Functional medicine, on the other hand, looks to find the root cause of fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases, treating the problem at the root level thereby restoring the patient to health. Here is a list of the top diagnoses (root causes) as to why people are suffering from fibromyalgia.
Gluten Intolerance: Gluten has been liked to more than 55 diseases and is often called the ‘big masquerader’. The reason for this is that the majority symptoms of gluten intolerance are not digestive in nature but rather neurological such as pain, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, fatigue and depression.
Candida Overgrowth: Candida is a fungus or yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your intestines. However, when overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestines and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body causing a host of unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, and pain.
Thyroid: It is vital that your doctor check six different blood markers to measure your thyroid gland’s function. It’s imperative that your doctor use the optimal levels rather than the standard reference range when assessing and diagnosing thyroid disorders.
Vitamin Deficiencies: It can be as easy as a conventional lab blood analysis to discover vitamin deficiencies. Magnesium, vitamin D and B12 deficiency are the most common vitamin deficiencies in those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Leaky Gut: There are more bacteria in us and on us then there are of our own cells. When these bacteria get out of balance through use of antibiotics or a sugar-rich diet we can lose our ability to digest and absorb nutrients, particularly B12. Gluten can cause SIBO and leaky gut, which can lead gluten and other food intolerances.
Adrenal Fatigue: Adrenal fatigue is a result of the chronic stress whether real or perceived. Chronic pain is a stress to the adrenal glands, though typically not the initial adrenal stressor. The initial stressor is usually something such as food intolerances, Candida, mercury toxicity, vitamin deficiencies, or mycotoxins (mold).
Mercury Toxicity: Mercury is toxic to our bodies and can be one piece of the puzzle for those with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and cancer.
MTHFR Mutations: The more mutations you have at the MTHFR gene the less able you are to methylate and detoxify particularly toxins such as mercury and lead. The more mutations you have at this gene, the higher your requirements for methyl-B6, methyl-B12 and folinic acid in order to keep your detoxification pathways working properly. A simple blood test can determine if this is the cause of fibromyalgia.
Glutathione Deficiency: Glutathione, a molecule, is the most critical part of our body’s detoxification system. Glutathione gets recycled in our body unless our toxic burden gets to high or we lack GSTM1 and GSTP1, the enzymes needed to recycle and produce glutathione. Again, a simple blood draw can determine if this is the cause.
As you can see from the above list, many of these causes are interrelated and often there is no one single root cause to fibromyalgia or any chronic illness. It is a combination of several or possibly all of the above. Whether you or someone in your family is one of the 50 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or another autoimmune disorder, there is hope for prevention and even reversal of the debilitating symptoms that accompany these conditions.
Are you ready to make a change to get healthy? Are you ready to start a personalized treatment plan that works without the use of pharmaceutical drugs? To learn more about our functional medicine program or to schedule an appointment, please call (304) 263-4927 today. Dr. Terry Chambers is a Board certified chiropractor and acupuncturist, licensed in WV, and trained to perform functional medicine.