What is the role of dietary antioxidants in the treatment of fibromyalgia?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Patients with fibromyalgia produce more damaging free radicals than do healthy people, and they have a reduced antioxidant capacity. Normal cellular respiration produces free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. The antioxidant defense system normally keeps these free radicals in check. Dietary antioxidants consumed in foods are essential to increasing our antioxidant status and maintaining our antioxidant systems.

Vitamins (eg, C, E), minerals (eg, selenium, zinc), and phytochemicals are important dietary antioxidants. Vegetarian diets improve some symptoms, in association with an increased intestinal bacterial profile and increased antioxidant status; however, they may be difficult to maintain long term. A vegetarian diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts may be of some benefit. Moderation may be the key to long-term compliance.

Deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is very common in patients with rheumatologic conditions and chronic pain and should be routinely sought. Low levels of vitamin D are not associated with chronic pain, however, and treatment with vitamin D does not reduce pain.

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