Fibromyalgia affects six million people in the United States alone, and the prevalence of fibromyalgia syndrome [FMS] in Hong Kong is similar to western countries.
This condition affects muscles and tissues, causing fatigue, poor sleep, brain fog and chronic muscle pain.
While conventional western medicine treats the symptoms, the goal of functional medicine is to understand the root causes of fibromyalgia and treat them directly. This condition has been linked to a variety of issues, and fortunately there are treatments for most of them.
The thyroid gland lies in the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It secretes hormones that affect your metabolism, body temperature, and earlier in life, growth and development. Thyroid issues have been linked to fibromyalgia. Fortunately, tests that can determine whether your thyroid is operating properly, and supplements can help get it back into working order.
Vitamin And Nutrient Deficiencies
Vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12 and D, have been linked with fibromyalgia. This is one of the simplest issues to resolve. Your doctor can perform tests to determine whether your system contains excessively low levels of vitamins and nutrients. Your functional medicine practitioner can recommend the types of supplements that may work best for you.
MTHFR Mutations And Toxic Buildup
MTHFR, a gene complex, controls how well you can remove toxins like mercury from your blood. It also manages methylation, a chemical process your body depends on. Mutations in these genes may affect how well your body can detoxify. They also affect how well your body processes vitamin B.
Vitamin B12 supplements come in four types:
All deliver vitamin B12 (cobalamin) to your system. However, MTHFR mutations may prevent the uptake of the cyanocobalamin form. If you have these mutations, the methyl form of B12 may be your best choice. MTHFR mutations also often require supplementation with other specific forms of B vitamins.
The bacteria in our guts outnumber the cells in the human body. We depend on them to process food after it has passed through the stomach. Diet can have a profound impact on the health of gut bacteria, which directly translates into an impact on overall health.
A diet rich in sugar can damage the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. So can antibiotics. Imbalances in gut bacteria may impact fibromyalgia. In fact some researchers believe the gastrointestinal system should be addressed first in treating the condition.
Your liver produces the molecule Glutathione. You can also find it in meats, nuts, and vegetables. It is often used in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis, and Parkinson’s Disease – among a wide range of other illnesses. Researchers have also linked glutathione deficiency with fibromyalgia, so taking supplements that contain it may help. Certain formats of these supplements have proven more effective than others (typically IV therapy or liposomal glutathione).
Treating Fibromyalgia Holistically
Functional medicine looks for the root causes of conditions such as fibromyalgia. There may be a single cause or a combination of them. Your functional medicine practitioner will perform a series of tests to determine which issues you need to have addressed.
The list above is by no means complete, so your practitioner will test for other other contributing factors, and create a plan of attack tailored to your needs.