Haylee Buckles, GVSU Intern
Fibromyalgia affects 4 million U.S adults. If you have fibromyalgia you know that with this comes fatigue, chronic muscle pain, and even disrupted sleep. For those of you struggling to get through each day due to these symptoms there are supplements that may help. Always check with your doctor before starting something new if you are on other medications. Now let’s get into it!
B1 (thiamin) is needed for energy production in your body. Research has found that taking a B-complex with B1 or just B1 daily was shown to reduce fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia.
Ribose is a sugar that is important in the body for energy production in the cells by relaxing the muscles. Research has found that taking D-Ribose daily was shown to improve energy levels, sleep, mental clarity, well-being, and reduced pain intensity in those with fibromyalgia. D-ribose is the active from of ribose, check that your supplement says D-ribose and not L-ribose which is the synthetic version.
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it prevents and/or slows down damage to cells, and is needed in the cells to generate energy in the muscles. Research has found that those with fibromyalgia have lower amounts of Q10 in their blood, and when taken daily it showed significant improvements in chronic fatigue. Ubiquinol is the active form of coenzyme Q10 which will be listed on the bottle.
S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe)& 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
SAMe and 5-HTP help to produce and regulate hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that regulate our mood. Research has found that those with fibromyalgia who took these daily had improvements in mood, sleep, pain, and fatigue. These supplements can help with depression and anxiety, do not use these supplements while on anti-depressant medication.
Omega-3 Fatty acids
DHA and EPA are fatty acids that come from fish and algae and are powerful in reducing inflammation and pain. Research has found that if you do not already eat oily fish at least 2 times a week, taking omega-3s daily can reduce pain, tenderness, and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. Omega-3s are also listed as fish oil on the label.
Vitamin D helps with cell growth, muscle contraction, and nerve function. Commonly, vitamin D levels in those with fibromyalgia are found to be low. Vitamin D has been proven to improve mood, but research has also found it to improve pain, and muscle weakness associated with fibromyalgia.
CBD comes from the flowers of the hemp plant; it is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects. CBD is typically mixed in an oil such as olive oil, coconut oil or hemp seed oil to maximize its absorption. Research has found CBD to reduce pain, improve sleep, and lift mood in those with fibromyalgia.
Turmeric is another powerful anti-inflammatory that can be used as a spice or taken as a supplement. Research has found turmeric to reduce pain specifically joint pain and protect against many stressors to the body. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric, though it is not absorbed well in the body without the right formulation. To help your body use turmeric if you use it as a spice combine with black pepper and or a source of fat such as nuts, fish, avocados etc. If you are taking a supplement look for one with increased absorption on the label for best results.
When taking supplements, it is best to have regular blood work to make sure you are not over supplementing and ask your doctor to identify any interactions with medications before starting anything new. When trying to identify which brand to buy, always check for third party testing for total transparency of the ingredients.
A well-balanced diet and exercise alone have been proven to help improve symptoms of fibromyalgia. A few of these supplements such as Omega-3s, and vitamin D can be increased with your diet, ask your Dietitian for more details if you’re interested!