Is there a connection between fibromyalgia and immune health status?
Yes, especially when we are living with fibromyalgia and its primary co-conditions of CFS/ME and MCS. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)
These co-conditions can be affected by dysfunction in both the mitochondria and the immune system. Links to these related conditions are listed at the bottom of this article.
Due to the recent spread of corona virus, I am interrupting this article to impart a few words on some of the best ways to protect ourselves.
I was at a meeting recently with other health care providers and we spent some time talking about the spread of the corona virus. I shared on the facebook page, but will expand on both recommendations and things I have done over the years for immune health.
As it turns out, my co-worker and I were exposed to the virus at a large conference of thousands of people from all over the world in February this year. Day 5 of the 6 day conference, I got sick.
As I found out a few months back, I did acquire the covid 19 virus, had rather mild symptoms, and then tested positive for the antibodies. My co-worker, older than me, also got it and had milder symptoms.
I did a couple videos regarding my positive result, because if I could encourage anyone to not be afraid, then it is worth it. I have Fibro, CFS/ME, MCS, auto immune conditions, and more.
I am 52, with underlying conditions, and yet I had fairly mild symptoms. My symptoms included loss of smell and taste (3-4 weeks), different type of headache, nausea, and a slight cough (about a week)
Some of my symptoms lingered longer as I noticed an increase in inflammation. (yes, I could literally FEEL it) I have lived with Epstein Barr a long time, so I get it.
Here is the thing, I truly believe in everything we ascribe to for immune health in Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME and Epstein Barr. I am doing the very same things you often hear me talk about, and now I have seen some of those symptoms decreasing.
I feel it is very important to tell my experience, because I live with the very same thing you do, Fibromyalgia, and I have each of its primary co-conditions.
No, this life long journey has not been an easy ride for me, but I am so passionate about this cause and helping you in any way possible. Again, I believe in the things we ascribe to because they work to help increase our quality of life, no false cures here.
Everyone is talking about immune health these days, and with all of this "talk" comes the push of supplements.
You know that I am all about safety and effectiveness when it comes to supplementation. I am not very flexible in this area because I know and have seen the potential dangers.
First, a common immune supplement that is being pushed is glutathione. The problem is that glutathione is not right for everyone, especially if you have had metal fillings in your mouth for any amount of time, as it can move mercury around the body.
If you don't feel well after taking glutathione, it is best to stop taking it and consider our alternative which is 2:1 glutamine and glycine.
These two amino acids (get them pure in bulk form) can be taken together to create glutathione in a safe form without hurting you. I like to start with 2 grams of glutamine and 1 gram of glycine. (shown below here)
We can all use more vitamin C, and that is generally safe, use a raw form or liposomal form.
Other immune supplements we have used safely for years are listed at the bottom of this article.
1. Have a face mask just in case, but avoid overuse so you are not exposed to CO2. It's not the best idea to do a lot of talking while wearing a mask.
2. Avoid too much sanitizing. Be naturally clean, not chemically clean, or this will drive down immune status. Unfortunately I see a lot of "over sanitizing" and that is doing more harm.
3. Utilize the safest supplements.
4. Strengthen the immune system first by avoiding depletion of critical nutrients. Avoid sugars and excess carbohydrates which deplete the bodys natural stores of vitamins C. Avoid second hand smoke and exposure to chemicals.
Supplements will not do much if a diet is loaded with unhealthy foods. Use a food source of vitamin C and also take additional zinc. I like Wellness Formula for short duration periods of time.
My favorite zinc is in zinc sulfate liquid form from IONIC ZINC, or Pure Encapsulations brand for zinc.
ALWAYS TAKE ZINC AFTER A MEAL TO AVOID STOMACH UPSET OR NAUSEA. Start slow if you need to with 1/4 to half a dose.
5. Vitamin D is also important for immune health, but the form is critical, read more here about the only liquid D3 emulsion we have successfully used over many years.
6. A colloidal silver spray in the mouth might also be helpful (if you don't have silver fillings). Sovereign Silver is a good brand.
More suggestions at bottom of this article.
Advancing research in the field of neuroimmunology has offered some of the most promising discoveries between fibromyalgia and immune health.
Some researchers now believe that molecules known as “pro-inflammatory cytokines” may have something to do with the myriad of symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia sufferers.
These cytokines are released by white blood cells in response to infection in the body. These molecules stimulate interaction between various bodily systems, including the brain, the nervous system, and the immune system. When the infection is treated and there is no other stressor in the body, the production of those cytokines should subside.
How are fibromyalgia and pro-inflammatory cytokines connected?
