Fibromyalgia and Nutrition
Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician or doctor. He is considered the Father of Modern Medicine. He separated medicine and facts from theories of religion and superstition. He believed that disease was the product of environmental factors, diet and living habits. “Let medicine be your food and food be your medicine” is a saying of his.
Unfortunately, Hippocrates would not consider our current way of eating, traditionally called the Western Diet, as medicine for our health. In some cases, what we are eating is not providing us with the nutrients that we need to keep healthy. Our food should nourish with energy for day to day living and with strength for years to come. Having a healthy relationship with food and to eating is also part of making the best food choices continuously.
Dr Joseph Teitelbaum is a Hawaiian doctor who specializes in helping patients with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He explains the issues around lack of energy like a fuse or a circuit that has blown. I’m The Tummy Tamer, a Nutritional Therapist something like a holistic health detective trying to find where the switch has tripped. The main pathway I work with is nutrition and finding which foods or supplements can restore energy.
Other possible reasons where the health fuse could have blown will also contribute to fatigue. These include untreated chronic infections like Lyme Disease, below normal thyroid function, imbalanced hormones including stress and reproductive ones. Ensuring we are breathing well can not only make efficient use of oxygen which we need for energy production but also works in keeping calm. Exercise in the fresh air helps with oxygen levels and also helps to ground, destress and aids in helping the body get rid of old toxins.
One of the symptoms linked with Fibromyalgia is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As a Nutritional Therapist I ask for a food diary and investigate the root cause of the irritation. This may be food intolerance’s or allergies or chemicals. Unfortunately, as was my case coffee can be the cause as I was depending on it for energy boost. Tea, coffee and carbonated drinks sweeteners can be problematic for some people. Stress can also be an issue as emotions like fear can be felt in the pit of the stomach. This has a negative effect on digestion. To absorb nutrients well our stress response needs to be set not to “Fight or Flight” but instead to “Rest and Digest”.
The choices we make in what we eat can affect our consistent levels of energy. We need to eat a balance of Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates for life. These are called Macro nutrients and we need larger quantities of them. We also need a wide range of other micronutrients is smaller quantities. There are RDA Recommended Daily Allowances which are the amounts needed to prevent disease, or another term which we need to keep us healthy. These give a suggested range for health for the majority of the general population. Someone with a health condition may have a greater of lesser requirement for a particular nutrient. My job as a Nutritional Therapist is to work with the client and identify what is needed. I work firstly from food or secondly by adding supplements to best achieve health.
Humans, unlike most animals, don’t produce our own vitamin C. Therefore, we must get it through our food. How do we know if the weekly diet provides the high levels of Vitamin C needed from fresh fruit and vegetables? We need Vitamin C for healing, protecting cells and keeping them healthy. Excess oxidative stress in the body is thought to contribute to the pain levels experienced by people with Fibromyalgia. Think of oxidative stress as rust produced naturally in the body as it interacts with oxygen. Vitamin C and glutathione naturally help reduce oxidative stress and free radical damage. Vitamin C must be consumed regularly if the oxidative stress levels are high. Vitamin C is also needed in the production of some brain neurotransmitters which help improve mood and prevent brain fog.
With aging, we lose collagen and elasticity, so the bones don’t glide as freely over each other. This can lead to pain and joint degeneration. Vitamin C is also involved in the production of collagen which has many functions. Collagen has a smooth gel like structure which covers and holds bones together. Vitamin C is also necessary for maintenance of healthy connective tissue. This supports and gives structure to other tissues and organs for pain free movements.
One of the first questions I ask is “Are you eating enough oily fish like mackerel, salmon and trout?” They provide the body with the essential fatty acids such as Omega 3. They are called essential fatty acids for many reasons. They are needed for and improving joint health, nerve health and mobility. They also help in reducing foggy brain symptoms (Fibro Fog). Regularly eating fresh or frozen fish also provides Iodine. This is also needed to ensure the thyroid is working at peak performance. Symptoms that the thyroid not working at its best include fatigue, foggy thinking, depression, numbness in the hands and cold hands and feet. Many of these overlap with Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Alongside iron vitamin B12 plays a very important role in red blood cell creation. It’s crucial for a healthy brain function and maintaining your immune system and your metabolism. B12 absorption is affected by age, vegan diet and digestive problems like Chrons Disease. Symptoms of deficiency include intense fatigue and wonky vision. All of the B Vitamins are essential for energy production.
Fresh salads and a variety of green leafy vegetables like kale and chard provide essential nutrients Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid. These are needed for the constant production of replacements of old cells in the body.
We have thousands of energy factories called mitochondria in each cell of our bodies. Some cells which work harder have more. These include the heart, muscles, brain, kidney and egg and sperms cells. To have mitochondrial proper function requires lots of CoQ10. CoQ10 is produced naturally in our bodies but as we get older, we produce less of it. We can get it in lamb’s liver and beef heart which don’t get eaten as often as before. CoQ10 also protects against free radical damage (like rust produced with oxygen). When the cells are damaged, they can’t produce energy effectively.
Ongoing research into the benefits of taking probiotics supplements or drinks and eating probiotic rich foods is showing great results. Probiotics help the immune system and improve digestive function. Our own good gut flora can be damaged by stress, antibiotic use and excess sugar intake.
Probiotics come in a number of forms. They can be purchased as pills or powders. They also have been used traditionally for centuries as food around the world. Kefir is a slightly fizzy drink made with dairy or non milk or water. Kombucha is fermented with tea, sugar and a substance called a Scoby – a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts. Sauerkraut is pickled fermented cabbage and Kvass is a drink made with fermented beetroot. There are many more ways of introducing healthy probiotics into the diet but it best to start slowly.
I’m The Tummy Tamer. I help people with Fibromyalgia fight fatigue and regain energy holistic health naturally within 90 days to gain a new lease on life. I cover a wide range of subjects in my 12-week online program. Topics include how to improve our nutrients status for increasing energy and reducing pain. What Glutathione is and how it helps us. Changing the focus from intense exercise to safe movement. This will include stretches that improve mobility but don’t injure or cause pain. I look at addressing past trauma and how this can adversely affect our current life though our stress hormones. I place a lot of focus on gut health and beneficial probiotics. Improving sleep quality is of major importance. I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org 087 9671000, my website is thetummytamer.ie. My Facebook Group is Fight Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
When making healthy food choices they are best made with a goal of self-care not from a goal of a diet or restrictions. What can you do to nourish yourself today?