The Paleo Diet and Fibromyalgia

Sometimes there is a condition that has a specific set of symptoms, and yet no known cause, like “Baby Colic” for example. These are fundamentally not real diseases, or conditions as such, they are simply just a set of symptoms that some doctor, decided that it would be best to give a name to, even though they really don’t know what it is caused by or what to do about it.

“Colic (also known as infant colic, three month colic, and Infantile colic) is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or screams frequently and for extended periods, without any discernible reason. The condition typically appears within the first month of life and often disappears rather suddenly, before the baby is three to four months old, but can last upto 12 months of life. One study concludes that the chances of having colic is lower in breastfed babies.” – Wikipedia

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

If a mother brings a baby to see a doctor, and the doctor says, “well, that certainly is a disturbing set of symptoms, but we honestly don’t know what it is”, mothers everywhere would remain extremely worried and the doctor would put no concerns to rest. That’s not what doctors are there for, they’re supposed to make us feel better! So if a doctor says “Oh, don’t worry, that’s just Colic”, it makes us believe that the doctor has seen it many times before, and has a handle on the problem.

The truth about colic, is that it’s probably attributed to gastrointestinal discomfort, since the studies show that the “condition” is less common in babies who are breastfed, than babies that are not. This tells me that there is probably some kind of intolerance going on, in relation to man-made infant formulas. Put simply, the baby has a tummy-ache!

In my opinion, fibromyalgia is largely in the same boat, with these other “phantom diseases”. Conventional medicine doesn’t really know what it is, or what causes it, so they give it a fancy name, and invent a pill for it.

Fibromyalgia (new Latin, fibro-, fibrous tissues, Gk. myo-, muscle, Gk. algos-, pain, meaning muscle and connective tissue pain; also referred to as FM or FMS) is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia, a heightened and painful response to pressure.[1] It is an example of a diagnosis of exclusion. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some patients may also report difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1.” – Wikipedia

So fibromyalgia consists of chronic widespread pain, joint stiffness, along with depression and anxiety…doesn’t this sound like an autoimmune response, probably related to leaky-gut and therefore, our old friend Gluten? It certainly does to me.

If you look at any list of fibromyalgia symptoms available on the internet, it’s quite obvious that almost all of the listed symptoms are also commonly associated with celiac disease, or non celiac gluten intolerance. I wasn’t able to find any peer reviewed studies on PubMed to substantiate such a claim, but I did find a multitude of blogs and health websites that show anecdotal accounts of the symptoms of fibromyalgia clearing up after going gluten-free for only a few days.

Here’s a link to a thread on paleohacks.com about it.

That’s where the correlation of the Paleo Diet and Fibromyalgia comes into play. Autoimmune diseases on the whole, are usually helped, eliminated or reversed, when a person employs a standard Paleo Diet. This type of diet naturally eliminates all of the gluten containing grains, along with all of the other foods that would help to worsen the symptoms of leaky gut, and a whole host of accompanying autoimmune diseases.

The problem here is that for some people, it’s actually an easier choice for them to take some kind of pharmaceutical pill, with unknown side effects for the rest of their lives, than it is for them to change their diet instead. The Paleo diet is based upon whole, natural, REAL foods, instead of the fake processed crap in the standard American Diet. It means focusing on truly nutritional food choices, and eliminates all of the nasty stuff that is responsible for almost all of the diseases of civilization.

Let’s not forget that the Paleo diet is also highly anti-inflammatory in nature, which can also contribute to the elimination of aches, pains, joint stiffness, and migraines.

At the end of the day, it’s your life, so it’s up to you whether you decide to pop a pill, or change your diet for the better. Personally, I think that since a pill will usually only help one, maybe two conditions, and the Paleo diet helps pretty-much everything, the diet wins hands down. I don’t know of any pills that make you feel better AND make you look sexier too.

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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

For more information please visit: www.undergroundnutritionist.com

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3 Responses to The Paleo Diet and Fibromyalgia

  1. Kelly October 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about 15 years ago. I have been re-diagnosed many times since.

    I have been gluten/grain free and have been eating a pretty clean diet since January of this year. I’ve lost 40 pounds and feel in control of my diet for the first time in my life (things finally make sense!), but my aches and pains are still a daily part of my life. I’ve also had chronic daily headaches (all day, every day) for 30 years. I still have those too. I am not taking any drugs for either of these conditions.

    I still have hope that as I continue to avoid grains and industrial fats, that I will eventually start to see some improvement.

  2. dr cate October 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Kelly

    Congrats for your changes. My fibro patients continue to struggle yet I encourage them to keep looking. I find that there’s no one-size fits all answer and you may find something that works. One of my patients recently discovered that a combination of drugs from something called the Marshall Protocol (for Lyme) and adrenal ‘balancing’ hormones from a website by a great group of doctors in Porltand ME (http://www.womentowomen.com/) have improved her life by leaps and bounds. She is able to work all day without being wiped out the next for the first time in decades.

  3. Kelly October 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for the information Dr. Cate! I will do some research.