Fibromyalgia, also commonly referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term health condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. Some of the other symptoms that tend to go hand in hand with fibromyalgia are chronic fatigue, headaches and insomnia. The symptoms can be so severe that people suffering from it are most likely not able to maintain jobs, social lives and sometimes even relationships.
What causes fibromyalgia?
The exact cause of fibromyalgia according to doctors is still very much unknown, according to the NHS they think it could be related to abnormal brain chemicals which process pain messages around the body, there is also evidence to suggest that you are more likely to have fibromyalgia if one of your parents or a family member has it, fibromyalgia tends to occur in clusters in certain families.
I believe that fibromyalgia is caused by an overactive stress response meaning the body is stuck in a state of fight or flight. Fibromyalgia seems to be triggered by trauma, for instance, physical, emotional or chemical trauma like:
- Infections or viruses
- Giving birth
- Death of a loved one
- Relationship breakup
- Toxic chemicals
- Stressful situations
A large part of fibromyalgia’s symptoms are due to poor diet choices and I believe the symptoms of fibro can be helped by making changes to our diet and lifestyle. Eating the way our bodies were designed to eat, with fresh healthy nutritious home-cooked meals. Minus the sugar, grains and processed food.
Modern day living with fast food restaurants and the invention of today’s manufacturing processes has seen us making a switch from good wholesome food to man made processed food-like stuff.
A large portion of our diet now consists of something that looks like food with ingredients that most of us don’t even understand, so Is it really any surprise that we are becoming a nation that is fat, sick and deficient in vital nutrition, vitamins and minerals?
Who gets fibromyalgia?
Anyone can get fibromyalgia, and even though men can and do get it, it seems to affect women more than it does men. Fibromyalgia can affect people of all ages including children and the elderly, we still do not know how many people are affected by fibromyalgia but these days it seems to be a relatively common condition, with around 1 in 20 people showing symptoms of it.
People are generally diagnosed between the ages of 30-50, this could be for many reasons, maybe the doctor didn’t make a connection with all of the symptoms or it was being masked as something else entirely. The reason fibromyalgia can be very difficult to diagnose is because there is no single test that can be carried out. late diagnoses could see people suffering from the condition for many many years before they are actually given a definitive diagnosis.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
As I have said before, diagnosing fibromyalgia is not straightforward. Patients are usually sent from doctor to doctor and specialist after specialist due to the vast amount of symptoms that are associated with the disease. diagnosis is then usually diagnosed by process of elimination.
Your doctor will likely try to rule out any other causes before diagnosing fibromyalgia like:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
To diagnose fibromyalgia your symptoms must fit certain criteria, you must have;
- Symptoms that last more than 3 months
- Pain tender points throughout the body
- Chronic fatigue
- Unrefreshed sleep
- Memory issues
- Other symptoms associated with it
The norm for treating fibromyalgia these days is by using a medication, the reason I do not agree with treating fibro with medication is simple. If doctors don’t even know what the cause of it is, how can they possibly treat it with medication?
Medication doesn’t really treat fibromyalgia, it treats the symptoms of it, medications can also have some horrific side effects, sometimes they are actually worse than the symptoms of fibro itself. I am one of those people who were unable to take the medication, it made me feel so much worse which is why I started to look at alternative therapies and diet.
The worst part about treating with medication is after a certain amount of time they can stop having any effect whatsoever (that’s even if they did in the first place) and you can end up in a vicious cycle of taking one lot of medication to counteract side effects from the other medication.
Medication can also be addictive, especially codeine based painkillers which are commonly prescribed for fibro sufferers, this can also mean going through withdrawal to come off them. I’ve seen this happen to friends and they tell me it’s not a pleasant experience. If you want to know more about the medication prescribed and the side effects of each type see our fibromyalgia medication guide.
Improvements by following a keto diet
People following a ketogenic diet are seeing huge improvements in inflammation, sleep, pain and fatigue just by following a ketogenic diet.
Other things a Keto diet can help with
Systemic candida overgrowth can be helped by switching to a keto diet as it is a sugar free diet, it also helps to rebuild gut health which then improves serotonin levels. When you follow a ketogenic diet you are no longer eating food that causes inflammation and even better because you are eliminating sugar this also heals insulin resistance.
One of the other benefits of following a ketogenic lifestyle is that your body makes a metabolic shift from burning glucose as a fuel source to burning fat, which lowers blood sugars. lowering blood sugar can also help with putting type 2 diabetes into remission.
Another positive of burning fat is our bodies make ketones which fuel the brain and as it happens ketones are a preferred, much cleaner fuel source for our bodies, especially for memory, coordination and concentration issues. If you want to give keto a try see our guide for getting started on keto.
How do I start keto if I have fibromyalgia?
Slowly, people with health conditions like fibromyalgia and diabetes and even chronic fatigue NEED to take it slowly when starting keto. Start by cutting back one or two things per week, as your cutting things out you can add one more thing in.
- Vegetable oil for coconut oil
- Sugar for sweetener
- Fruit for more veg
- White potato for sweet potato
- 4 slices of bread per week for three slices
- Low fat for full fat
- Margarine for butter
Attempting to do it too quickly will result in a shock to your body making you feel even worse, which means you are less likely to stick to it, so in the case of chronic health conditions it is always better to take it slowly.
Take recommended supplements
Supplements are super important for keto you have to make sure you get your electrolytes everyday
- Magnesium (electrolytes)
- Potassium (electrolytes)
- Sodium (electrolytes)
- B12 complex
- Vitamin D
- Good all-round multi-vitamin
The following are optional but if you suffer from depression, anxiety, bloating, gas fatigue then working on your gut health will have amazing effects on not only your health but also your mind. 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, serotonin is what makes us feel good, if our gut is damaged then we are not producing enough serotonin.
- Bone broth
- Digestive enzymes
Exogenous ketones – multi level marketing
Do not be fooled by these so-called Ketone products that promise to get you into ketosis in less than an hour, they do not work! they are a multi-level marketing strategy designed to take your money from you, yes they put Ketones into your body which can give you a false positive but you quickly pee them out, your body does not benefit whatsoever from it and it can hinder your weight loss journey. The only thing you need to do in order to lose weight is just to follow the ketogenic lifestyle.
I luv keto will never promote or endorse ANY weight loss products, if it comes in the form of:
- Exogenous ketones
- Raspberry ketones
My weight loss has been lost purely by changing my lifestyle, weight loss products DO NOT work, yes you may see results in the short term but I can promise you just like I did, you will gain all the weight back and more once you stop taking them.
Give yourself time to settle into keto
You need to give yourself time to settle into this new way of eating. Some people rush into keto, feel like crap and give it up thinking the diet made them ill when they just didn’t give themselves enough time to switch over. They also expect to see immediate results, for many people they will but for others, it may take a little time. We have done lots of damage to our bodies by eating poorly and these things take time to heal.
How much time should I give it?
You need to give it a minimum of 12 weeks in this time your body will have adjusted well and accepted the new way of eating. At the beginning it is normal to feel like crap, your body is going through a detox and is also withdrawing from sugar. sugar withdrawals can be pretty rough.