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Fibromyalgia

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in women's health, originally published in issue 89 - June 2003

Fibromyalgia is a disease with primary symptoms of pain, tenderness and weakness in the muscles. The secondary symptoms are many, including fatigue, fever, painful lymph nodes, irritable bowel and poor memory and concentration. The causes are varied and viruses, bacteria, yeasts, stress, impaired liver function, low immunity, food allergies, hypoglycaemia, nutritional deficiencies and mitochondrial abnormalities are implicated.

With such an array of complex and overlapping symptoms and causes, it is very important that every patient is guided back to health with a treatment programme based on their own individual, biochemical needs. With this in mind, I would like to discuss two very different case studies of sufferers of fibromyalgia.

Donna is a 36-year-old clerical assistant who had been absent from work for seven months before contacting me. She suffered from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, inflamed and painful muscles, frequent viral attacks, fatigue, diarrhoea and hypoglycaemia. She had no energy to prepare her meals and her inadequate diet consisted of foods supplying very few nutrients and lots of additives and preservatives, such as crisps, chocolate, white bread, pre-packed meals, take-aways, tea, coffee and diet coke.

Her case history revealed a steady deterioration in her health over the past seven years since she had contracted the Epstein Barr Virus (glandular fever). EBV is implicated in a progressive relationship between chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.[1] The kinesiology test revealed that the EBV was still present in her body.

Donna was supported by her family throughout the 10-month treatment programme. She followed a vegetarian, nutrition programme emphasizing foods for blood type 'As', which included protein: tofu, eggs, beans, rice and amaranth; vegetables and herbs for their antioxidant and mineral effects: carrot, beetroot, broccoli, ginger, garlic, dill and caraway; and fruits: pineapples and lemons to aid digestion and clear mucus, and kiwi and cherries for their antioxidant effect.[2] Daily, she ate three meals and two snacks spaced out evenly and vegetarian protein, along with fenugreek, was taken at the main meals to stabilize the blood glucose levels. Water was the favoured drink along with herb teas: melissa, camomile, horsetail, nettle and peppermint. Supplements and herbs were taken to support the immune system and general body functions, and to eliminate the virus. Included were antioxidant nutrients, vitamins: A, C and E; minerals: selenium and zinc; proanthocyanadins, polyphenols and carotenoids: vitaflavin, lycopene, betatene, bilberry, and grapeseed extract, a general multi-vitamin/mineral and hemp seed oil.

A herbal detoxification programme to cleanse and support the functioning of the liver kidneys, colon and skin was then followed.

Throughout this specific programme, Donna also used calendula to cleanse the lymphatic system and golden grass tea to aid toxic excretion, bio-acidophilus to increase the beneficial gut bacteria, natural skin preparations, tongue cleansing, gentle exercise, skin brushing and lots of relaxation. The painful muscles were massaged regularly with lavender, clary sage and kunzea oils and a supplement combining glucosamine sulfate, devil's claw, methyl sulfonyl methane, boswellia serrata and tumeric extract was taken to reduce inflammation and to support the joints.

Donna's progress was steady throughout the programme. During the 10 months she regained her health and vitality and was back at work full-time. She was drug free and her aches and pains were reduced by 75%.

Case studies do not always run as smoothly as Donna's. For example Mary, (57-years-old) had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for six years and was working full-time as a sales representative. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, severe aching and painful muscles, gastrointestinal problems, low energy, obesity and poor quality hair, skin and nails. Further investigation by kinesiology testing revealed a sluggish gastrointestinal, peristaltic action, abnormal epithelial cell production and poor liver and kidney detoxification function.

Mary followed a fish, chicken and egg diet with very small amounts of starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes and rice, as she had great difficulties digesting them. She ate lots of vegetables, but avoided members of the genus solanacea nightshade family: tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and potatoes, which contain solanum alkaloids that inhibit normal collagen repair and promote inflammation in the joints. She ate lots of berries, cherries, pineapple, kiwi and blackberries, as they are high in bioflavanoids, which help to reduce the aches and pains in joints and muscles. She took cold-pressed, organic sunflower oil, lots of water and avoided sugar, yeast, dairy products, coffee and tea. Supplements taken were aloe vera juice and an organic vitamin and mineral herbal drink. Non-nutritional therapeutic strategies included tongue cleansing, skin brushing, massage, relaxation, breathing exercises and hatha yoga to aid toxin removal, improve stress levels and flexibility.

After two months, small amounts of medicinal charcoal was used to assist the absorption of gas and toxins in the digestive tract and to aid detoxification in the systemic system. Also, a supplement of bio-acidophilus was taken to rebalance the gut flora. As the body became stronger and less toxic, Mary had fewer digestive problems, lost weight and the quality of her hair, skin and nails improved.

However, her aches and pains did not lessen and she was still extremely tired.

Other supplements to increase antioxidant levels and reduce inflammation were introduced, such as n.acetyl cysteine, boswellic acid, tumeric, quercetin and bromelain, to no avail. After 6 months, Mary became very disheartened and it was at this time that I came across some research by Dr Paul St. Amand who was treating fibromyalgia with a drug called guaifenesin, usually given to sufferers of gout to aid kidney excretion of uric acid. He found that this drug also worked for mitochondrial abnormalities in fibromyalgia, possibly because the kidneys were encouraged to eliminate either excess phosphate or calcium. Guaifenesin is derived from the herb guaiacum officinale, which is traditionally used for rheumatoid arthritis. Mary took 20 drops of guaiacum officinale tincture three times a day and gradually, over the next couple of months, the aches and pains diminished by 50% and her energy levels increased.[3]

Donna and Mary are continuing to follow their respective health programmes in the hope of achieving even better results.

References

1. Blasche et al. Epstein-Barr Virus may play a role in the development of rheumatoid Arthritis. J Rheumatol. 27: 866-873. 2000.
2. Dr Peter D'Adamo. The Eat Right Diet. Century Books. 1998.
3. Dr Paul St Amand. Fibromyalgia. Warner Books. 1999.

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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;  junebutlin@btinternet.com

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