Fibromyalgia, Oxidative Stress and NRF2 – Any Hope?

Before jumping into the impact of Nrf2 activation on Fibromyalgia and it potential benefits, let’s review a few common facts about the illness.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a relatively common condition in which an individual experiences pain and discomfort throughout the body. Side effects of this pain are anxiety, lack of sleep, headaches, fatigue and depression. Those suffering from the illness can tell you it is downright miserable! While the cause is unknown, it is thought that either trauma, abnormal response by the brain to pain or even a previous viral infection may be the trigger to starting a Fibromyalgia response in the body. Fibromyalgia is most common among women aged 20 to 50.

It affects people in different ways, but those suffering with the illness may notice that it manifests itself more frequently at night or when the weather is cold and damp. Perhaps stress and anxiety will trigger the symptoms too.

What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

  • The number one symptom of fibromyalgia is pain and discomfort in areas such as the neck, back, hips, chest, knees, shins or elbows.
  • Depression and mood fluctuations
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lack of concentration and focus
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Lyme disease
  • Sleep disorders: This results from the fact that pain tends to increase during the night time hours.

NRF2, Oxidative Stress and Fibromyalgia:

There are published studies on Pubmed showing the linkage between Fybromyalgia and Oxidative stress.

One in particular caught my eye. It is entitled, “Clinical symptoms in fibromyalgia are better associated to lipid peroxidation levels in blood mononuclear cells rather than in plasma.”

The researchers found increased oxidative stress as measured through Lipid peroxidation (LPO) levels in Fibromyalgia patients as compared to normal control group.

While one cannot claim that increasing NRF2 activation will cure any disease, there may be a case to test/experiment how your body reacts to  different NRF2 activators and see what impact it has on your Fibromyalgia symptoms. We cite the following two reasons this course may be beneficial.

Firstly, NRF2 activation has been shown to reduce oxidative stress as measured through LPO, and secondly, there are studies showing the beneficial effects of NRF2 on inflammation. Current treatments of Fibromyalgia do include prescribing anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant drugs.

Other Fibromyalgia Treatments:

The following treatments are common treatments recommended to Fibromyalgia patients.

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Light massage and relaxation techniques
  • Antidepressant
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Pain relievers
  • Sleeping aids
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Acupressure


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