The pain of fibromyalgia can be difficult to get under control. For most of us it takes a combination of medication, gentle exercise, complementary/alternative therapies and lifestyle changes to achieve any significant degree of effective pain control.
One of the complementary treatment options some FM patients have found helpful is nutritional supplements like vitamins and herbs. There are a number of different reasons you may want to consider supplements:
- Prescription drugs just aren't working for you.
- You're highly sensitive or even allergic to most medications.
- The medications you've tried have too many side effects.
- You're looking for a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.
- Although your medications may be helping, you're still having quite a bit of pain.
Following are five commonly recommended supplements for fibromyalgia pain:
1) Magnesium & Malic Acid
The magnesium/malic acid combo is the first supplement I remember hearing about for FM more than 20 years ago. Both magnesium and malic acid are needed to generate cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which has been called the “energy currency of life.” Since many people with FM are low in magnesium, it seems like a logical choice. I have personally used magnesium with malic acid and found it did help lower my pain level fairly significantly.
2) Vitamin D
A number of studies have found that vitamin D plays a role in various chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia. In fact, one review of vitamin D research found that 70% of patients with chronic pain were deficient in vitamin D. For more information, read: Vitamin D for Chronic Pain.
3) SAM-e (S-adenosyl methionine)
In one double-blind study of 44 patients with primary fibromyalgia who took SAM-e, improvements were seen in the areas of clinical disease activity, pain, fatigue, morning stiffness and mood. For FM patients who are also dealing with depression, clinical trials have shown SAM-e to be comparable to prescription antidepressants.
4) 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)
5-HTP is thought to work by boosting the levels of serotonin in the brain. The neurotransmitter serotonin is known to be low in many FM patients. In one double-blind, placebo controlled study, 50 people with fibromyalgia took either 5-HTP or a placebo. After four weeks, the people taking 5-HTP showed a significant improvement in pain, number of tender points, stiffness, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep.
Eastern medicine has used ginger for centuries to treat a wide variety of conditions, including pain conditions like Migraines, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Several Western medicine studies have shown ginger to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the dangerous side effects. Now a new study has shown that it can also effectively relieve muscle aches and pains.