By: Dr. Barry Sears
Fibromyalgia is characterized by constant pain in the fibrous tissues (muscle, ligaments and tendons) of the body. Essentially, they ache all over 24/7. In many ways, fibromyalgia is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. Since more women than men have it (this is also true for arthritis), for years doctors have said it’s all in their heads especially because of the wide number of symptoms that are simultaneously associated with it. These include fatigue, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (40-70 percent of patients), headaches (50 percent of patients), multiple chemical sensitivities (50 percent of patients), as well as painful menstrual periods, cognitive impairment, dry eyes, dizziness and impaired coordination in a lesser number of patients.
Although there is no known cause of fibromyalgia, it appears that it may be caused by viral infection in individuals with a predisposed genetic potential. But with such a wide range of associated disorders, one looks to disturbances in eicosanoid balance as a clue as to what is causing these symptoms. This is confirmed by recent research that indicates high-dose fish oil can relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Since the levels of Substance P (a neurotransmitter mediator of pain) is three-fold higher in the spinal fluid as well as increased levels of cortisol in the blood, then a long-term, anti-inflammatory intervention with high-dose, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil makes excellent medical sense.
Of course, the question is how much? As I pointed out in my book, “The Omega Rx Zone,” almost miraculous pain relief from fibromyalgia can be seen within hours after taking high-dose fish oil (10-15 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids). However, you have to keep taking the same levels of high-dose fish oil continually to maintain a steady state of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the bloodstream to dampen down the pro-inflammatory effects of arachidonic acid (AA). Therefore the AA/EPA test we have devised will tell you exactly how much pharmaceutical-grade fish oil you need to control this constant condition.
Bottom line, fibromyalgia is a tough disease because it is so diverse in its symptoms. But it also appears that an appropriate long-term eicosanoid modulation program using the OmegaZone Dietary Program may be your best defense to maintain a quality of life in the presence of this disease that still confounds medical science.