Monday, February 28, 2011

Supplement vs Meds

Even though this is from a blog about migraines, it is a very good post to read about supplements and medicines and giving each a chance for their possible benefits:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Energy Foods!

Yummy! Foods that help boost energy and mood!

- apples (I have found eating a green apple a day helps me control my weight too)
- smart carbs
- cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts
- lean meats
- salmon
- leaft greens
- fiber
- water
- fresh produce
- coffee (yay!)
- tea
- dark chocolate (although this is off my list, as I get migraines from it :/ )

Turmeric is Good for You and Your Pain

Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, anti-carcinogenic and antimicrobial, liver-protective, heart-protective, cognitive-enhancgin, anti-depressant and anti-arthritic benefits. Whole turmeric root and concentrated turmeric are also very safe. No studies in animals or humans have discovered any toxicity associated with the use of either, even at very high doses.
Despite these broad benefits, turmeric’s greatest health property may be its capacity to relieve pain by relieving inflammation.

Turmeric is one of the ingredients in Zyflamend, which is a popular herbal supplement taken by many for its anti-inflammatory benefits. (Some of its other ingredients include ginger, scutellaria, rosemary, oregano and more.)

Even though fibromyalgia does not seem to involve any inflammation (that doctors can find) I have found many supplements and herbs that have anti-inflammatory effects and that help arthritis, seem to help me a lot too. I tried Zyflamend, but I have found that taking something that contains chinese scullcap and black catechu (like Flexamin or Move-Free Advanced helps me a lot more. You can find these (and usually some generic versions) at your local drugstore.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Therapeutic Teas

I LOVE the Traditional Medicinal teas! My favs are EveryDay Detox, Peppermint, and the Nighty Night. (For a limited time they have free shipping on orders over $65 at their website.) But you should be able to find these at your local supermarkets, a wide variety available at Whole Foods.

Here is their online store:

Anyone else have any favorites they enjoy?!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vitamin D a Chronic Pain: New Research

When I was first diagnosed with fibro one of the initial tests done was checking my vitamin D levels, as it seems for some reason a lot of fibros have low vitamin D. My levels were of course very low, so my doctor put me on 2000 IU's vitamin D/day. Within 3 months I got my levels back up into the normal range, and I continue to take 1000 IU's/day. Its one of the many supplements that I take that I feel makes a difference in my health. (Even if someone does not have fibro keeping your vitamin D levels in check are a good idea!) It may not be a "cure" but I think it is one of the stepping stones in helping me feel better and healthier! Seems like studies are just now being done and coming to the forefront on how these low vitamin D levels relate to our chronic pain and fibro. I love how the article starts off describing "general pain that doesn’t respond to treatment." -- helloooo fibro! :)

"Plotnikoff notes that vitamin D is a hormone. 'Every tissue in our bodies has [vitamin] D receptors, including all bones, muscles, immune cells, and brain cells,' he says.
And in March 2009, researchers at the Mayo Clinic published a study showing that patients with inadequate vitamin D levels who were taking narcotic pain drugs required nearly twice as much medication to control their pain as did patients with adequate D levels."

"Plotnikoff says that there is no evidence from randomized, controlled trials that replenishing vitamin D levels will cure chronic pain. 'But it doesn’t hurt to do it,' he notes.
So if you've got chronic pain, it can’t hurt to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels. 'I believe this is absolutely medically indicated, and it should be the standard of care for everyone with chronic, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain,' Plotnikoff says.

If you have severe vitamin D deficiency, any efforts to boost your D levels should be done by consulting with your doctor. Too much vitamin D can be dangerous and lead to an excess accumulation of calcium in your blood, which can lead to kidney stones.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Smile and Think Positive! :)

New study shows the power of positive thinking and a positive mental attitude - more patients experience successful effects from taking medicine when they have a positive outlook on their expectations :) I love it!


New Studies on CFS Treatments

Great article on some new research just published on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The article details how light exercise and/or a change in mental attitude coupled with the standard treatments provide better relief of CFS.

I have to agree with the studies. I do yoga twice a week, and I have read several books (Fibrowhyalgia, by Sue Ingebretson and How to Be Sick, by Toni Bernhard) which have helped me achieve a positive attitude about dealing with my CFS and fibromyalgia. I also found an online group,, which is an AWESOME positive environment of supportive women and information. They help keep me positive on a daily basis.

While I am not "cured" of CFS, and I am still exhausted at times, I do know that the therapies I mentioned above have made improvements in how I feel, and have helped me live a more normal life and participate in it more! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Arthritis Quiz

Something interesting I just learned:
Research has shown that vitamin C can worsen Osteoarthritis, but it may protect against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Learn more when you take this arthritis quiz (there is a fibro specific question included!)

Even though fibro is not a form of arthritis, it seems to have very similar symptoms and some similar overlapping conditions, so I am always interested in learning more about arthritis too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Women & Heart Attacks - TAKE NOTE

This is too important to not post, from Not directly related to fibromylagia, but since we are very attuned to our health upkeep we should all be aware of the different symptoms women can have when during a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms are different in women than they are in men. Here are 7 signs you are having a heart attack:

(Its actually kind of crazy how similar this list of heart attack symptoms is to my fibro symptoms!!)

1. Extreme fatigue
In the days or even weeks before a heart attack, more than 70% of women experience debilitating, flulike exhaustion. You may suddenly feel too tired to cook dinner or lift your laptop.

