Fibromyalgia is a condition that all too often, once diagnosed, labels the patient for life. It is also the subject of criticism against doctors who give a patient such a diagnosis once they have exhausted all other avenues for diagnosis. Thus it is sometimes called a “wastebasket diagnosis”. However, there are real guidelines for its diagnosis that are easily enough looked up. The presumption here is that you already have a general idea what fibromyalgia is. The purpose of this article is introductory in nature for such a complex subject and is designed to help the reader to begin to understand the complex metabolic nature of this condition, help the patient realize that it is multi-faceted, and that each facet CAN be successfully peel away like the layers of an onion. It takes time, it takes working with expert medical professionals who will do more than keep you dependant upon prescription drugs to control your symptoms. And it can be resolved! You do not have to live with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia for life! Future articles will go into greater depth on specific aspects that affect this condition.

Immune Matrix is sharing its clinical observations about the commonalities it has seen in their treatment of fibromyalgia. It is their fundamental belief that the body has tremendous capacity to regenerate and heal, especially when an imbalance or condition is addressed at its outset. The more chronic the condition, the harder it is to heal and rebalance the body, only because multiple opportunistic layers begin to develop and complicate the condition. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue fall perfectly into this category. Therefore, patience, diligence like a detective, and perseverance to seek out and find answers and professionals experienced in the different aspects of this condition will help you navigate your way out of what could otherwise be a life sentence.

Due to the multiple and various known symptoms that are associated with this condition and principally pain at recognized trigger points on the body, the debate continues as to the ultimate cause(s) of this condition. The longer the condition exists unchecked, as with any chronic condition, the more it cascades to involve other metabolic processes.

Fibromyalgia patients commonly present with significant metabolic challenges in metabolizing mineral salts. Mineral salts are nature’s way of storing minerals in plants. Dark green leafy vegetables are dense with mineral salts and many contain high concentrations of sulfur, such as kale, watercress, and broccoli to name a few. Those patients having immune sensitivities to sulfur have more severe issues with absorption and utilization of dark green leafy vegetables. Avoidance is not an answer because the body needs minerals and sulfur especially to detoxify and drive the methylation pathway (key detoxification pathway of the liver). However, minimizing one’s daily dose of sulfur containing foods (kale, garlic, eggplant, onion, egg yolk, lamb to name a few) and those rich in mineral salts will go far to reduce the metabolic burden to process and excrete these salts.

Certain genetic defects called SNPs affect the sulfur metabolic pathway. The
SUOX S370S enzyme detoxifies sulfites made from the CBS gene. People with a BDS C699T+ or a C1080T+ defect have a hard time metabolizing sulfur in food and in their medications and supplements. As a result they need to reduce their metabolic ammonia and reduce the sulfur in their diet. They also require more molybdenum and magnesium balanced so as not to offset their zinc/copper ratio to fuel detoxification of sulfur and its metabolites. These genetic weaknesses can be managed with proper nutritional and dietary guidelines too complicated to go into here but are manageable with proper urinary laboratory tests and consultation with professional medical staff knowledgeable in nutrigenomic testing and combined laboratory analysis. The genetic findings plus the actual laboratory findings will tell the experienced practitioner how the patient is metabolizing many substances in the body, and how the patient can alter their diet and add key minerals to assist their body in metabolizing sulfur based foods, thereby “bypassing” their genetic challenges and metabolizing mineral salts more efficiently.

Depending upon the mineral salt, when it cannot be digested and used for key metabolic processes of the body efficiently, those undigested mineral salts and minerals become deposited in tissue in the body. Connective tissue and the extra-cellular matrix are the favorite sites for excretory deposition. Once deposited in the body, they form micro-crystals, calcify and depending upon location and density contribute to muscle aches and pains, nerve pain, muscle stiffness, tender on touch muscles and stiff tendons and joints.