Research has shown that fibromyalgia patients may have fewer cytokines in their body than people not suffering from this condition. This means that the immune response to infection and stress throughout the body is less aggressive in people with fibromyalgia.
Research into this theory is ongoing, but many professionals believe that this may help lead to better treatment not only of fibromyalgia but for patients with multiple sclerosis and other conditions as well.
Working as a colon therapist, and in the field of gut health for many years, I certainly have seen the connection between optimal gut health, fibromyalgia and immune health. A diet with too many sugars and simple carbohydrates can increase the propensity to overgrowth of bacteria and fungal infections in the digestive system and affect organs involved in the endocrine and immune systems.
You might have heard about SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and wonder if this could be a problem for you? Do you experience bloating and indigestion on a regular basis? Does it seem that many foods don't agree with you?
You see, a lot of important things take place in the small intestine. From properly breaking down food to absorption and assimilation of nutrients. It is important, as we describe in the anti-inflammatory diet article, to reduce mucous forming foods, because they in turn create more mucous and this makes it even harder to absorb essential nutrients.
In a sense, it is about starving the very things that can live in a compromised gut. This includes bacteria, parasites, and fungal infections like candidiasis. In future articles, I will continue to expand on safer and effective ways of treating these unwanted bacterium without worsening symptoms in fibromyalgia itself.
What is so bad about sugar?
Well, many of us can have a sweet tooth from time to time, but when sugar is ingested (even natural sugars) on a regular basis, this can decrease immune status. Ingesting sugar can lower the immune system status for 3-6 hours.
If you eat sugar a few times every day, then it can be easy to see how your immune system might never be able to perform at its best!! One of our nutrition articles, Nutrition Tips gives some suggestions for daily meals and ways to avoid sugar cravings during the day.
Some people with fibromyalgia and its primary co-conditions are hesitant about being around other people when the sniffling and sneezing season starts, while others limit their social interactions because they feel susceptible to picking up every bug or virus that goes around.
Here are a few points I talk about with clients and have used myself for many years. I am 52, and have rarely gotten the flu. That brings us to point one.
1.Decide whether the flu shot is right for you. I don't get them, my husband at 65 doesn't get them, and we use natural remedies to increase our immune health and avoid toxins in the flu shot like Ethylene Glycol, Formaldehyde, Aluminum, Mercury, and more toxins. Whatever you do regarding the flu shot, you can still increase your chances of creating greater immune status by utilizing the following suggestions as well.
2. Avoid too much hand sanitizer, and use natural options like CleanWell, which has no synthetic fragrance or alcohol. It has been proven that too much "sanitizing" actually works against the body's natural defenses. Avoid toxic hand soaps in public bathrooms, carry your own, or use warm/hot water and a paper towel. Water is the universal solvent.
(Also, avoid methanol in hand sanitizers)
3. If you also have the primary co-condition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, you might find that being exposed to toxins, synthetic fragrances, and chemicals can make you more prone to lower immune status and increased risk of sinus pain, infections, etc. I often recommend wearing a face mask on airplanes, trains, and even places like veterinary clinics can have high levels of chemicals in the air.
4. Greatly reduce sugars, dairy, and grains, as these can be mucous forming, and mucous is like a magnet for germs, bacteria and virus.(Dairy fats like clarifed butter (ghee) would be an exception)
5. For most of us in winter, our sun exposure is greatly reduced. A quality form of vitamin D is very helpful and Life Extension Vitamin D emulsion has been proven to increase vitamin D levels safely.
Read more here in our Vitamin D and immune health article.
6. Use colloidal silver (I like Sovereign Silver) in the mouth, take under the tongue and throat area. This helps to protect against and kill bacteria, virus, etc. Easy to take drops or spray.
7. Stimulate the lymphatic system as much as possible. You can visit the VIDEO section of our fitness page, FIbro Fit People and check titles, I show rebounder, large ball exercises, and standing/tapping exercises. There are many safe ways to accomplish this.
8. Before going in public areas, you can lightly moisten a cotton ball with a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide and clean the outside area of your ears. This forms extra protection.
9. Use a sauna on occasion if you find you are not sweating at all during the winter. I like to use an infra-red sauna (shown at bottom of Natural Rxs article) but any way that you can sweat out toxins will help, just go very slowly with any sauna use.
10. A multi nutrient formula like Wellness Formula can be helpful. It does contain echinacea and goldenseal, so it should only be taken for short periods of time. It is potent and effective. Increase your vitamin C through a safe vitamin C powder like HealthForce, or whatever form of C works for you. Olive Leaf and Oregano are great for germs and fungal issues, and are also in the Wellness Formula. Elderberry cough drops or extracts are also helpful.
