natural treatments for autoimmune conditions
Fibromyalgia is a mysteriously debilitating pain syndrome that often gets lumped into or associated with chronic fatigue and myofascial pain syndromes. No one knows the cause, but it may be triggered by injuries, emotional trauma, hormone deficiency states, or viral infections. Traditional approaches typically offer limited success and focus on symptom management.

Functional medicine approaches offer hope for many of these patients. Most physicians are trained to look only in specific places for the answers, using the same familiar labs or diagnostic tests. Yet, many causes of chronic illness cannot be found in these places. There are several tests that can take snap shots of ones’ health that investigates the underlying cause of dysfunction. Traditional doctors use a CBC and metabolic panel for their general screening, which has its merits. However, this can be taken a step further especially for mitochondrial disorders as seen in fibromyalgia patients. We can measure products of metabolism that identify nutrient deficiencies, which are essential in proper cellular functions, such as those occurring in the mitochondria. Also, this lets us assess serotonin, which is of particular interest due to its association in adjusting pain levels and promoting restful sleep. Lower serotonin levels have been noted in some patients with fibromyalgia. In addition, it measures the catecholamines produced by the adrenal medulla, so it can be supported properly.

Many experts believe that fibromyalgia is not a disease but rather a dysfunctional disorder caused by biologic responses to stress. Studies have shown many hormonal and metabolic abnormalities of fibromyalgia patients. It’s important to measure salivary hormones to see the circadian rhythm. In addition, this would help address sleep disturbances that may be a precipitating factor in fibromyalgia pain. Disturbed sleep appears to trigger factors in the immune system that cause inflammation and pain.

Fibromyalgia is often associated irritable bowel syndrome. Since the gastrointestinal tract is 80% of the immune system, it is important do a comprehensive digestive stool analysis. Food antibody testing can identify triggers that can cause systemic inflammation and pain.

It is also important to assess environmental toxins. Exposure to toxins such as heavy metals (cadnium, mercury, or lead) can cause fatigue, chronic pain, and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Often many patients with generalized systemic pain and fatigue get labelled with fibromyalgia. We can’t get hung up on labels. There and multiple factors that can mimic fibromyalgia pain and a successful treatment approach must include investigation into these factors.

A therapeutic approach

There are several supplements to consider for fibromyaldia. Coenzyme Q10 is great for antioxidant support and its role in energy production since mitochondrial disorders limit energy production. L-carnitine supplementation is common with mitochondrial disorders and fibromyalgia. Supplementing with D-ribose is important with its role in energy recovery in fibromyalgia since depletion of cellular energy pools leads to muscle pain, soreness, and stiffness. Magnesium plays a key role muscle relaxation and in more than 350 enzymes in the body. It is involved in virtually every metabolic process occurring in the body and many patients are deficient. I prefer magnesium malate chelate, which is chelated to the Krebs cycle intermediate malic acid to support cellular metabolism. Malic acid helps to make energy as its role in producing ATP. Research shows that malic acid combined with magnesium may relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia. In adiition, using adaptogenic herbs to support healthy cortisol levels and optimal adrenal gland health.

by Michael Jurgelewicz,DC,DACBN,DCBCN


Goldenberg DL, et al. High Frequency of Fibromyalgia in Patients with Chronic Fatique Seen in
a Primary Care Practice. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:381-387

Abraham G, Flechas J. Management of fibromyalgia: rationale for the use of magnesium and malic acid. J Nutr Med 1992;3:49-59.

Lord R, Bralley J. Alexander. Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine. 2nd Edition. Chapter 2: Vitamins. p.48.

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