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Fibromyalgia & Nutrition Deficiencies

By Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D. ; Updated August 14, 2017

Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes muscle tenderness, fatigue and generalized pain. The cause of fibromyalgia is not well understood, which can make it difficult to treat. However, deficiencies in some nutrients may contribute to the symptoms of fibromyalgia, in some people. In these cases, correcting the deficiency may help with the symptoms. Talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

Iron and Fibromyalgia

A lack of iron in the diet may contribute to fibromyalgia. Iron, which is in leafy green vegetables and meat, and is needed for the body to make new red blood cells. A lack of iron can cause low red-blood cell levels, also known as anemia, which can cause fatigue. A study published in a 2008 issue of "Clinical Rheumatology" found that fibromyalgia is more common in people with iron-deficiency anemia.

Vitamin D and Fibromyalgia

A potential link not yet proven causative is that of a lack of vitamin D and fibromyalgia. Vitamin D is added to many dairy products, and is important for absorbing calcium. Some studies assert that a lack of vitamin D is associated with an increased incidence of fibromyalgia, whereas other studies do not support this assertion. Based on results from several studies, the Vitamin D Council states that no evidence exists to support the assertion that a lack of vitamin D reduces the risk of fibromyalgia. The lack of vitamin D may be the result of disease conditions, rather than the cause, the Vitamin D council notes. The council also notes that vitamin D may reduce inflammation. In addition to getting vitamin D from your diet, your body can make vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

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Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Amino acids are the compounds that make up all proteins. Branched-chain amino acids are a subset of amino acids that include valine, leucine and isoleucine. People with fibromyalgia often have lower levels of these amino acids. These amino acids are needed to provide energy to muscles and to help the body make new proteins. These amino acids also help make different chemicals that the brain needs to work properly. A deficiency in these amino acids could affect muscle function, and could lead to muscle tenderness and the other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Branched-chain amino acids can be found in meat, nuts, beans, mushrooms and soy protein.

Other Nutrients

Deficiencies in other nutrients may also contribute to fibromyalgia. A study published in a 2011 issue of the "Journal of Korean Medical Science" analyzed the levels of minerals in the hair of women with fibromyalgia. Women with fibromyalgia had lower levels of calcium, magnesium and manganese in their hair, which suggests that a lack of these minerals can also contribute to fibromyalgia.

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