11.Eat at home more often during cold and flu season. Employees of restaurants, coffee shops, etc often show up to work sick because they need the paycheck. They are handling your food, the lids on your coffee cups, and more.
12. We cannot always avoid a cold or flu all together, If you do get sick, take that time to rest, but continue to implement any of these suggestions to help support your immune system and stay proactive.
13. A neti pot is great to get mucous and toxins out of the sinus area, just be careful if you find it irritates your sinuses, only do as much as needed.
14. Juicing garlic (with other vegetables, not alone) is one of my favorite ways to get "natures antibiotic" right into the bloodstream, you can find some of my juicing recipes here. NOTE: never swallow whole raw garlic OR use more than 2-3 cloves at one time. Juicing garlic is much more tolerable than eating raw, even diced in foods or in soups. You won't get the gas, in fact, this way helps to release the gas, not trap it in your intestines.
When the immune system is compromised, you can be more susceptible to a flare because when your symptoms increase, your immune status can more easily decrease.
During a fibro flare, you might experience more immune reactions like swollen glands, sensitivity to weather, and more areas of muscle, tendon and joint pain.
Remember that the health of our lymphatic system is directly related to the health of our immune system.
Working in clinic and as a practitioner for many years, I have often seen the correlation between chronic illness/auto immune illness and low levels of vitamin D, which is obtained from the sun.
Some people have an aversion or other medical condition which might prevent them from going in the sun. Yet, from cancer to auto immune illness to joint health, there is nothing better than getting your 25 minutes or so a day of full body sun, when possible that is.
Research continue to prove this. We obtain vitamin D best from the sun, but we must be able to properly synthesize the vitamin D. You can read more here in our Vitamin D article. Think about these points as well : 1. stay hydrated with alkaline water. 2. avoid toxic sunscreens which promote everything from skin cancer to rashes, use a better option like zinc oxide and keep it fragrance and chemical free.
3. Organic coconut oil has a slight natural sunscreen. 4. Eat an abundance of raw organic foods during the summer months to better support vitamin D absorption and skin health. 5. Consider the best additive free Vitamin D emulsion we have ever used and I do highly recommend and use it, first picture in vitamin D article linked above here.
It is a good idea to nourish your immune system so that your body is empowered to fight off illness to the best of its ability. There are many supplements out there that claim to increase and balance immune status, but I want to give you a short list of our recommendations. These are what I like to call the “essentials for immune status:"
1. additive free multi vitamin (in our supplement page)
2. *Zinc Ionic liquid (10-30mg per day) take ONLY after meals.
3. Vitamin C (food grade powder) (bottom of adrenal stress article)
4. Vitamin D emulsion (additive free, proven effective, easy to take drops)
5. Colloidal Silver (liquid or spray)
6. Glutamine and Glycine (Bulk Supplements on Amazon)
(remember, these are the safer alternatives to glutathione as I noted in first part of article)
Other additional options: (not quite as cost effective)
1. Cordyceps powder
2. Pro-Boost (a thymus extract I have used for about 15 years intermittently, but again at a higher price point) *see headline below on stimulating your thymus naturally)
One of the best ways to keep your immune system strong is to exercise regularly to your ability, take quality supplements that enhance and balance the immune system, and stick to a nutrient-dense diet. You may also benefit from taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, especially if you know that your diet is less than perfect. You might also want to ask your doctor to check for nutritional deficiencies if your immune system seems to let you down all too often.
Although there is not one best diet for fibromyalgia, there are many dietary principles that will help to increase immune status and help you to absorb more nutrients while working to decrease inflammatory factors .
Check out our favorite additive free multi vitamin on the supplement page linked above.
The thymus is one of our organs that can greatly impact fibromyalgia and immune status. Your thymus is located right in the middle of your upper chest. To stimulate our immune health, we can gently tap (with closed fist) on this middle chest area. I generally do this for about 2 minutes at a time. If you feel comfortable, you can tap a little more aggressively.
Don't forget that continual exposure to toxins and irritants can also lower immune status. Be sure to keep a non toxic home, only using natural cleaners. Avoid conventional soaps and detergents. Because we are in such close proximity to our clothes and bed linens, it is essential to wash only with fragrance free natural detergents. See Chemical Sensitivity link below.
See additional article links below and thank you for being here!!
In future articles, we will expand more on immune health protocols we continue to work on regarding Fibromyalgia and Immune Status.
Lisa. CT. PT.