Fibromyalgia diet

Let me start by stating that there is no one specific diet to treat fibromyalgia. In fact, there isn’t really a treatment for fibromyalgia. However, a diet exists for just about everything, including a multitude of medical conditions. Perhaps people turn to the diet when nothing else works, which may very well be the case with fibromyalgia. When this happens, the focus isn’t really on treating so much as it is on adjusting and lessening the symptoms. There is no scientific or medical evidence linking dietary intake and fibromyalgia, but that doesn’t rule out its helpfulness for some people. Different individuals respond to different things. The only matter of fact here is that you will benefit from making dietary changes or you won’t benefit from making dietary changes. Nevertheless, the only thing you can do is try. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic (life-long) medical condition in which the individual has widespread pain in the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points. It affects women more than men. The cause is unknown, but sometimes its onset occurs after a traumatic event. The signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the weather, stress level, physical activity, and the time of day. It is a very complex condition and can present itself very differently in different individuals.

Diet for Fibromyalgia

There are no firm dietary guidelines for a fibromyalgia diet, but there are certain foods and food groups that have made a difference in a noteworthy amount of people. There is no guarantee that your symptoms will disappear or change.

This is a big one on which many experts agree. Foods and beverages sweetened with aspartame tend to aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. There are pain receptors in the nervous system, called NMDA receptors, that tend to be overactive in individuals with fibromyalgia; aspartame has been shown to stimulate these nervous pathways by opening them. Aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin, which is a stimulant of these receptors.

Food additives including MSG and nitrates

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a food additive and flavor enhancer that is found in a variety of processed and frozen foods, and particularly in Asian cuisine. MSG and nitrates, which are preservatives found in lunchmeats like ham and bologna, are also classified as excitotoxins.

Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates
This far-fetched theory is based on the thought that eliminating, or severely reducing, the amount of simple carbohydrates in the diet will have a positive impact on blood sugar; fatigue can be a result of blood sugar spikes, and this is definitely a symptom experienced by those with fibromyalgia. Cutting out carbonated sodas is a good idea, too.

Caffeine is found in many things: tea, chocolate, coffee, and colas. Because those with fibromyalgia experience extreme fatigue, they may turn to caffeine for a mid-day boost of energy, but actually the caffeine will make the fatigue worse.

Yeast and gluten
Yeast and gluten are often found together in foods, like baked goods (cake, donuts, and bread).  Some experts say that eating yeast can cultivate an overgrowth of the yeast in the body, which can accelerate the muscle and joint pain in those with fibromyalgia. Gluten intolerance is associated with fatigue in those with fibromyalgia. Limiting, or completely cutting out, yeast and gluten may have benefits.

This is a tossup. Some people feel that dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. On the other hand, some people feel that drinking a big glass of milk helps with the symptoms.

Nightshade plants
Nightshade plants include tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. Many experts say that these plants can cause a flare up of arthritis in fibromyalgia patients. Nonetheless, if you don’t find them to make arthritic symptoms worse, don’t cut them out of the diet because they contain plenty of beneficial nutrients.

Last updated on Jan 24th, 2011 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Fibromyalgia diet”

  1. Aspartame (AminoSweet, Equal, NutraSweet) CAUSES fibromyalgia. Before the approval of aspartame, in 1981, there was no fibromyalgia.

    In the early 1900’s, the FDA was forced to reveal, under the Freedom of Information Act, 92 symptoms of aspartame use. Bone and joint pain is high on the list. All the symptoms of fibromyalgia are on the list, too. See or for the list.

    Dr. H.J. Roberts (“Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic”) says fibromyalgia is a form of arthritis.

    Carol Guilford

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