Increasing Cellular Energy in People with Fibromyalgia

Studies show that poor cellular energy production due to poisoning of the energy-producing machinery of the cell (the mitochondria) is a common characteristic in both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  In studies at the Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania, rheumatology researchers found that fibromyalgia patients suffer from a condition that could be described loosely as “muscle toxicity”, in which structures called mitochondria within muscle cells were inefficient in their production of energy.  In addition, fibromyalgia sufferers were found to have smaller than normal muscle fibers that exhibited misshapen mitochondria that were not found in normal subjects.

A Swedish study showed that poor energy status of muscles in fibromyalgia may be due to reduced blood flow to the affected tissue and this can lead directly to reduced tissue oxygenation, lower energy reserves, and poor oxidative capacity. Reduced energy is generally also associated with a decrease in the total concentration of energy in the cell, meaning there is simply not enough energy to fuel the vast number of cellular functions.  The additional complication of poor mitochondrial function and diminished glucose metabolism, both lowering energy reserves, suggests that muscles in fibromyalgia sufferers is energy starved.  The mitochondria are the same parts of the cell which are involved in producing energy during exercise.  When excess exercise causes fatigue, and you develop muscle pain, you have exceeded the ability of your cells’ mitochondria to produce energy effectively, and waste products accumulate in the mitochondria, poisoning their function.  It is at this point that fatigue rapidly sets in.  In the chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia sufferer there is a feeling of extreme fatigue as if from having done strenuous exercise, but without any exertion.  Increasing cellular energy by way of nutrition can help muscles relax and stop the downward spiral of overwhelming fatigue, soreness and stiffness that is experienced.

There are no simple answers to fibromyalgia however; there is almost always a complex interplay of many causative factors which underlies the condition to create the low energy and devastating fatigue that each sufferer feels.   According to medical doctor, Dale Geyer, who has interviewed hundreds of patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, nearly all patients are nutritionally depleted and almost always have immune dysfunction.   Common denominators among FM patients are:

  • Metabolism abnormalities
  • Food allergies
  • Digestive dysfunction and poor absorption
  • Toxin exposure such as mercury, cadmium, aluminum, and lead
  • Chronic infections which could be fungal, bacterial, viral, even parasitic
  • Immune system dysfunction

Fibromyalgia is a set of symptoms warning us that something is wrong and we must make drastic changes to the factors affecting our lifestyle.  Fatigue is a symptom of many ailments and it’s one of the first signs our body gives us to let us know that we need some attention on our health.  We do this through a variety of ways which includes providing the body with adequate rest, not smoking, avoiding toxins and chemicals which pollute us, daily exercise and deep breathing, drinking plenty of clean water every day, and giving the body all the nutrients it needs to turn food into energy.  Our goal in the pursuit of health and higher energy levels is to understand where the body’s energy comes from, and practice the habits that build up the body, and not destroy it further.

For many people their solution to handle a decline in their energy results in the use of stimulants such as coffee, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, and over-the-counter or illicit drugs.  These only worsen the problem, place a bigger burden on the liver’s detoxification ability, and lead to a host of other more serious system breakdowns or health-related problems.   Consistent levels of energy can only be achieved by removing toxins from the body while increasing nutrients to optimal levels.  We get more energy by building up the body, not by destroying it further.

One of the first things to look for in your quest for more energy and less fatigue is to ask yourself what is slowing you down.  Many things get in the way of energy production and they include:

  • A build-up of toxins throughout the body
  • Inadequate diet which lacks proper nutrients
  • High levels of stress; adrenal exhaustion
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Impaired liver function
  • Vitamin, mineral, and essential fatty acids deficiencies
  • An overgrowth of yeast or fungus in the GI tract
  • Impaired thyroid function
  • Trauma
  • Parasites
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Not enough sleep

When our cells and immune system are under attack, great deals of the energy reserves we have available are going to be used to strengthen and boost immune function.  In a healthy body, the average person will consume daily nutrition to sustain health.  When under attack, we need not only our normal daily requirements to stay healthy, but additional specific nutrients that protect our cells and also compounds that specifically target pathogens.   In the following chapters we will discuss in more detail what energy-enhancing nutrients and supplements are and in particular those which are designed specifically to combat fatigue conditions like FM and build up the body.  By neutralizing free radicals that interfere with metabolism as well as those that are given off by the body as part of every day metabolism, the right nutrients will make all the difference.  Adequate quality nutrition is essential.  Staying clear of anti-nutrients and environmental toxins that deplete and drain us of energy, particularly when our body’s health is already suffering, is just as essential.

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