Fibromyalgia- An Energy Crisis

tired2 fmsBy  Deirdre RawlingsND, PhD, MH, CNC

In many ways, you could call fibromyalgia an energy crisis because one of the biggest complaints expressed by people diagnosed with the disorder is the feeling of complete and utter exhaustion and the lack of energy and vitality.   In support of this hypothesis, some studies have found that fibromyalgia patients suffer from a condition in which structures called mitochondria within the muscle cells were inefficient in their production of energy, causing fatigue and a complete drain of energy in the individual.  The lack of cellular energy eventually leads to immune system dysfunction.  This is because the immune system is not able to have the energy it needs to eliminate toxins from the body or to fight infections.  This puts even more demand on the immune system, which is already in a weakened state leading to further exhaustion.



Nutrient deficiencies are another common finding in people who have problems with maintaining or sustaining energy levels or who complain of feeling tired and exhausted.  Studies show that 100% of fibromyalgia sufferers have some form of nutrient deficiency and are in need of additional nutritional support.  Your body has a requirement for a minimum of at least fifty vitamins and minerals every day. This includes not only eating a properly well-balanced diet but also taking vitamin and mineral supplementation daily to replenish these stores and build up reserves.

With fibromyalgia, you have increased needs for nutrients combined with decreased absorption capabilities going on already within the body.  Gastrointestinal tract problems are especially common. These make it even more important to address nutritional aspects and the underlying deficiencies, which are occurring.   In my book, Food that Helps Win the Battle Against Fibromyalgia, we discuss in more detail what some of the most vital nutrients, vitamins, and mineral supplements are to help you win the battle against fibromyalgia and regain your optimum health.

It is not surprising to learn that nutrition plays a large role in the supply of energy to the cells when you consider that a common denominator of low energy is faulty blood sugar metabolism—sometimes called reactive or functional hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, (also known as low blood sugar), occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) level drops too low to provide enough energy for your body’s activities.  Symptoms occur because sugar levels fluctuate, swinging from high to low.  This leaves you feeling tired and fatigued and you may develop food cravings, particularly for sweet foods, alcohol, or caffeinated drinks.  A whole host of mental symptoms can also result because your brain is literally being starved of glucose, which it needs for fuel.  Mood swings, drowsiness, mental confusion, depression, impaired memory and concentration are just a few of them.   Sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates when consumed in excess can wreak havoc on your whole body and particularly your immune system.   It can eventually lead to insulin resistance and later, to diabetes, which happens to be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

Sugar, and foods that convert rapidly to sugar in the bloodstream, are toxic.  They are also pro-inflammatory: that is, they create an inflammatory response in the body.  Research shows that chronic, sub-clinical inflammation is the single greatest precipitators of degenerative and age-related diseases.  This includes diseases as diverse as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and even fibromyalgia.  One reason that we are nutritionally deficient stems from the Standard American Diet, or SAD diet as it is called.  Each day we consume an excess amount of empty calories from high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods, which are nutritionally depleted.  This means the foods we are eating have no real value to our system.  There are plenty of empty calories, but your body craves the real nutrients and unless you get them you will keep getting hungry over and again and consume more food in an effort to satiate your body’s requirement for them.

Another reason is that we get one hundred and seventy five pounds of sugar per person added to our diet every year.  This comes to us in various forms, which include soda, which has almost a teaspoon of sugar per ounce, cakes, candies, cookies, ice cream, and many other sugar-laden, and nutritionally depleted “foods”.   These kinds of foods use up whatever vitamin and mineral stores are present already within the body in order to process them out, as well as leach calcium out of our bones, and leave us depleted and without energy.

It’s alright to treat yourself once in a while but the Average American has gone far beyond that and now survives on a mostly snack food / fast food diet.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the average American eats:

  • 365 servings of soda pop each year
  • 175 pounds of sugar
  • 200 sticks of gum
  • 90 pounds of fats and oils
  • 60 pounds of cakes and cookies
  • 23 gallons of ice cream
  • Dozens of donuts
  • 8 pounds of corn chips, popcorn, and pretzels
  • 7 pounds of potato chips

In addition, we also drink 2.65 gallons of pure alcohol per person each year, which equals 50 gallons of beer, 20 gallons of wine, or more than 4 gallons of distilled liquor.  No wonder, the Standard American Diet is SAD!  This has an effect on our health and is toxic for our bodies.  We eat too many anti-nutrients: sugar, trans-fat, caffeine, salt, alcohol, genetically modified foods, preservatives, plastics, pathogens, hormones, antibiotics…the list is endless.   Why would we do this to ourselves consciously?

The sooner FM is recognized and diagnosed the more easily you can begin your healing and recovery process.  While there is presently not an isolated or single known method that cures FM there are quite a number ways in which you can gain relief and improve your health and quality of life considerably.  You will learn about many of those ways in this book, Food that Helps Win the Battle against Fibromyalgia.

Click here for more information on Foods for Fibromyalgia – Wellness Coaching Programs

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