New research supporting dietary change for fibromyalgia

New Research Supporting Dietary Change for Fibromyalgia 

Fibromyalgia is a ‘syndrome’ characterised by widespread and chronic pain that lasts for longer than 3 months. It is not caused by an underlying condition (for example, rheumatoid arthritis or osteroarthritis) and is therefore considered to be chronic “primary” pain. The causes of chronic primary pain are only partially understood. Treatments typically include lifestyle changes and pharmacological drugs. Changes in diet are, so far, not included in the NICE guidelines used due to insufficient evidence. Therefore, when new research supporting dietary change for fibromyalgia is released, we pay attention here at Integral Nutrition and take a deep dive into the science.

Women with fibromyalgia - new research supporting dietary change
Blond mature lady sitting on bed – fibromyalgia and chronic pain

What are the main signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Chronic widespread pain is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia. However, symptoms are widespread and variable. They can include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance 
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Anxiety and/or depression 
  • Headache and migraine
  • Digestive problems.

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on a thorough clinical evaluation from a GP or consultant. Currently there is no single test for diagnosing fibromyalgia. Since the symptoms can be caused by other health conditions, other causes must be ruled out. It is, therefore, a diagnosis of exclusion. Care and Support Plans are put together between the NHS and the patient, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.

Diet and Fibromyalgia

Some studies have found that dietary change can improve symptoms of fibromyalgia. The problem with this research is that the studies are small and often of poor quality. They also vary in their dietary interventions, making it difficult to draw robust conclusions. More randomised controlled trials are needed to further understand the relationship between diet and fibromyalgia. 

New research supporting dietary change for fibromyalgia
vegetable skewers with a variety of grilled vegetables

New research supporting dietary change for fibromyalgia

2022 parallel arm randomised controlled trial investigated the impact of an anti-inflammatory diet for 3 months. This was overlapped with a low-FODMAP diet for the first month. Impacts were monitored on pain, fatigue, digestion, sleep and quality of life. The researchers found that there were improvements in the intervention group (those following the diet) in all areas under investigation. Blood inflammatory markers did not change for either the intervention group or the control group. The authors conclude that an anti-inflammatory and low-FODMAP diet improved clinical features in fibromyalgia patients and may be useful as a complement to standard treatments. 

Once again, this is a small trial of only 46 female individuals. However, it was well conducted and should be replicated on a larger scale. It is always good to keep on top of new research supporting dietary change for fibromyalgia.

BANT Wellness Solution. Dietary change for fibromyalgia

Your Own Starting Point

Every client that comes into the Integral Nutrition clinic starts from their own unique point. From their diagnoses and symptoms, to diet, exercise, stress and social structures, they all stand with their own experience and history. Integral Nutrition wants to understand – really clearly – about that starting point. What is feels like, the journey that got them there. In that history lie the clues as to the best way forward with diet and lifestyle changes. We can use new research such as that discussed here, but only if it is appropriate. If not, then we keep looking. 

There is no doubt in my mind that a good diet and a focus on lifestyle choices can make a positive difference to health. With some guidance from me – Clare Grundel at Integral Nutrition – and some help with getting new, positive behaviours into your routine, you can enhance the impact of your Care and Support Plan. I work in collaboration with all my clients’ GPs for best and safe practice. I also ensure that any prescription medications are not affected by dietary or supplement recommendations.

If you are interested in how diet and lifestyle changes could support you in your journey out of chronic pain – with fibromyalgia or other condition – please get in touch with me to discuss how I may be able to help. Initial calls are free of charge and are there for you to find out whether my services are right for you. Book your call here.

If you suffer with chronic pain and are interested to read about steps you can take today to support your health, have a look here and here.

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