Protein Nutrition in Fibromyalgia – Source: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Vol 14 #3, 2007

Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a soft-tissue disease of unknown origin. It causes soft-tissue pain and stiffness, often with chronic fatigue, disrupted sleep, headaches and irritable bowel. Fibromyalgia affects an estimated six million Americans of which 80 to 90 percent are female.

Objective: To determine whether dietary intake of protein, Tryptophan, and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) meet Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations, and whether there is a difference in animal and vegetable protein intake in subjects with FM compared to healthy controls.

Methods: Thirty subjects with FM and an equal number of controls completed a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) regarding dietary intake over the previous month. The FFQs were then computer analyzed to determine dietary intake.

Results: Protein intake of all subjects was more than adequate to meet DRI recommendations and there was no significant difference in intake of protein, BCAA, Tryptophan, animal or vegetable protein. Subjects with FM had significantly higher body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) than controls, and reported having a higher incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms than controls.

Conclusion:

  • There was no significant difference in dietary intake of protein, Tryptophan, BCAA, or amounts of animal or vegetable protein in FM subjects compared to healthy controls.


  • Significant differences in body weight and BMI in FM subjects might be related to less physical activity or possibly to malabsorption problems associated with IBS.


  • Malabsorption related to IBS might increase the potential for protein malnutrition, FM, and associated symptoms like chronic fatigue.

  • Source: Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Vol 14 #3, 2007. (Prepublication) DOI: 10.1300/ by Koutoubi S, Cartmell JW, Kestin M, Lecovin G.

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