It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects nearly 6 million or 1 in 50 people. Fibromyalgia is classically characterized by chronic pain, especially muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, brain fog or cognitive disorders, depression and painful tender points throughout the body. Conventional medicine has yet to uncover the cause of fibromyalgia, offering only the treatment of symptoms through analgesics and antidepressants.
Functional medicine, on the other hand, looks for the cause of fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases, treating the problem at the root level and making the patient healthy. As a functional medicine doctor, I’ve helped many patients recover from fibromyalgia. Below are the top ten causes of fibromyalgia that I see in my clinic.
10 causes of fibromyalgia
Gluten Intolerance: Gluten is popular in more than 55 diseases and is often referred to as a “great masquerade”. The reason is that most symptoms of gluten intolerance are not digestive, but rather neurological symptoms such as pain, cognitive disorders, sleep disorders, behavioral problems, fatigue and depression.
Candida Overgrowth: Candida is a fungus or yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your gut. However, when overproduced, Candida breaks down the intestinal wall and invades the bloodstream, releasing toxic by-products into your body that cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, and pain. Virtually every one of my patients with fibromyalgia has overgrown Candida.
Thyroid: More than half of people with thyroid problems have no idea that they have one and 90% of them have hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism. It is important for your doctor to check six different blood markers to measure your thyroid function. It is essential that your doctor uses the optimal values instead of the standard reference range when assessing and diagnosing thyroid disease. Bringing my patient’s thyroid levels into optimal range typically alleviates their fatigue, brain fog, sleep disorders, and depression.
Vitamin deficiency: Magnesium, vitamin D and B12 deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency I seen in those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had several patients who completely reversed their fibromyalgia symptoms with magnesium alone. The best way to measure magnesium is to use the red blood cell (RBC) magnesium that can be tested in any conventional laboratory.
Small intestine Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut: There are more bacteria in us and then there is our own cells on us. If these bacteria get out of whack by using antibiotics or a high-sugar diet, we may lose our ability to absorb and absorb nutrients, especially B12. Gluten can cause SIBO and leaky gut and SIBO and leaky gut can cause gluten and other food intolerances. It’s a catch-22 and a vicious circle. You must first cleanse the colon in someone with fibromyalgia or a chronic illness.
Adrenal fatigue: Adrenal fatigue is a consequence of chronic stress, whether real or perceived. Chronic pain is a stress for the adrenals, although not usually the first adrenal stressor. The initial stressor is usually something like food intolerance, candida, mercury poisoning, vitamin deficiency or mycotoxins. My goal is to help the adrenal glands with adaptogenic herbs as we seek and correct the cause of the stress.
Mycotoxins: Mycotoxins are very toxic substances that are caused by poisonous molds. Only about 25% of the population carries the genes to be susceptible to the effects of mycotoxins. Conventional mold tests only test mold spores and do not test for mycotoxins. I use a mycotoxin urine test in my clinic to see if anyone has been exposed to toxic mold.
Mercury toxicity: I recommend to all my patients to find a biological dentist and remove their mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury is toxic to our bodies and may be part of the puzzle for those with fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and cancer. I then recommend heavy metal testing with a pre- and post-DMPS urine challenge test.
MTHFR Mutations: This is a genetic test that can be obtained in any conventional laboratory. The more mutations you have on the MTHFR gene, the less you can detect toxins like mercury and methylate and detoxify lead. The more mutations you have in this gene, the higher your requirements for methyl B6, methyl B12, and folinic acid, so that your detoxification pathways work properly.
Glutathione deficiency: Glutathione, a molecule, is the most critical part of our body’s detoxification system. Glutathione is recycled in our body unless our toxic load becomes too high or we have GSTM1 and GSTP1, the enzymes needed to recycle and produce glutathione. Intake of glutathione or its precursors (NAC, alpha-lipoic acid, milk thistle) often dramatically helps my patients with fatigue.
As you can see from the list above, many of these causes are linked and often there is no single cause for fibromyalgia or a chronic illness. It is a combination of several or possibly all of the above. Since the cause research can be very complex, I recommend you to find a functioning physician in your area to find the cause for you. You do not have to suffer needlessly or mask your symptoms with analgesics and antidepressants. There are doctors like me who can help you!
Dr. Amy Myers, MD is a renowned leader in functional medicine. She has helped thousands of people around the world recover from chronic diseases through her nutrition-based program, The Myers Way. Her book: The Autoimmune Solution was released in January 2015 by Harper One.