The 4 Best Supplements for Fibromyalgia
There are many ways to approach chronic conditions like fibromyalgia. Many patients find relief with complimentary and alternative practices including Chinese herbal medicine and vitamin supplements. While there's no regulation on the safety and efficacy of these over-the-counter products, many patients swear by them. Here, we take a look at four supplements that may help relieve some fibromyalgia symptoms.
1. SAMe, pronounced Sammy, is S-adenosyltheionine. It's not an herb or vitamin but rather a synthetic version of an amino acid compound found naturally in the body and plants. It's thought to help with depression, energy level and to protect the liver. For patients with fibromyalgia, depression and fatigue are part of the syndrome. Some studies say SAMe may relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis too. Other studies contradict this information and it is generally agreed that more research is needed. SAMe is generally well-tolerated with minimal side effects.
2. Vitamin D. Many studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with muscle weakness, musculoskeletal pain, immunodeficiency disorders and fibromyalgia syndrome. Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants and Vitamin D3 is synthesized by our skin in response to sunlight. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin D helps us maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and aids in the absorption of calcium to form and maintain strong bones. While it's hard to get enough sunlight to supply our Vitamin D needs, it's easy to take a supplement. Nutritionists advise adults to take between 800-1000 IU per day but people who are Vitamin D deficient might require as much as 2000 IU daily.
3. Fiber. Constipation and irritable bowel syndrome are common with fibromyalgia. Alternative and traditional health practitioners recommend fiber to help push food through the intestines, relieve constipation and diarrhea. If getting enough in your diet is difficult, fiber supplements offer a safe alternative. "Fiber" isn't a one-size-fits-all supplement though, as the source varies. Products like Metamucil, Citrucel, Fiberall and Fiber-lax work by adding non-digestible fiber to soak up fluid in the intestine and bulk up stool.
4. Melatonin is a natural hormone our bodies produce to help us sleep. Sleep doesn't come easily to many patients with fibromyalgia though many studies say that good quality sleep is important to reduce pain and fatigue. Melatonin supplements help some patients find that sleep because it makes them sleepy. Watch out for a daytime rebound though. If you take any product to help you sleep, make sure you're wide-awake before you get behind the wheel of a car the next day.
Check with your physician before you take any supplement for fibromyalgia.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
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