Fibralgia

muscle-pain2.jpgFibromyalgia is a condition involving pain in the muscle fibers. It affects 2-5% of the American population, or about four to six million people. Its exact causes are unknown, and because there are no objective medical tests for it, it is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. Typical medical treatment is to use pain medications and anti-depressant drugs, but these offer little help.

There are many contributing factors to fibromyalgia, and one may be a deficiency of magnesium, an important mineral that muscle fibers need in order to relax after contraction.  Magnesium is also part of over 300 enzyme systems in the body.

One of the primary dietary sources of magnesium is naturally-occurring chlorophyll in dark green plants. (Magnesium is not found in Liquid Chlorophyll but can be obtained from Chlorophyll Gel Caps).  Americans tend to eat very few dark leafy greens and hence, wind up magnesium deficient. They also take calcium supplements without a proper balance of magnesium to go with it.

Many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia correlate with symptoms of magnesium deficiency. For example, a deficiency of magnesium can lead to muscle stiffness, increased pain, and disturbed sleep patterns.

Nearly all of the enzymes needed to turn the fats and sugars we consume into energy (in the form of ATP) require magnesium. Low levels of ATP are common in people with fibromyalgia.

The brain requires ATP to function, with 20% of the ATP in the body being found in the brain. Thus, low levels of ATP can diminish brain function.  “Brain fog” is common in people with fibromyalgia.

Magnesium is important for muscle functioning. Magnesium deficiencies lead to spasms, tics, restlessness, twitches and muscle tension. These are all problems associated with fibromyalgia.

Magnesium also tends to make nerves calmer. A deficiency of magnesium results in nerves firing too readily from minor stimuli. People who are magnesium deficient are often bothered by insignificant noises. This excessive firing makes the nerves that signal pain more likely to overreact.

Malic acid is a natural acid found primarily in sour fruits like apples. It is also synthesized by the body. It is used in the production of energy (ATP) inside the cells and may also have a beneficial effect for people with fibromyalgia.

When given 1200 to 2400 milligrams of malic acid, fibromyalgia patients reported an improvement in pain symptoms within 48 hours of starting the supplement. This improvement was subsequently lost when supplements were discontinued.

Studies using malic acid combined with magnesium have proven effective in helping to reduce pain in fibromyalgia patients. One double-blind study showed no improvement with 50 mg. of magnesium and 200 milligrams of malic acid three times per day after four weeks, but when the does was later increased to 300 mg. of magnesium and 1200 mg. of malic acid per day, there was a significant improvement in pain and tenderness.

In another study of 15 patients with fibromyalgia, there was significant improvement after eight weeks on 300-600 mg. of magnesium and 1200-2400 mg. of malic acid. While these studies do not suggest that fibromyalgia may be cured with magnesium and malic acid alone, they do suggest that these nutrients may be helpful.

Suggested Use

Fibralgia is a blend containing 350 mg. of malic acid and 80 milligrams of magnesium sterate. A good dose of this blend would be 1-2 capsules three times daily.

Selected References

The Role of Magnesium in Fibromyalgia by Mark London (http://web.mit.edu/london/www/magnesium.html)
Malic Acid and Fibromyalgia (http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/id/171)