08 July, 2011
Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder involving widespread pain, fatigue, sleep problems and mood disturbances. It is not known what definitively causes this disorder, and right now, there is no cure. Treatments available, though, including over-the-counter supplements, to help relieve symptoms. If you have fibromyalgia, talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements to make sure they are safe and appropriate for you to use.
Magnesium is a mineral that is needed by every organ in the human body. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that this mineral helps build strong teeth and bones; activates enzymes; plays a role in producing energy; and helps regulate calcium, copper, zinc and other nutrient levels. A 2008 study by O.F. Sendur and colleagues, published in the journal "Rheumatology International," found that individuals with fibromyalgia had significantly lower magnesium levels. According to UMMC, preliminary studies show that magnesium and malic acid may help relieve pain and tenderness in fibromyalgia patients when taken for at least two months. Study results have been mixed, and more extensive research needs to be done.
The amino acid tryptophan is converted into 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, and then converted into serotonin. Serotonin affects mood and behavior, and it is thought that 5-HTP may improve sleep, mood, anxiety and pain sensation, states UMMC. Individuals with fibromyalgia are sometimes prescribed antidepressants because lower levels of serotonin have been associated with the condition. According to UMMC, while not all studies have found the same results, some studies showed that 5-HTP eased fatigue, morning stiffness, pain and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia. Talk with your doctor before using this supplement, especially if you are already taking an antidepressant.
The compound S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe, is naturally found in nearly every tissue of the body. It helps break down neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and melatonin, among other things. When used as a supplement, SAMe may help relieve some symptoms of fibromyalgia, states Rxlist.com. It has been used to help treat depression and osteoarthritis and can help with similar symptoms in sufferers of fibromyalgia. UMMC states that injectable SAMe has been effective in helping reduce depressed mood, pain and fatigue, along with joint pain, in individuals with fibromyalgia. Talk to your doctor before using SAMe to treat any medical condition.
Along with these supplements, there are medications that may be helpful in easing symptoms of fibromyalgia. According to MayoClinic.com, other treatments include anti-seizure drugs to help reduce nerve pain, analgesics to loosen stiff joints and provide pain relief, and antidepressants to help with fatigue and depression. Talk therapy, getting enough sleep and regular exercise can also ease stress and provide fibromyalgia relief. What works for one patient may not be effective for another, so it is best to find what helps you the most.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium
- "Rheumatology International"; The Relationship Between Serum Trace Element Levels and Clinical Parameters in Patients With Fibromyalgia; O.F. Sendur et al.; 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center: 5-HTP
- Rxlist.com: SAMe
- University of Maryland Medical Center: SAMe
- MayoClinic.com: Fibromyalgia: Treatments and Drugs
- pain relief image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com