Fibromyalgia: a hidden syndrome |

Fibromyalgia: a hidden syndrome

You ache all over, and your energy level is nonexistent. You don’t sleep well, and you can’t concentrate. Your doctor doesn’t seem to take any of this very seriously.

Sound familiar? Symptoms such as unexplained fatigue and body pain are typical of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). This condition affects millions of Americans, and eight out of 10 are women. Unfortunately for these women, fibromyalgia and another similar problem, Epstein-Barr Virus, are not always easily diagnosed.

In the animal world, veterinarians have treated a disease similar to fibromyalgia called stiff lamb disease, also known as white muscle disease. In 2004, the Western Maryland Research and Education Center published an article entitled “White Muscle Disease (WMD) in Sheep and Goats ” Stiff Lamb Disease”. They describe the symptoms as “… vary(ing) from mild stiffness to obvious pain upon walking, to an inability to stand. Lambs/kids may tremble in pain when held in a standing position. A stiff gait and hunched appearance are common.”

They further note that years of research have related this problem to deficiencies of selenium and vitamin E, and they detail the protocol developed for treating it using these nutrients. They go on to state: “Diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acids or deficient in Vitamin C and/or beta-carotene increase vitamin E requirements …”

Other animal studies have demonstrated that a deficiency of the sulfur-bearing amino acids, such as methionine, also contribute to the problem. The Merck Veterinary Manual also describes the same disease and nutritional protocol. Not surprisingly, the veterinarian nutritional protocols for White Muscle Disease can provide tremendous improvement for those with fibromyalgia as well.

In December of 1999, the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry detailed the account of a 28-year-old woman who developed symptoms that were characteristic of fibromyalgia. Her muscle fiber biopsy showed the “white” fibers also seen in sheep with WMD. She eventually reached the point of being unable to walk. Within two months after adjustments in her diet that allowed her body to absorb more selenium and vitamin E, she was able to stand up from a chair and walk. Researchers also noted that if the dietary program of the patient is deficient in selenium or contributes to selenium deficiency, “… selenium supplementation is recommended.”

The naturopathic protocol for fibromyalgia includes the elimination of all caffeine, all deep fried foods, all polyunsaturated fats and all carbonated beverages. In addition to these dietary guidelines, supplementation of L-seleno-methionine (selenium bonded to the amino acid methionine), adequate natural vitamin E intake (adjusted to body weight), fish oil or flax/borage oil supplementation (again, adjusted to body weight), and adequate high quality protein intake. At the same time, the patient should use another treatment that has proven to be very beneficial along with the nutritional protocol ” frequent massage therapy. This should be done at least once each week in the initial stages.

Before beginning a nutritional program, consult a naturopath who can assist you with the proper forms and dosages of the nutrients. Health matters!

The Post Independent will run a “Health Matters” column once a month. Have a health matters question for R.J.? E-mail him at

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