Nutrition in Fibromyalgia

Posted by Ana Maria Lajusticia USA on

Fibromyalgia is a disease characterized by chronic, widespread pain in muscles, joints, and ligaments. It affects 2% of the adult population, especially women. No abnormal parameters appear in blood tests or radiological exams.

The symptoms that characterize it include: pain, numbness, and stiffness in the musculoskeletal system, which worsen with cold temperatures, stress, and physical activity; a feeling of sleepiness and extreme fatigue throughout the day; psychological problems (anxiety, depression, and stress); decreased strength and muscle relaxation disorders, without inflammation in the muscles; overweight or obesity due to low physical activity; stomach acidity, dysphagia, aerophagia, and/or irritable bowel syndrome.

The treatment should focus on improving the symptoms the person suffers from and their quality of life. The most recommended approach is a multidisciplinary one that involves various types of treatments: medications, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, exercise, and nutrition. A dietary approach designed by a dietitian-nutritionist is of great value and can significantly improve the daily life of the person suffering from this condition.

It must be taken into account that the needs for many nutrients are increased. Generally, people with fibromyalgia experience a chronic loss of calcium and magnesium, which causes muscle contractures in painful points. Additionally, it is common to find a deficiency in Selenium, Zinc, Iodine, Iron, and Vitamins A, C, B6, B9, D, and E. It is important to consume enough fiber to take care of intestinal flora and Omega 3, which is anti-inflammatory.

The needs for macronutrients (sugars, fats, and proteins) are usually as follows: 15% of the energy consumed throughout the day should come from proteins. Complex sugars should represent 50% of the energy consumed throughout the day. As for fats, they should account for 35% of the daily energy intake and mainly come from oily fish, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

In many cases, supplementation will also be necessary to achieve the required levels of all the described nutrients, thus increasing the effectiveness of the nutritional approach and improving the patients' quality of life.

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