Fibromyalgia CFS/ME and Essential Fatty Acids

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Insufficient EFAs can keep your body from properly reducing inflammation. Many fibro patients have been on NSAIDs for years by the time I see them in my clinic. But while these medications block the prostaglandins that cause inflammation, they also block those that stop inflammation. A safer way to reduce chronic inflammation is to increase consumption of essential fatty acids (EFA), especially omega¬ 3 fatty acids from deep cold-water fish.

 

This is because the fats you eat largely determine your body’s ability to fight inflammation.

 

Conversely, too much of the EFA (omega-6) called arachidonic acid (AA) can put you in a pro-inflammatory state.

 

AA is found in corn and corn-oil products. And these products are used as the prominent foodstuff in westernized livestock. Consequently, U.S. land-animal food products (meat, eggs, and cheese, for instance) have a high AA content. Several research articles have demonstrated that the more animal fats a human eats, the more AA they have in their blood and cell membranes and the more likely they are to have inflammation.

Omega-6 fatty acids, while essential for optimal health, do generate AA. AA comes from excessive consumption of vegetable oils and grains (which is the typical diet of livestock). Therefore when battling inflammation, its best to avoid overconsumption of wheat-based products including breads, pasta, crackers, etc. and corn-based products. As for meat, grass-fed livestock is your best option. Many of my fibromyalgia patients find that they feel considerably better when they avoid wheat and dairy products.

 

A diet high in fish oils promotes the opposite: less inflammation and a lower level of inflammatory chemicals. Fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids) increase our natural anti-inflammatory prostaglandin hormones.

 

The balance of fats in our bodies is significant, too.

 

Consider the importance of the ratio between AA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). An ideal AA/EPA ratio of 1.5 to 1 is ideal. But the average AA/ EPA ratio of Americans is 11:1. In those patients with inflammatory conditions and neurological disorders, the ratio is 20:1 or more.

 

The Japanese population, on the other hand, comes very close to the ideal ratio, and they have the highest life expectancy and the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease on the planet!  Since most Americans are carrying around at least 10 pounds of excess fat, it is no wonder that arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are out of control in our country.

 

I recommend you reduce your inflammation-producing AA intake by reducing your intake of wheat, corn, vegetable oils, and grain-fed livestock. Increase your consumption of deep cold-water fish (such as salmon, tuna, and Mahi Mahi). Have a minimum of two servings of such fish a week. You should also supplement with pure fish-oil capsules, one to two grams is good but up to nine grams a day may be needed depending on your inflammation level

 

Depression is strongly linked to EFA deficiencies. A deficiency of omega-3 fat is one the main cause of depression and other mental disorders.  This is because omega-3 fats work to keep us mentally and emotionally strong in three ways: as precursors for pre-prostaglandins and neurotransmitters; as the substrate for B vitamins and coenzymes to produce compounds to regulate many vital functions, including neurotransmitters; and in providing energy and nourishment to our nerve and brain cells.

 

Omega-3 deficiency is related to Candida (yeast) overgrowth.

In a healthy digestive tract, Candida and other yeasts and fungi are kept in check by healthy flora—that is, bacteria. But when a person becomes deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and other vital nutrients, the normally benign yeast changes into an aggressive form and— out of starvation—attacks the walls of the digestive tract in search for nutrients. The integrity of the intestinal walls are then compromised. (This condition is known as intestinal permeability, or more frankly, “leaky gut” syndrome.) Nutrients from within the digestive tract—along with Candida secretions—are then able to penetrate through the lining and enter the bloodstream. These poisons then circulate throughout the body, causing everything from allergies to depression to a heightened susceptibility to staph infections.

Lack of EFAs means a greater susceptibility to viruses. EFAs have direct antiviral effects and are lethal at surprisingly low concentrations to many viruses. Specifically, the body’s production and utilization of the hormone interferon, a chemical our immune system produces to kill viruses, is dependent on EFAs and compromised in their absence. (The antiviral activity of human mother’s milk seems to be largely attributable to its EFA content.)

 

EFAs are also the major components of all cellular membranes in the body, and the integrity of these membranes is the key to preventing infection. Our skin, digestive tract, mouth, sinuses, lungs, and throat are covered with trillions of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeasts. So a membrane’s capacity to recognize what is beneficial and to keep out what is harmful is vital for the immune system. But without enough EFAs, these membranes are compromised.

 

This helps explain why some people get sick and others don’t when exposed to the same virus. In the case of the Epstein-Barr virus, for example, a good 90% of the U.S. population carries this virus, yet only a fraction become ill from it. One theory is that those who actually develop symptoms have below-normal levels of EFAs and their derivatives. A study investigating sufferers of the EBV particularly confirms this: Both eight and 12 months into the study, subjects who had recovered from the virus showed normal or near normal EFA blood levels. In contrast, those who were still clinically ill from the EBV showed persistently low levels.

 

Insufficient EFAs in the bloodstream can lead to fatigue. In a Scottish trial, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were given EFA supplements with great success. After six months, 84% of the patients in the group receiving EFA supplements—and only 22% of those in the placebo group—rated themselves as better or much better. In another study, 74% of CFS patients taking EFA supplements—compared with 23% of those on placebo—assessed themselves improved.

A malfunction of essential fatty acid metabolism has been solidly established to be a major, if not the principle, cause of eczema.

 

Other conditions associated with EFA deficiency include acne, psoriasis, PMS, Sjögren’s syndrome (dry eyes and mouth), some forms of cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and asthma.

 

If you’re not taking a good fish oil supplement I recommend you do. My CFS/Fibromyalgia Formula contains 2 grams of fish oil. If for some reason you have a problem with taking fish oil supplements like having a fishy after taste, put your fish oil capsules in the freezer over night and take them the next day. You can also but enteric-coated capsules, which are better tolerated. They do cost a little a more.

 

 

Reminder Join me For My Free Fibromyalgia Tuesday Night Call Question and Answer Call In Program. Get your fibro questions answered.  Learn what you need to do to feel good again.

Tuesday Night,  July 23rd at  7pm CDT

 

 

2 replies
  1. lillian frazier
    lillian frazier says:

    hurt most of time,can not use any of meds. doc orders.allergic to all.have bad kidneys so what can i do?

    Reply

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