radical defender, superoxide dismutase 2, perhaps explaining FM's frequently altered oxidant/antioxidant balance.

• And other research not cited by this article (see "Association between serum ferritin level and fibromyalgia syndrome" ) demonstrated that iron - essential for enzymes involved in production of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin - tends to be low in FM patients' cerebrospinal fluid.]

Little is known about hair mineral status in fibromyalgia patients. This study evaluated the characteristics of hair minerals in female patients with fibromyalgia compared with a healthy reference group.

Forty-four female patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria were enrolled as the case group. Age and body mass index-matched data were obtained from 122 control subjects enrolled during visit for a regular health check-up.

Hair minerals were analyzed and compared between the two groups. The mean age was 43.7 yr. General characteristics were not different between the two groups.

Fibromyalgia patients showed a significantly lower level of calcium (775 micrograms/g vs 1,093 mcg/g), magnesium (52 mcg/g vs 72 mcg/g), iron (5.9 mcg/g vs 7.1 mcg/g), copper (28.3 mcg/g vs 40.2 mcg/g) and manganese (140 mcg/g vs 190 mcg/g).

Calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese were loaded in the same factor using factor analysis; the mean of this factor was significantly lower in fibromyalgia group in multivariate analysis with adjustment for potential confounders.

In conclusion, the concentrations of calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese in the hair of female patients with fibromyalgia are lower than of controls, even after adjustment of potential confounders.

Source: Journal of Korean Medical Science, Oct 2011; 26(10): 1253–1257. ID: 22022174, by Kim YS, Kim KM, Lee DJ, Kim BT, Park SB, Cho DY, Suh CH, Kim HA, Park RW, Joo NS. Department of Family Practice and Community Health, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. [Email]

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