Is Fibromyalgia a Mitochondrial Disorder?

mitochondria

Given my very limited knowledge of science and how the body works, I’ve been wondering for awhile if the mitochondria could be a part of what causes (or maybe fuels?) fibromyalgia. It looks like I’m not the only one wondering that and some researchers are starting to research this very thing. This article details several small studies done recently into whether FM is a mitochondrial disorder. I found this particularly interesting.

“Significant reductions in mitochondrial enzyme activity (in complexes I, II, III and IV) were found in the FM patients but not the healthy controls. That, in combination with reduced levels of mitochondrial proteins, indicated that mitochondrial functioning was indeed significantly reduced. So were CoQ10 and ATP levels and mitochondrial DNA levels. In fact, every aspect of mitochondrial functioning tested was found to have taken a significant hit in the FM patients.

“That suggested mitochondrial damage had occurred and that finding set the stage for the next test. Since damaged mitochondrial DNA are known to spark an inflammatory response, the researchers asserted they should also be able to find evidence of inflammation in the skin – and they did. Double the levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-a were found in the skin of the FM patients.

“Not only were the increased cytokine levels strongly associated with reduced mtDNA – suggesting that the mitochondrial problems had indeed sparked the inflammation – but they were highly correlated with the pain levels in FM (p<.001) as well. That suggested the mitochondrial problems could be causing or contributing to the pain the FM patients were experiencing.

“A threefold increase in TNF-a levels in the saliva and the blood collected from the biopsy area relative to the healthy controls suggested that widespread or systemic inflammation and oxidative stress was present as well. The FM patients looked pretty much like a soup of mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation.”

And this bit makes me want to try adding CoQ10 back into my daily supplement routine. I did it years ago and didn’t notice much of a change, but maybe it’s worth trying again.

“CoQ10 is a particularly intriguing nutrient given its ability to both boost ATP production and reduce levels of oxidative stress. C0Q10 levels are reportedly low in many neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia and cancer.

“A fibromyalgia study by this Spanish research group found a 50% reduction in COQ10 levels in FM. With dozens of mostly small studies examining mitochondrial dysfunction and CoQ10 levels/supplementation in FM and other disorders under it’s belt, this Spanish research group has been leading the way in this area.”

Read the full article here.

Two Old Goats Essential Oil Review

2 old goats

I’m always on the lookout for new oils, creams, and ointments to use to give me relief from some of my fibromyalgia symptoms. One I had been using (Traumeel) just rebranded itself and changed its formula and I don’t like it as much now. Plus, it’s not available anymore on the website I order stuff like that through to make those types of products cheaper. Now I will be trying Two Old Goats products thanks to Seeking Equilibrium. It’s so stupid that they can’t brand their merchandise as treating fibromyalgia and arthritis anymore! Yet another reason for me to be mad at the FDA and get up on my soapbox. I love essential oils and lavender and eucalyptus are my go tos for aromatherapy. Lavender especially seems to work really well for me. I’m excited that these products have other natural anti-inflammatories in them like peppermint too. I can’t wait to try these out!

Read more … Two Old Goats Essential Oil Review via Seeking Equilibrium.

Fibromyaglia is Real

fibro graphic

I love these graphics. Sometimes the best way to understand a bunch of statistics and data is visually. I  know I’m a visual learner. The only thing I don’t like about these graphics is that the statistic on how many women have fibromyalgia should be how many people. Men get fibromyalgia too. This is not just a “woman’s disease.”

Image and statistics courtesy of MBA Healthcare Management and Seeking Equilibrium.

Quote of the Day – Importance of Meditation

Meditation has been a huge help to me over the years, and especially in the last few months as I deal with going through a divorce. I came across this passage from Ane Pema Chodron, a woman Buddhist teacher and long time practice of deeper meditation techniques. Meditation helps me clear my mind of its usual jumble of thoughts, focus on taking deep, calming breaths, and relax. It helps me relieve stress and is one of my tools to manage my chronic pain from fibromyalgia. I highly recommend meditation to you as it can reduce many things that trigger our pain: stress, emotional upset (anger, depression, etc.), physical and mental tension, sleep problems, and more.

