Food and Fibromyalgia

Over the past few years, I have had to face up to the fact that my diet is at least partly responsible for my health issues.

Desperation from that unrelenting pain, which is very much a part of being a fibromyalgia sufferer in my case, has had me willing to try 'alternative' dietary fare. I wish that I could tell you that I've found the answer, but I haven't! :(

However, what I HAVE found is that, if I avoid processed and starchy foods and eat more naturally - fruits, vegetables, greens etc (where possible, buying organic produce) - I definitely feel better than when I'm NOT doing so. I may still have a flare up but it doesn't last as long! I feel better able to cope with the pain when it does come!

I recently received a link to the following article which warns of the dangers of toxic food additives. It's worth a read as the Doctor who wrote the article specifically mentions fibromyalgia.

I hope this is of some interest to members on this site and I look forward to learning about what others have found helps them to cope with living with fibromyalgia.

8 Replies

  • Hi Toni, thanks for that - a very interesting article. I totally agree with trying to eat as organic as possible - even growing our own - to get away from chemical additives. Making bread at home, cooking from scratch, trying to avoid ready-meals, sweets, crisps etc.

    But....... when it comes to prescription meds we can't avoid what's in them!

    It seems wrong that so many meds seem to contain either Aspartame or Saccharin, as well as all the artificial colours, fillers etc. My medications include Calcium & Vit D tablets which I'm meant to take twice a day. All the brands I've been prescribed contain aspartame or saccharin - even after I recently asked my doctor for tablets without artificial sweeteners, I've ended up with exactly that. Are there any drugs without these hideous additives?

  • Hi fibropixie, I have to be honest and tell you that I personally have made a decision to avoid prescription meds for my fibro whenever possible. For years I took various meds which left me feeling like I was living life through a 'haze'. Once I started researching things for myself, I decided that I wanted to look for ways to survive fibro using natural products and methods, and by changing my diet. I know this path is not for everyone and I fully understand that many people feel that they cannot cope without prescription medication. I DO still resort to taking painkillers when I cannot cope with the pain but I try to use them as seldom as possible. I have tried Bowen therapy, Reflexology, Massage, the Myer's Cocktail, Vitamin B therapy etc etc in my quest for relief. As and when time permits, I will blog about my experiences and which therapies I have found helpful. I definitely feel that I have improved over the past few years despite my life becoming a lot more stressful due to personal circumstances.

  • you are right to have only natural and fresh foods, but like you say when it comes to medication we have no idea what is in them . A lot contain chalk - hence constipation for some. and we have no way really of finding out.

  • Hi Christine, thank you for your comments. I think you are very wise to avoid Aspartame as it is like taking poison. Those of us who suffer from Fibromyalgia have a hard enough time of things without consuming toxins that place an extra burden on our fragile immune systems.

  • Hi Lynn, I can really relate to everything you have said here! Like you, I love chocolates, cakes and bread.

    I suffer from IBS too and, in my case, I have also been diagnosed with gallstones and am (sadly) due to have my gallbladder removed soon as a result. I have fought tooth and nail to keep my gallbladder (my belief is that God would not have given me one if I didn't need it!) but the doctors are insisting that I have it removed after I developed an abscess in it last September and was hospitalised for over a week as a result.

    Anyway, I have read a fair amount of literature that suggests a link between gluten and both fibro and gallstones. So, last year I also cut out all wheat products and gluten as a whole too. I managed to maintain this for several months and, like you, I found my IBS symptoms greatly improved. Then I fell really ill in September and kind of just fell off the wagon.

    However, what I have managed to maintain is to drink a healthy smoothie every morning for breakfast. I bought myself a Vitamix power blender in May of last year and it has been the best investment I have ever made! I make myself green smoothies some mornings and other mornings I simply make a pleasant fruit or fruit & veg smoothie. I use ginger in my smoothies often! Ginger is known for it's anti-inflammatory properties so I am not in the least surprised that you have found that the ginger drink from your Farmers' Market helped you!

    If you or any of the other members are interested, Jane Haddad has an amazing website called 'Blend It And Mend It'. Jane is a wonderful lady who gently teaches people how to change their lifestyle for the better one step at a time. She doesn't pressure you but simply shows you how to make small changes that bring big results. Her videos on YouTube are immensely inspiring and I have found that her advice has truly helped me to change many of my old (bad!) eating habits. I have dreadful will-power so I need to be constantly motivated to choose life-giving foods over the 'rubbish' foods that I tend to gravitate towards.

    As I've already mentioned, I have seen a definite improvement in my overall health, and particularly in my fibromyalgia symptoms, since I started choosing to consume healthy, natural and, where possible, organic produce. I think that saying 'You are what you eat' is very true. We wouldn't put coke in our car's fuel tank yet we fill our bodies with all sorts of junk and expect them to work.

  • Hi Lynn,

    I switched to goats milk and avoid white bread rice and pasta find the wholewheat options better. White bread makes me bloat all the time.

  • heres a link for anyone who is strong willed. The lady is called Norah Wickerson she is a trained nutritionalist and physiotherapist.....she had fibromyalgia worth a look

  • 9 Diet Commandments for Pain Patients

    Although the research on diet and chronic pain is limited, experts suggest the following may help:

    1. Cut back on carbohydrates. This will help stabilize your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. Additionally, according to Kent Holtorf, MD, the founding medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, about 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal function, which affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia. Tip: If you eat carbs, it is best to eat them with protein and fat.

    2. Consume plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and a variety of other fish, are said to reduce inflammation. Fibromyalgia and arthritis patients have reported feeling much better once they increased their consumption of Omega-3s.

    3. Avoid aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase sensitivity to pain.

    4. Avoid MSG and other additives. MSG is a high-sodium flavor enhancer often added to fast food, Chinese food, and processed packaged foods. It is an excitatory neurotransmitter that has been linked to stimulating pain receptors.

    5. Avoid or limit caffeine. Fibromyalgia patients often suffer from unrestful sleep and fatigue, and often try to remedy their fatigue with caffeine. This only perpetuates the cycle of unrestful sleep. Try cutting back, and then eliminating caffeine completely (this includes coffee, certain teas, and chocolate) to see if it makes a difference for you.

    6. Avoid or limit intake of nightshade vegetables. This includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. Some fibro and arthritis patients have reported feeling worse after eating these vegetables. Others have reported feeling dramatically better after cutting these out.

    7. Avoid or limit your intake of yeast and gluten. Celiac disease (allergy to gluten) has been found in some fibromyalgia patients.

    8. Avoid or limit your intake of dairy products. Fibromyalgia patients on vegan (no dairy) diets have reported improvement in their condition. About 70 percent of adults worldwide have some degree of lactose intolerance, so it is not surprising that some fibromyalgia patients do too.

    9. Eat more fresh foods, and in particular, organic foods. This means foods without additives or preservatives. Patients have reported feeling better eating fresh foods, and in particular foods without pesticides and chemicals. Roughly half of fibromyalgia patients also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Foods that irritate the bowel trigger the brain to send a message that signals fibromyalgia symptoms and perpetuates pain.

    Experiment with cutting out the suggested foods (either one at a time or all at once) for a couple of weeks to determine if they have an effect on your pain. At the same time, begin to add the suggested foods to see if in fact there is a correlation between your diet and your pain.

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