Fibro and Food
Is Your Fibromyalgia Caused By A Food Allergy?
Fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, headaches, muscle pain are all symptoms of several chronic illnesses. However, for the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) sufferer, they are a permanent fixture. Different causes have been suggested for the pain and tenderness in the muscles, but food allergies are not usually considered to be one of them. Environmental toxicity is another possibility that isn’t usually considered. Nevertheless, both are definitely connected to the discomfort of FMS.
We know that fibromyalgia is a condition in which the central nervous system overreacts to stimuli, causing hypersensitivity in the nerves that refers pain to the muscles. However, non-specific hypersensitivity disorders can also cause chronic pain and although this realization has been very slow in coming, it is gaining momentum today. Food sensitivities have a profound effect upon FMS and with some diet changes, pain can often be controlled.
Developing Food Allergy Pain
The seat of many food allergies in the body is the digestive tract. Problems with this part of the body are common in FMS sufferers and symptoms of GI tract dysfunction are usually linked to other wide-reaching issues. Fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, depression, and muscle pain can readily be tied back to GI problems and food allergies.
Food intolerance (allergy) can easily contribute to inflammation which leads to FMS pain. This inflammation and pain can be contributed to by a variety of foods – each person is different and their food responses are equally different. In the case of fibromyalgia, the best way to determine what foods are irritants is by eliminating the foods that may be contributors and replacing them with foods that are easier on the body. Since fibro sufferers are hypersensitive to stimuli, like noise, light, and chemicals, it follows that foods can create problems as well.
Gluten Intolerance And Fibromyalgia
Is your morning cereal the cause of your fibromyalgia?
Gluten intolerance has been associated with several symptoms characteristic of FMS. Headaches, sluggishness, brain fog, fatigue and pain in the gut are all FMS symptoms, and they are also symptoms of gluten and lactose intolerances. Gluten is the complex protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some oats. Those with intolerances (as it turns out about 60% of us), do not digest these proteins properly. A meal of pasta can cause a headache; French toast in the morning can knock a person out right after breakfast. The body has to work too hard to digest the food and it becomes exhausted and in pain with the trying.
Food Allergy Treatments
There is research indicating that about one in seven people is allergic to gluten, many suffering with chronic illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis and, of course, FMS. Gluten intolerance is not Celica disease, a very serious gastrointestinal condition that requires an extremely strict diet to control. There are blood tests available to determine gluten intolerance, but it is possible to determine intolerance simply by eliminating gluten from the diet for a period of time. It does take commitment and food preparation requires more focus and attention, but the results may well be worth the effort. People tend to eat the same foods consistently, although they may prepare them differently. Cleaning gluten out of the diet may be a challenge, but it can also be an adventure in culinary exploration.
Nutritional experts have identified 118 conditions or symptoms that are provoked or caused by hidden food allergies, including conditions like arthritis, asthma and fibromyalgia. Headaches and weight gain – two very common symptoms of FMS – are often connected to food allergies.
Elevated levels of IgG, antibodies that govern the immune system, are often elicited by certain foods, with cow’s milk (lactose), gluten, and soy being among them. By eliminating these from the diet, IgG levels in the blood subside and foods may be reintroduced back into the diet. Some people choose to go on without the foods that cause a reaction and have found a different way of eating that suits them better.
More about Allergies
Learn more about the effects of allergies on FMS in this article.