Patients with fibromyalgia often suffer greatly from their disease. Since there are different treatment approaches, but no uniform therapeutic concept, many patients want to be able to do something themselves. Often then the Internet is the first port of call. Here you will find many tips and advice that often deal with the subject of nutrition. From recipes to "forbidden" foods to "cure by diet" - many guidebooks promise relief through a change in diet. However, there are no scientifically proven findings on the effects of diet in fibromyalgia. Therefore, such recommendations should be read critically and, if in doubt, their doctor should ask for advice.
Multimodal therapy for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic condition in which, in addition to pain in various parts of the body, numerous other symptoms, such as sleep disorders, depression or discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract can occur. The causes of fibromyalgia are largely unknown and complete healing is not possible.
In the treatment is often put on the so-called "multimodal therapy", which includes physical training in combination with relaxation therapy and psychotherapeutic procedures. Medications such as analgesics or antidepressants may be temporarily used.
No evidence of influence of the diet
While the effectiveness of physical exercise and exercise therapy has been scientifically proven, there is a lack of reliable data from studies to predict the impact of diet in treating fibromyalgia.
Although a few small studies have been conducted that examined the effect of different diets on the symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia. However, the results did not provide any reliable evidence for an effect, so the guideline on the treatment of fibromyalgia does not recommend a specific diet.
Dietary supplement not recommended
Often fibromyalgia patients are advised to take supplements with vitamins, L-carnitine or magnesium. Here, however, experts agree that no positive effect on the symptoms of fibromyalgia is to be expected.
In addition, certain nutritional supplements may have side effects or be inadvertently overdosed. Therefore, you should not take supplements on their own, but only after consultation with your doctor - for example, if you have a vitamin deficiency was detected by a blood test.
Vegetarian diet can help
Frequently, sufferers also read the recommendation to eat vegetarian or vegan. Indeed, two studies have been conducted in which pain relief has been observed in patients with a vegetarian diet: One study compared the effect of vegetarian diet with the drug amitriptyline. However, amitriptyline had a stronger analgesic effect than the diet.
In another study, part of the patients were on low-salt vegetarian raw food and compared to a control group of patients who did not change their diet. A positive effect of the change in diet on the complaints could be observed.
Testing for incompatibilities may be useful
Another common advice for fibromyalgia patients is to avoid certain foods, such as sugar. Regarding such general prohibitions, there are no studies investigating efficacy in fibromyalgia.
However, in one study in the US, a food intolerance test was conducted and, based on the results, a nutritional program was devised without the use of certain dietary constituents such as gluten. In contrast to the non-diet control group, patients in the first group reported a 50% reduction in pain.
To critically examine study results
To interpret these results correctly, however, one must take a closer look at the structure of the studies: In the American study, the two groups compared consisted of 40 and 11 patients, respectively. In the two studies on vegetarian nutrition, the number of participating patients was similarly low.
However, one factor contributing to the results of a study being to provide scientific evidence and thus generalized recommendations is a sufficiently large number of subjects. Therefore, the previous research results can at best give any indication of a possible influence of the examined diets on the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Try out what is good
Nevertheless, many patients report positive experiences with a diet change. Those affected can benefit from changing their eating habits or abstaining from certain foods. However, there is no universal eating plan or "proper" eating and drinking for fibromyalgia. Rather, every patient has to test for himself, which is good for him in culinary terms.
Extreme diets such as low-salt, vegetarian raw foods or vegan diet, however, carry the risk of nutrients being undersupplied. To do something good for their health, fibromyalgia patients, like all other people, should look for a healthy, balanced diet that may contain sugar and animal products in moderation.