I was recently asked if there are any vitamins that help fibromyalgia. I thought I’d post my response here, since I’m sure there are other fibromyalgia patients wondering the same thing.
For the purposes of this post, “vitamins” will mean “essential nutrient”, not simply vitamins. This will include minerals, amino acids, etc.
I’ll list the nutrients alphabetically and state the research that has been done and what it shows. If you're interested in seeing the research, or specific products I recommend, visit my website.
If I’ve missed your favorite nutrient (or study), please let me know!
A 2013 study discovered that the mitochondria of fibromyalgia patients contain a decreased amount Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Your cells use CoQ10 to produce the energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. This same study showed lower amounts of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the coenzyme used as an energy carrier in the cells of all known organisms.
Feeling fatigued, anyone?
A 2013 study looked at treating fibromyalgia patients with creatine monohydrate (CM). They found that “patients who were treated with CM had increased strength as measured by chest and leg presses and increased levels of muscle PC as measured by MR spectroscopy.”
Yes, this is the same supplement you see advertised for body builders. Hey, if it works for them, why not us too?
Dopamine & GABA
A 2013 study showed that the brains of patients with fibromyalgia respond to pain differently. “One brain region that showed an altered response was the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a group of neurons in the center of the brain that responds to reward or punishment.” This area of the brain regulates dopamine, which helps to relieve pain, and GABA. Supplements to support dopamine and GABA would likely be helpful.
To find a good dopamine supplement, look on the label for L-DOPA.
A 1999 study showed that a low dose of human interferon-alpha reduced morning stiffness and physical function for people with fibromyalgia.
There is a great supplement that can be a natural alternative to IFN-alpha therapy that has less side effects.
A 2013 study on magnesium citrate and fibromyalgia showed that fibromyalgia patients had “significantly lower” serum and erythrocyte levels of magnesium than control subjects. It also showed a negative correlation between magnesium levels and fibromyalgia symptoms. (Patients with less magnesium had worse fibromyalgia symptoms.) The study also established that magnesium citrate treatment reduced the number of tender points and fibromyalgia symptoms.
Make sure any magnesium supplement you purchase contains the citrate form of magnesium.
A 1998 study found that patients with fibromyalgia had lower nighttime serum levels of melatonin than the controls. In 2000, a study was done to see what would happen if fibromyalgia patients took melatonin. Bottom line: “results suggest that melatonin can be an alternative and safe treatment for patients with fibromyalgia.”
A 2013 study showed higher nighttime serum cortisol levels in fibromyalgia patients. Phosphorylated serine is a supplement that helps to reduce cortisol. Since cortisol is a stimulating hormone, taking this in the evening can help you get better quality sleep.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
A 2013 study tried treating fibromyalgia with high doses of thiamine (B1). They only had three patients in this study, but all three patients showed significant improvement in fatigue and pain. (Average reduction of 56% in fatigue and 63% reduction in pain.)
A 2012 study showed that many fibromyalgia patients have low serum levels of vitamin D. This study also showed that when those particular patients supplemented with vitamin D to reach a blood serum level of 32-48 ng/mL, it “had a positive effect on pain.”
Make sure to purchase your vitamin D in the D3 form.
Your Unique Needs
There may be supplements that can help you that someone else may not need. For example, you may have anemia and need iron or B-12. You may be suffering from depression and need help boosting your serotonin. Your thyroid might not be functioning properly, contributing to your fibromyalgia symptoms. You may also need amino acid supplementation or have a gene mutation that affects methylation.
Truly, anything that helps your body function better should also help your fibromyalgia.
- I encourage you to think about what symptoms bother you the most. Does your fibromyalgia manifest primarily as fatigue? Or is unrelenting pain the thing that bothers you the most? By prioritizing your symptoms, you can narrow down which things to try first.
- Print this article, or the research on my website, and share it with your doctor. There are tests that can be done to see where you may be deficient. Taking something you don’t need could be harmful, or simply a waste of your time and money. For example, taking vitamin D doesn’t seem to affect fibromyalgia symptoms unless you are deficient.
- To learn more, read this guest post by my friend Missy Baxter: How to Choose a Good Quality Vitamin Supplement.