||Fibromyalgia Food Additives - 1
Are Food Additives Aggravating Your Fibromyalgia?
Diet soda, Chinese takeout — some research linked fibromyalgia pain to substances found in these and other everyday processed foods. http://www.everydayhealth.com/fibromyalgia/are-food-additives-aggravating-your-fibromyalgia.aspx?xid=aol_eh-fibro_2_20120312_&aolcat=AJA
Few health conditions are more misunderstood than fibromyalgia. Unlike tendinitis or arthritis, where the source of the pain is usually easy to understand, fibromyalgia remains a bit of a mystery, as do the factors which cause it.
While the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers are trying to run down possible causes such as physical and emotional trauma, sleep disturbances, and even certain illnesses. Recent research has suggested that another factor might be contributing to fibromyalgia pain: food additives.
Fibromyalgia and Food Additives: What the Research Shows
A number of smaller studies and case studies are lending credence to the idea that chemical food additives might influence fibromyalgia pain. These substances, including aspartame (NutraSweet), hydrolyzed protein, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), are typically used to add flavor to foods. But they also may instigate a chemical reaction that triggers pain in some people who eat them.
Take aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in many diet sodas. “Aspartame acts as an ‘excitotoxin’ in the brain,” says Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS, a pharmacist and nutritional consultant in New York. Excitotoxins are substances that react with certain brain receptors known as neurotransmitters. "When these neurotransmitters are overstimulated, they compromise the neurotransmitter receptor sites, amplifying the sensation of pain.”
How to apply this technical talk to your fibromyalgia pain management? Consider this recent French report about two patients with fibromyalgia, a 50-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man. Both eliminated their fibromyalgia pain completely simply by eliminating aspartame from their diet. While experts would caution against drawing conclusions from such a small study, Peter Bongiorno, ND, LAc, a naturopathic physician in New York City, has noticed this same effect in his own fibromyalgia patients.
Food additives in the form of hydrolyzed proteins — MSG is one of the most common — also seem to play a role in fibromyalgia pain. In a study conducted in Portland, Ore., patients with fibromyalgia pain and irritable bowel syndrome underwent a month-long diet that eliminated hydrolyzed protein and similar food additives from their diet. Thirty percent experienced a reduction in symptoms. Then, as a follow-up, for three days patients drank juice with a placebo or juice mixed with MSG. Those who had the MSG beverage found their symptoms got worse.
How to Cut Out Food Additives
If you want to test the theory yourself to see if your fibromyalgia pain eases, the first step is identifying and then eliminating these additives from your everyday diet. Foods and beverages labeled as "diet" should be scrutinized to check for aspartame in the ingredient list.
When it comes to hydrolyzed proteins, Mendez says to also steer clear of foods with the names glutamic acid, yeast extract, sodium caseinate, and autolyzed yeast in the ingredients list. Many packaged foods have these in their ingredient list.
It can be challenging to avoid all these items, but when faced with fibromyalgia pain, becoming a diligent label reader is critical. Mendez has an even easier way to steer clear of food additives: “Eat whole foods, as they exist in nature, rather than relying on packaged or processed foods, which almost always contain MSG or some derivative.”
Once you begin to banish food additives from your diet, you’ll probably find that the process becomes easier. You’ll look forward to drinking water or fresh juices instead of diet sodas, and to making creative, fresh meals free of preservatives — benefits that can both ease fibromyalgia pain and improve your overall health.
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