Fibromyalgia and FODMAP: A Possible Solution?
Fibromyalgia (FM) affects between 2 and 4% of the population. Up until now, there are no efficient solutions to manage the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia (FM). However, according to a group of researchers, a low-FODMAP* diet could not only reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, but also improve quality of life and reduce pain for people affected by fibromyalgia.
Increasingly recognized by the medical community, fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome described as a disorder in the nervous system’s pain signalling management. This dysfunction causes symptoms like generalized pain, fatigue, trouble focusing, disrupted sleep and mood.
People affected by fibromyalgia can also suffer from other syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and difficulties concentrating.
Fibromyalgia and Nutrition
According to the Canadian Rheumatology Association guidelines, the first thing to do to manage FM symptoms is to put in place strategies that promote a healthy lifestyle, in conjunction with pharmaceutical treatment.
Unfortunately, there isn’t quite enough evidence yet for me to recommend a specific diet to manage symptoms… however, if you have stomach aches, gas, cramps, diarrhea, constipation or other functional gastrointestinal symptoms, I strongly recommend you keep reading… you may well find a solution!
We know that a low-FODMAP diet has proven benefits when it comes to problems associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and that it is therefore recommended to help drastically reduce these problems. But what about people suffering from fibromyalgia? Indeed, a low-FODMAP diet is efficient in 75% of IBS cases, not just to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, but also to improve quality of life.
A group of researchers has been checking this out and results are very promising! It seems that a low-FODMAP diet can help people affected by fibromyalgia to significantly reduce gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, stomach ache, wind, etc.). This type of diet can also reduce the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and generalised pain.
Despite the fact we only have 2 studies with only a few participants to date, it can nonetheless be interesting to explore this type of diet in view of these encouraging results.
In my next article on fibromyalgia, I’ll share 5 tips and tricks to cope with fibromyalgia.
*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.
- Arranz, L.I., Canela, M-A. et Rafecas, M. (September 2010). Fibromyalgia and nutrition, what do we know? Rheumatology International; 30(11):1417-1427. doi: 10.1007/s00296-010-1443-0
- Association de la fibromyalgie – Région Montérégie. (June 2013). Fibromyalgie – Alimentation, suppléments et produits naturels.
- Borchers, A.T. & Gershwin, M.E. (October 2015). Fibromyalgia: A Critical and Comprehensive Review. Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology; 49(2):100-151. doi: 10.1007/s12016-015-8509-4
- Canadian Rheumatology Association. (2012). Canadian Fibromyalgia Guidelines.
- Carville, S.F., Arendt-Nielsen, S., Bliddal, H., et al. (2008). EULAR evidence-based recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia syndrome. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases;67:536-541. doi: 10.1136/ard.2007.071522
- Fitzcharles, M.-A., Ste-Marie, P. A., & Pereira, J. X. (2013). Fibromyalgia: evolving concepts over the past 2 decades. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal, 185(13), E645–E651. http://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.121414
- Joustra, M. L., Minovic, I., Janssens, K. A. M., Bakker, S. J. L., & Rosmalen, J. G. M. (2017). Vitamin and mineral status in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 12(4), e0176631. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176631
- Macfarlane GJ, Kronisch C, Dean LE, et al. (2017). EULAR revised recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases;76:318-328.
- Marum, A.P., et al. (October 2016). A low fermentable oligo-di-mono saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet reduces pain and improved daily life in fibromyalgia patients. Scandinavian Journal of Pain; 13: 166-172. Doi: 10.1016/j.sjpain.2016.07.004
- Marum, A.P., et al. (June 2017). A low fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet is a balanced therapy for fibromyalgia with nutrition and symptomatic benefits. Nutrición Hospitalaria; 34(3):667-674. Doi: 10.20960/nh.703
- Mayo Clinic. (August 2017). Diseases & Conditions – Fibromyalgia.
- Sanada, K., et al. (2015). Effects of non-pharmacological interventions on inflammatory biomarker expression in patients with fibromyalgia: a systematic review. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 17, 272. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-015-0789-9
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