Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia: Healing Your Digestive Tract

natural-treatment-for-fibromyalgia-healing-the-digestive-tract

I’ve just started a new naturopathic protocol, focusing on healing my digestive tract.My naturopath wants to start with the digestive tract for a couple of reasons. First of all, my IBS and pelvic pain symptoms suggest that my G.I. tract is inflamed. One cause of digestive problems is “leaky gut syndrome” – a colourful name for a condition in which the the digestive lining becomes too permeable, or “leaky”, allowing partially digested proteins and harmful substances/microbes into the bloodstream. These foreign particles are attacked by white blood cells, causing inflammation and overtaxing the immune system. Inflammation like this can prevent absorption of necessary nutrients and energy, which can in turn aggravate chronic illness symptoms. This might also affect my ability to absorb other supplements that I need, so it seems like a good place to start.

Secondly, the digestive tract is a critical part of the immune system. Inflammation, microflora (bacteria and other microbes) imbalance, and yeast overgrowth are probably all issues that I need to address. Having my immune system all tied up addressing these problems could be significantly impairing my body’s ability to function in other ways. Fatigue, pain, poor tissue repair, susceptibility to infection and other fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue symptoms can be aggravated by immune dysfunction. Freeing up my immune system from dealing with digestive inflammation and microbe imbalance could enable healing and re-energizing down the line. Here I want to share research on supplements that can help heal the digestive tract lining – an important step to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. If you are interested in additional steps, I’ve written about the benefits of Probiotics and Fibro in a separate post and avoiding  foods that you are sensitive to, based on food sensitivity testing and/or an elimination diet.

  • L – glutamine is an amino acid (protein building block) produced in the body, stored in muscles and the lungs.* It has a number of functions in the body, including eliminating excessive ammonia waste, helping to provide nitrogen and carbon ‘fuel’ to cells, and helping in the synthesis of other amino acids and glucose, among others. Although the body usually produces adequate amounts of glutamine, in times of stress or illness the body’s production may be insufficient. Glutamine is included in this supplement in order to supply a source of fuel and precursors for growth to the rapidly dividing cells of the intestinal lining”.
  • deglycyrrhizinized licorice (DGL) licorice has been traditionally used in many cultures to promote health. This form removes an element in licorice called glycyrrhizin which can cause water retention, edema and hypertension issues. DGL is effective for treating gastric irritation, ulcers (one study found it to be as effective as a common over-the-counter medicine), heartburn, and other digestive problems. It also may be helpful for treating adrenal gland problems and reducing fatigue.**
  • aloe helps to heal inflamed intestines and can promote the integrity of the digestive lining. Aloe has a few properties which ease this process, which include balancing the pH of the G.I. tract, and antimicrobial properties which aid in healing.*** This may counteract leaky gut symptoms.

 

These ingredients are all included in a supplement called Metagenics Glutagenics. My dose is 1/4 teaspoon two times daily (of powder mixed into water).

*http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/glutamine

**http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-chen-md/dgl-supplements_b_2976260.html

***http://www.crohns.net/Miva/education/aboutaloe.shtml

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome