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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a nonspecific pain disorder with currently unknown causes, although supplements are still being investigated for the purpose of reducing this pain.

Our evidence-based analysis on fibromyalgia features 5 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
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Summary of Fibromyalgia

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome that is mainly characterized by widespread chronic (>3 months) musculoskeletal pain. If severe enough, people with FM can have trouble performing activities of daily living, such as working or basic self-care tasks. Currently, there are no standard treatments.[1]

What are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Chronic widespread pain is the most common and well-known symptom. However, further research has found that people with FM also experience a myriad of symptoms, such as:[2]

  • Fatigue

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Cognitive dysfunction

  • Migraines

  • Anxiety/depression

  • Digestive disturbances

  • Sensitivity to odors, lights, and sounds.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based upon a thorough clinical evaluation from a healthcare provider. Currently, there are no tests for diagnosing FM. Since the symptoms of FM can also be caused by many other health conditions, other causes must be ruled out before making a definitive diagnosis. [3]

How is fibromyalgia managed, medically?

FM is typically treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and pharmacological interventions. [3]

Lifestyle changes that may be implemented include:

Medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Antidepressants

  • Anticonvulsants

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Antipsychotics

  • Medical cannabis

The treatment must be tailored to the individual's responses to any of the previously mentioned interventions.[3]

What’s the connection between diet and fibromyalgia?

Some studies found that dietary changes can improve symptoms of FM. However, the quality of these studies was poor and varied in their dietary interventions. More randomized controlled trials are needed to understand the relationship between diet and FM.[5]

Have any supplements been studied for fibromyalgia?

Since there are no standard treatments for FM, dietary supplements are often used to ameliorate symptoms. The supplements with the greatest amount of research are vitamin D and Coenzyme Q10. With that being said, the findings are inconsistent and more evidence is needed before recommendations can be made.[6]

Are there any non-medical treatments for fibromyalgia?

If initial therapies are not effective, people with FM may pursue alternative treatments to reduce symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Massage

  • Chiropractic

  • Acupuncture

The evidence surrounding these interventions is scarce. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before implementing any alternative treatments.[3]

What causes fibromyalgia?

The cause of FM is unknown. Current research suggests that environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of FM. Nonetheless, more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn. [3]

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The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies to tell you what supplements affect Fibromyalgia.

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Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Supplement Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Minor Very High See all 5 studies
CoQ10 does appear to be effective in improving symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, more rigorous studies are needed to ascertain the strength of this effect.
grade-c Minor - See study
Fibromyalgic symptoms are reduced with carnitine ingestion in one study.
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in soreness symptoms of fibromyalgia (with no apparent effect on force production) has been noted with SAMe supplementation.

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Click here to see all 5 references.