Fibromyalgia is a nervous system disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain. Though it affects up to 5 million Americans a year, the cause of this debilitating disease remains unclear. Several theories point to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress as an origin.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is often observed in patients with fibromyalgia. Known as the powerhouse of cells, specifically, muscle cells, the mitochondria convert glucose to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is used by the muscles for energy.
Mitochondrial dysfunction can occur from exposure to environmental and dietary toxins, such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and pesticides that cause free radicals to form in the mitochondria. While the body can manage a certain amount of free radicals, if there are not enough antioxidants, damage can occur. This process, called oxidative stress, can be reduced by the intake of antioxidant supplements, including:
- Vitamins A, C, and E
- Co-enzyme Q10
Other supplementation is also important in the management of fibromyalgia and inflammation. The most common deficiencies observed in fibromyalgia patients include:
- 5-HTP (the precursor to the neurotransmitter, serotonin)
- Vitamin D
- Acetyl-L-carnitine (plays a major roles in mitochondrial function)
Intravenous nutrient therapy has been reported to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. While the best way to ensure adequate intake of the antioxidant nutrients is through a balanced diet consisting of 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, in cases of mitochondrial dysfunction as seen in fibromyalgia, it may also be useful to supplement with the above nutrients for optimal health.
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