“Wishing to be free of that kind of really self-imposed loneliness, self-imposed suffering that we create with our minds. The fact that our house burns down is not self-imposed. The fact that we get an illness isn’t self-imposed. What we do with that and how that escalates into such intense misery and feeling of separateness and feeling of aloneness and alienation. This, we do this with our minds. We do it to ourselves. We torture ourselves.”
-Pema Chodron

lotus flower

Namaste everyone!

Does your greatest teacher have fur?

I wanted to share this great post on the difference pets can make to people suffering from chronic illnesses. Sometimes they even have their own invisible illnesses that they heal from while they help us heal, like Pup in this post: Does your greatest teacher have fur?

Archie and I relax on a bridge above a koi pond during a hotel stay.

Archie and I relax on a bridge above a koi pond during a hotel stay.

Like Pup, my dog, Archie, is my “therapy dog.” He’s a rescue too and I used to think I found him, but really he found me. He had Parvo as a puppy and almost died, so when I got him he had tons of skin problems, ear infections, and was skin and bones. It took awhile to get him on the right diet and get his skin issues cleared up. He still has some weird skin problems, I’ve learned. I changed his food last fall only to change it right back a few months later when the skin problems came back. He’s back to normal now. He knows when I’m really hurting; he snuggles with me and often positions himself on whichever hip or leg is aching the most to share his body heat with me. He knows when I’ve been sitting too long and annoys me until I get up and play with him or walk him. He motivates me to walk and exercise. I’m going through a divorce now and he’s been amazing. He comes running when I’m sad and licks the tears away. He’ll do something cute that makes me laugh so then he keeps doing it to keep me laughing. He doesn’t like when I cry.

When I was at my worst in February 2012 with my fibromyalgia, he literally knocked me on my butt and made me rethink how I was getting through the days. I let him out on a big leash and he dashed off after a squirrel so fast the leash swept my legs out from under me. I was bruised from my fall but it was the final straw and it led to me taking a 10-week medical leave from work so I could work on my health, nutrition, and emotional wellbeing and start clawing my way back from the sea of pain I was lost in. That leave from work was a huge turning point in my health and he was with me every day for it.  He always knows when he can push me to be more active and when he can’t. I don’t know what I would do without him. I know I wouldn’t be in as healthy a place now without him though.

Acceptance, distraction and cognitive therapy lowers pain intensity

Just stumbled upon this article about new research showing that acceptance, distraction and cognitive therapies do help lessen the intensity of pain for chronic pain sufferers. I have found this to be true in my own experience with fibromyalgia. Although I know that acceptance isn’t permanent and some days I won’t accept it and that distractions that work are different for every person. I wanted to share this article with you.

Benefits of cognitive pain relief methods.

Apr. 10, 2013 — Those who accept their pain condition are best able to tolerate pain, while distraction can be the way to lower pain intensity, according to research reported in The Journal of Pain.

A team of German researchers evaluated the most common short-term cognitive pain management techniques for acute pain — acceptance, distraction and cognitive restructuring. They noted that little is known about the relative efficacy of acceptance strategies compared to other cognitive approaches, such as distraction and cognitive restructuring. The objective was to explore the differential short-term effects of these methods in a sample of 109 female students exposed to thermal mode experimental pain stimuli.

As an adjunctive pain treatment, acceptance is intended to disrupt the link between thoughts and behaviors so patients are willing to tolerate pain. The majority of experimental studies have shown that acceptance strategies are more effective at increasing pain tolerance than other pain regulation strategies.

In the study sample, distraction was used to shift attention away from pain stimulation to lessen pain intensity. With cognitive behavioral structuring, patients are trained to alter their appraisals of pain dysfunction in order to improve their ability to cope with pain. Proponents believe that restructuring pain-related thoughts may affect disability-related behavior, such as avoiding work or recreational activities in fear of pain.

Results of the study showed that acceptance led to increased pain tolerance relative to cognitive restructuring and distraction lowered pain intensity compared to acceptance. No significant differences were detected between distraction and acceptance with regard to pain tolerance. The authors concluded that cognitive restructuring was no different from distraction for increasing pain tolerance. They noted that from a clinical perspective knowledge about cognitive pain management strategies can be useful in gauging treatment outcomes and for refining the treatment of chronic pain.

Eight nutritional supplements you should be taking

Eight nutritional supplements you should be taking – an interesting article on small things we can do to help ourselves feel better. I take a lot of these but need more “super foods.”

via Eight nutritional supplements you should be taking.