2. Mild pain
Rather than the elephant on the chest, women may feel less severe pain--and not always in the region of the heart. Pressure or achiness can occur in the breastbone, upper back, shoulders, neck, or jaw.

3. Profuse sweating
You may find yourself suddenly drenched in perspiration for no apparent reason, or your face may be pale or ashen.

4. Nausea or dizziness
Prior to a heart attack, women often have indigestion or even vomit. You may also feel like you're about to pass out.

5. Breathlessness 
Almost 58% of women report panting or inability to carry on a conversation because they couldn't catch their breath.

6. Sleeplessness
Nearly half of women have trouble falling asleep or wake up during the night in the weeks before a coronary.

7. Anxiety
"Many women experience a sense of impending doom or fear before a heart attack," says Dr. Legato, though experts don't necessarily understand why. Nonetheless, it's real and it matters. "That's your body telling you to pay attention. Trust those instincts," she advises.

3 women who were at risk, but their symptoms were ignored - their stories (TO NOTE: 2 of these 3 women are under the age of 50!)

Another under 50 woman tells her heart attack story and struggles

Foods that Help You Sleep!

A friend shared this with me, it is GREAT!! I am running right out to get bananas and cherries!! I think the info came from

Should you let yourself have that midnight snack if you're having trouble sleeping? Here are five foods that can actually help you drift off:

1. Cherries. Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body's internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries and found high levels of melatonin recommend eating them an hour before bedtime or before a trip when you want to sleep on the plane.

2. Bananas. Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas are a good source of both. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin.

3. Toast. Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger insulin production, which induces sleep by speeding up the release of tryptophan and serotonin, two brain chemicals that relax you and send you to sleep..

4. Oatmeal. Like toast, a bowl of oatmeal triggers a rise in blood sugar, which in turn triggers insulin production and the release of sleep-inducing brain chemicals. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which many people take as a sleep aid..

5. Warm milk. Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases relaxing serotonin. It's also high in calcium, which promotes sleep.

Also this link lists the top 5 foods to AVOID in order to get good sleep: 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Try Something New - Yoga Moves to Help with Pain

This is an awesome article, yay yoga! Yoga keeps me moving, and at the same time calms me and helps me sleep better. I feel more balanced and centered in life. I encourage everyone to give it a try. It is just enough for me and my fibro, and I can take it further if I need to or scale back as needed, and I have found moves to do in place of some that I just cannot do while the rest of the class is doing. A lot of people have joined in the class I am in, new year's resolutions to try something new :)

These are great examples of how practicing yoga can help with pain, it has helped me tremendously:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Is it Fibro?

This is a good article for the newly diagnosed to read, just to make sure another diagnosis has not been overlooked:

She touches, more in depth, on these conditions which can have similar symptoms to fibro:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -- most fibromites unfortunately do have CFS, in addition to their fibro :(

Lupus -- A rheumatologist can run blood tests to confirm

Hypothyroidism -- An endocrinologist can run tests to verify

Arthritis -- A rheumatologist can run tests (usually xrays and bone scans to see if you've had damage to bones, cartilidge from arthritis.) Fibromyalgia feels like arthritis in some people, but fibromyalgia does not actually affect or damage the bones and cartilidge in any way.

Depression --  Unfortunately this too often correlates along with fibro. :(

Multiple Sclerosis -- Can be diagnosed by a neurologist with tests like MRI.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica -- A form of arthritis which can be diagnosed with blood tests.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health

This is a really good post that found. I have started wondering lately what my iron levels are, as I know that can cause fatigue (I am eternally looking for that other diagnosis, "maybe its not really fibro, but a simpler fix like anemia!") And I came across this info, some of it on how your fingernails can clue you in on an iron deficiency. The whole list is very interesting and informative! Who knew our fingernails held so much telling info?!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Basic Tests to Ask Doctor for

I found this page listing basic tests someone with fibromyalgia/CFS should have done by a doctor. I am thinking of going to my doctor and asking for the following tests at a bare minimum. These tests were probably all done on me initially, but I didn't know as much then as I know now, so I never asked for the results. I just can't kick this darned fatigue :/

4 -- Iron, TIBC (total iron binding capacity), percent saturation and ferritin levels. These tests check for iron deficiency and excess. Both of these are critical to detect. If the iron is high, it is very easy to treat (donate blood) but can cripple and kill you if it is missed. Iron deficiency will often be present even if the blood tests are technically normal. This is because the blood test's normal range is based on preventing anemia from severe iron deficiency. More moderate levels of iron deficiency, however, can cause fatigue, brain fog, cold intolerance, restless leg syndrome, immune dysfunction, and infertility. Because of this, I usually recommend treating with iron if the percent saturation is less than 22 percent OR the ferritin level is less than 40. I recheck each four months until the blood tests come above these levels.

5 -- Vitamin B12 level. Although normal is anything under 209, evidence suggests that significant B12 deficiency occurs at much higher levels even in healthy people. Other evidence suggests that very high levels may be needed to maintain optimum health in CFS/FMS patients. I recommend that anybody with a level under 540 be treated with B12 shots. A good argument can be made for treating everybody with CFS/FMS with B12 shots regardless of the blood level.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Exercises for Fibromyalgia

I came across this slideshow on webmd about exercise and fibromyalgia. It's very good. I can feel the difference in my body when I miss a yoga class (usually due to fatigue) and I feel so much better overall the more I am able to keep up with my yoga.