Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Fibromyalgia: Seven foods to avoid ......

    Find out what experts say really matters about the foods you eat -- and why
    staying away from certain foods might help your fibromyalgia symptoms.

    While there may not be a single set of dietary guidelines that are right for all
    fibromyalgia patients, there are certain foods, or food groups, that appear to
    make a difference for a significant number of people. But remember, avoiding
    these foods is not a guarantee that your symptoms will change. Also, avoiding
    one group may offer benefit while another may make no difference at all.
    Nevertheless, the experts WebMD talked to agree that eliminating at least some
    of these foods is worth a try.

    1. Aspartame (NutraSweet).

    All the experts WebMD talked to agree that for a large majority of people with
    fibromyalgia, foods sweetened with aspartame could exacerbate fibromyalgia

    "There is a pain receptor in the nervous system known as NMDA," says McNett.
    "When pain turns from acute to chronic, it involves opening the NMDA pain
    receptor. Aspartame, which is classified as an excitotoxin, helps to stimulate
    this event." He also says people with fibromyalgia appear to already have overly
    active NMDA pain receptors, making them more susceptible to the stimulation.

    In one study published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 2006, experts found
    patients with fibromyalgia did have an increased expression of NMDA receptors in
    their skin. This indicated a general increase in activity of peripheral nerves.

    Holtorf says aspartame may play a role in stimulating those nerve pathways. Then
    he adds that for some people, "cutting it out of their diet can have a dramatic
    impact on pain."

    That appeared to be the case for patients in one small study published in the
    Annals of Pharmacotherapy in 2001. Researchers found that, when patients with
    fibromyalgia avoided aspartame as well as the flavor enhancer MSG, they felt
    better overall.

    Other artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, saccharin, and stevia do not appear
    to have the same effect as aspartame.

    2. Food additives including MSG (monosodium glutamine) and nitrates.

    MSG is an additive or flavor enhancer that's found in many processed and frozen
    foods and in some Asian cuisines. Experts say it can intensify pain symptoms in
    many individuals. Like aspartame, MSG is classified as an excitotoxin and has
    the same potential for affecting NMDA receptors.

    The same is true, says McNett, for foods containing preservatives such as
    nitrates, commonly found in lunchmeats like ham or bologna or in bacon.

    "A lot of people who don't have fibromyalgia can't tolerate nitrates or MSG very
    well. But one of the hallmarks of this condition is that it amplifies unpleasant
    reactions," McNett says. "So a stimulus that some people would find mildly
    unpleasant becomes very unpleasant in those who have fibromyalgia." Cutting
    these ingredients out of the diet, he adds, usually helps.

    3. Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates.

    There is no clear evidence that cutting out simple carbohydrates -- like sugar,
    cake, or white bread -- will have an impact on fibromyalgia. What it can do,
    though, is reduce symptoms of chronic yeast infection -- a fungus that thrives
    on sugars and may be a secondary condition contributing to the pain of
    fibromyalgia. This theory, however, is still being debated by experts.

    "Cutting out sugary foods, particularly high fructose corn syrup, can make a
    difference in these patients," says Holtorf. "And that's independent of any
    weight loss that might occur when they stop eating these foods."

    Shikhman adds that cutting out carbonated beverages sweetened with fructose may
    yield even more noticeable results. That's because the carbonation, he says,
    causes a metabolic reaction. This reaction results in much more sugar pouring
    into the blood much more quickly.

    "It's this quick rise in blood sugar," Shikhman says, "followed by the
    subsequent fall that exacerbates the fatigue element of fibromyalgia. That, in
    turn, creates more cravings for sugar, followed by still more fatigue --
    allowing a vicious cycle to develop." Cutting out the sugar, he says,
    particularly soda, can result in better, more even control of blood sugar.
    Better control will help reduce fatigue and at least some of the related pain.

    4. Caffeine -- including coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate.

    Because it is considered a stimulant, many fibromyalgia patients turn to
    caffeine-rich beverages as a source of energy. But McNett says the boost you get
    is false -- and can quickly exacerbate fatigue.

    "The problem with caffeine is that the 'up' is relatively brief and transient,"
    he says. "And it's followed by substantially longer and deeper sedative effect."

    Because people with fibromyalgia are already tired, McNett cautions, those
    sedative effects can be much more powerful. "They are starting off from a point
    of fatigue, so the sedative qualities are amplified -- leading to a much deeper
    and long lasting sense of fatigue."

