Some fibromyalgia symptoms can be linked to some sort of deficiency such as magnesium, Vitamin D, or iron. In a scramble to find a way to relieve those painful body aches, we make a beeline for the vitamin section and load up on all the supplements we can find. But what is in those little pills? Does any consumer know what’s really in them? No, most likely, we don’t. With laws so loosely regulating supplements, if at all, how can we be sure to know the safe ones from the dangerous ones? Here is a guide for supplements and fibromyalgia.
Which supplements can help fibromyalgia?
Before we dive into supplement safety, let’s discuss supplements and fibromyalgia. Vitamins and minerals are essential to the body and a deficiency in any one of those areas can have side effects that either mimic or increase fibromyalgia symptoms. Supplementing vitamins or minerals the body is lacking can help relieve some of those symptoms, but how do you know which vitamins will help? Here are a few supplements that can be used to help fibromyalgia; there are more but for article length’s sake, here are highlights of a few. Talk to your doctor about possible vitamin deficiencies and ask about getting bloodwork done to reveal if you have any. If you do, then your doctor can recommend how much you need each day.
Vitamin D is essential to the body and rightly so. This is the nutrient needed to build and maintain healthy bones because the body can only absorb calcium when this vitamin is present. It also helps with regulating other cellular functions such as muscle function and brain cell activity. Even though the body is dependent on it, the body can only produce Vitamin D when it’s in sunlight. The sunlight converts a chemical in the body’s skin into a form of vitamin D called calciferol. Vitamin D can help improve cognitive health, fight pain, and decrease fatigue.
Fish oil is an omega-3 fatty acid and is needed for various functions such as muscle activity and cell growth. Omega-3s are found in foods since the body cannot produce them. Fish oil contains two omega-3s called EPA and DHA and can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and trout. Nuts and seeds have ALA which is another type of omega-3. With the proper amounts, fish oil can help improve bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and fight inflammation.
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) helps produce and regulate hormones and maintain cell membranes. This compound is found naturally in the body but can also be found in synthetic form. It can be used to treat depression and can adversely react to antidepressant medications.
D-ribose is naturally created in our bodies and helps provide our cells with sufficient energy. It’s a type of simple sugar that our bodies produce and then use to create adenosine triphosphate. (ATP is the fuel burned by the mitochondria in cells.) ATP is the body’s basic form of energy so it’s important the body generates enough D-Ribose. Having the right amount of ribose may help improve sleep and energy levels as well as decrease body pains.
Magnesium is one of the most essential – and largest – minerals in the body. It plays various crucial roles in the body such as supporting muscle and nerve function as well as energy production. Many individuals are magnesium deficient and low levels in the body can cause a lot of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Natural sources of magnesium include green vegetables such as spinach, nuts, beans, and whole-grain cereals. Correct amounts of magnesium can decrease muscle spasms, improve sleep, decrease fatigue, and more.
Please Note: As with all supplements, it is possible to take too much which can cause side effects. Discuss all supplement intake with your doctor and verify the right dosage, what time of the day to take it, the side effects, and how it will react with any medications you may be taking.
Are supplements safe?
Supplements and fibromyalgia go hand in hand, but precautions should be taken. Knowing the supplements’ origins and other useful information is helpful in making the decision of which ones to take and which ones to stay away from. The Food and Drug Administration requires all products to be tested by the company to ensure safety, but it’s not enforced. All supplements go by an honor code and are deemed safe until proven unsafe for the consumer. Unlike prescription drugs, supplements are generally considered safe until proven otherwise.
Even though I consulted with my primary care physician prior to adding these supplements to my daily remedy plan, there are still safety guidelines that should be followed when buying supplements.