I have worked with a number of people who once suffered from the symptoms of Fibromyalgia or from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are two similar disorders with overlapping symptoms. They include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, immune system dysfunction and psychological depression. People with Fibromyalgia also experience muscle and fibrous tissue pain, as well as gastro intestinal challenges. The cause or causes of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are unclear and some regard them as syndromes rather than actual diseases. Therefore, established medical treatments are based on the management of individual symptoms and can often be a game of cat and mouse for the medical professional.
With such complexities it is easy to understand why the role of nutrition in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has largely been overlooked. However since we now understand the importance of dietary components like glyconutrients (Mannose, Fucose, Galactose, Glucose, Xylose, N-Acetylgalactosamine, N-Acetylglucosamine and Sialic Acid) in regulating the immune, nervous, muscular systems as well as cell-to-cell communication in general, it is apparent that the biological activities of such nutritional components may play a significant role in maintaining proper function of those systems.
Also associated with these two conditions is an abnormal sleep pattern. Any number of gland failures resulting in hormonal imbalance may influence this. As sleep is a function regulated by a number of hormonal factors, nutritional support of glyconutrients as well as certain plant sterols may provide benefit in this area by supporting improved production and coordination of key hormones.
Some studies have shown possible linkages of viral and bacterial infections, such as Herpes, Coxsackie B and Lyme disease, to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The reason for this is that many of the symptoms are closely associated with that of an active infection. There is also a high association with the diagnosis of either of the conditions and a positive test for one or more of these pathogens.
Other scientific evidence also suggests that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are related to immune system dysfunctions based on measurements of various immune markers in patients with these disorders. This can be measured in levels and activity of Natural Killer Lymphocytes, Cytokines such as Interleukin as well as other immune system factors. Through the measure of this activity, some studies have suggested that these two conditions may be autoimmune in nature. Whether or not they are, it is apparent that support of proper immune system function through improved nutrition can bring benefits to those suffering from any of the effects of these conditions. For example, acemannan, has been shown to enhance the killing activity of Macrophage against Candida Albicans, and can be found in certain glyconutrient supplements.
Regardless of the precise mechanisms in Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome it should be apparent from the review of scientific and medical literature that all systems of the body are intimately involved in the syndrome. Proper dietary support for the cells from which these systems are composed calls for appropriate levels of a range of micronutrients. This is not limited to mere vitamins and minerals, but may also involve other categories of so-called phytonutrients including anti-oxidants, plant sterols and glyconutrients.