    The good news is that cutting out caffeine can make a difference within less
    than a week. "Most patients begin to see a difference in their fatigue level
    almost right away," he says.

    5. Yeast and gluten.

    Although these are two separate food substances, they frequently appear together
    -- particularly in baked goods like cake, donuts, and bread. For this reason,
    cutting out one, usually means you are cutting out both. That can actually yield
    two separate benefits for people with fibromyalgia.

    In the case of yeast, some doctors say it fosters the overgrowth of the yeast
    fungus in the body. This overgrowth may cause or exacerbate much of the joint
    and muscle pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia. Research, though, has
    yet to confirm this link.

    Gluten can exacerbate a condition known as gluten intolerance. Gluten
    intolerance, Shikhman says, frequently results in a variety of stomach ailments
    and other digestive problems. It also is associated with fatigue in patients
    with fibromyalgia.

    "I have seen people with and without fibromyalgia experience enormous positive
    changes in their health by simply cutting out gluten products," Shikhman says.

    6. Dairy.

    Be they low fat or high fat, some experts say, dairy products -- particularly,
    milk -- have been known to drive the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Avoiding these
    products may help some people turn their health around.

    On the other hand, if you feel as if milk is doing your body some good, keep
    chugging a glass or two of skim milk a day. It's got calcium to build bones and
    protein to build muscle, and it's fat free.

    7. Nightshade Plants: Tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant.

    There are over 2,000 species of plants that that can be listed under the
    category of "nightshade." Those which are edible comprise a group that some say
    can trigger flares of various types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia.

    "I have seen patients who do much better when they cut these foods out of their
    diet," says Holtorf. We're not sure why, but it seems to work in a significant
    percentage of fibromyalgia patients." At the same time, these vegetables are
    among the most nutritious. So if they don't trigger your fibro pain, don't ban
    them from your fridge.

    A final word - Nutrients and the power of a healthy diet

    Avoiding certain foods may help individual patients better cope with their
    disease. Nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, says, however, that most can also
    benefit from an overall heart-healthy approach to good eating.

    "When you are eating a heart-healthy diet - one low in saturated fat, lean
    meats, and poultry and high in the fresh fruits and vegetables that don't cause
    you problems, your body is going to work in a more healthful way, " Heller says.
    And while, she says, this won't necessarily reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms,
    it can help to reduce the risk of other ailments that can only compound your
    health issues.

    "When your body is healthier overall," says Heller, "you may be better able to
    cope with any disease, and better able to respond to even small changes you
    One small study published in the journal Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    in 2001 found that patients who ate a vegetarian diet consisting of mostly raw
    whole foods did see a reduction in their fibromyalgia symptoms.

    Holtorf also believes that sticking to a heart-healthy diet may yield some
    specific helpful effects. "Patients with fibromyalgia have documented
    mitochondria dysfunction," he says. "This is the area of the cell where energy
    is made.

    Consequently, it's necessary to have high levels of nutrients to get the
    mitochondria to work and for energy to be produced." So, Holtorf adds, the
    higher your level of dietary nutrients, at least theoretically, the better off
    you might be.

    What can also help, he says, is a high potency vitamin supplement as well as
    supplements containing omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids -- which are
    also found in foods such as fish oil, flax seed, walnuts, some fortified
    cereals, and eggs -- are the "good fats" that have been shown to have an impact
    on inflammation.

    "For some fibromyalgia patients," Holtorf says, "they work extremely well." Then
    he adds, "It is definitely worth a try."

    Source: WebMD

  2. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I was reading this thinking how familiar some of the statements seemed, and I realized that one of the Drs they quote (McNett) is one I had started seeing awhile back. Unfortunately, thanks to insurance companies' poor (and/or complete lack) of payments for treating Fibro and CFS for so long, he actually had to stop practicing (he felt that the only way to stay in business would be to compromise on the time with each person and the quality of care, types of treatments and he didn't want to do that)......though I am very happy with the Dr I now see, I find it sad that that happened to him - he was quite good, very thorough, and spent a lot of time with each patient.....he was an integrative doc that I had been referred to by another Fibro patient
  3. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    Thanks for the info! Nice to see you again!

    Fight :)
  4. shelbo

    shelbo New Member