Inefficient usage of mineral salts means that the mineral in question cannot be used efficiently for the metabolic processes the body intended them for. In the case of sulfur, repair of connective tissue, joints, and detoxification called methylation by the liver is inhibited. Other symptoms include depletion of magnesium stores resulting in tight muscles especially in the neck and shoulders, leg cramps and constipation when severe. Calcium metabolism can become affected and the patient can store unused calcium as bone spurs. The consumption of calcium supplements for one diagnosed with fibromyalgia should be done only after consultation with an experienced health care practitioner familiar with the essential components of vitamin D and K metabolism and knowledgeable in appropriate lab testing to determine if you are at risk for developing these bone spurs. Patients also become prone to kidney stones and gallstones less often when they cannot metabolize their mineral salts.

Lastly, the accumulation of certain minerals in the body such as sulfur triggers an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn increases the immune system’s reactivity to fuel inflammation. Inflammation in turn can increase one’s reactivity to the foods most frequently eaten and to other cellular elements that crank up the inflammatory process even further like tinder for fire. Inflammation can also result in auto-immunity to various degrees from sensitivity to one’s own thyroid or adrenal hormones, glandular tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue, almost any part of the body. If immune recognition involves connective tissue or muscle tissue, increased tenderness, soreness, inflammation to those tissues and susceptibility to injury result with impossibly slow recovery time after even a minor injury or overstrain.

Patients who are unable to find a practitioner who is knowledgeable in treating fibromyalgia’s metabolic issues can still improve the severity of their symptoms by avoiding the foods mentioned above and by working with a practitioner who can assist them in detoxification. Detoxification is a complex process and not everyone has the ability to detoxify at the same rate or from the same substances. One of the reason patients with fibromyalgia suffer is that their detoxification pathways are not working properly, either from immune system interference, genetic SNPs that require careful bypass supplementation and monitoring via labs.

Additional new evidence resulting from the research of Dr. D’Adamo suggests an additional metabolic element involving the mechanism of the red blood cell to excrete toxins, thus finding that some people are “secretors” and others are “non-secretors” referring solely the metabolism of their red blood cells. Add that to recent research involving the complex interplay between certain foods and blood types and you find that what results is an increased cellular toxic burden from the consumption of certain foods not only specific to one’s red blood cell’s ability to detoxify but also to one’s specific immune system.

A simplistic example would be the tendency for blood type A to have a heightened susceptibility with their digestive tracts. When toxic or stressed, these individuals will begin to develop problems in their digestive tracts quicker than other blood types. If the blood type A individual was also a “non-secretor”, then they are the worst case scenario for being the most delicate, and challenged at removing cellular toxins and metabolic waste and are therefore the most likely to develop chronic inflammatory illnesses and digestive disorders. Knowing this information about yourself (and this means going beyond the cursory blood test for liver enzymes, which are rarely elevated in those with these described challenges) can go far to assist you in evaluating the decision to embark on prescription medications or other protocols without the added assistance of supportive detoxification therapies. Patients that don’t know this information about themselves and who might be “non-secretors” often hit a wall and find they become so reactive or sick on medications, supplements, tinctures or herbs that they often quit treatment and resolve to live with their increasing disability.

Patients at Immune Matrix are given a thorough metabolic and immune screening to determine their ability to detoxify on a metabolic level, and have the following additional issues evaluated as significant in contributing to fibromyalgia.

1) Metabolism of mineral salts, sulfur and other key minerals
2) inefficient detoxification pathways
3) elevated inflammatory cytokines and their triggers
4) food sensitivities/allergies
5) leaky gut
6) neurotransmitter imbalances causing heightened pain perception, anxiety, insomnia, inattention, brain fog
7) mitochondrial issues affecting ATP synthesis, the energy our cells need
8) chronic pathogenic infections from viral, bacterial, protozoa, parasites and yeast
9) auto-immune recognition to thyroid or adrenal hormones most commonly but also possible to other hormones, glandular tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue, almost any part of the body

These additional issues affect fibromyalgia patients to varying degrees and will be the subject of future elaborative articles.

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan