Natural Relief for Fibromyalgia

August 6, 2018

Natural Relief for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain problems. Listen in as we discuss some nutrition and lifestyle connections to fibromyalgia and we are going to give you some nutritional solutions to help decrease your pain level. Typically, pain medication is not the answer, so you need to take charge of your symptoms and your health.

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KARA:  Do you or a family member have fibromyalgia? Well, this might come as a surprise to you, but fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain disorders. My name is Kara Carper and I have a master's degree in holistic health and I'm also a licensed nutritionist. So today what we're going to discuss is some nutrition and lifestyle connections to fibromyalgia. We are going to give you solutions to help bring down your pain level. Typically pain medication is not the answer. You know, a lot of people find that that actually is not effective or there's tons of side effects. So you really need to take charge of your symptoms and take charge of your health and oftentimes you need to look deeper. We need to look for the root cause so that we can find a solution and there are many causes. So there's going to be a lot of solutions that we're going to talk about today, but the important thing listeners is ultimately you're in charge of your health, not necessarily your doctor, not your personal trainer, not your massage therapist, not even your nutritionist, but you are in charge of your health. So, and before we go any further, I need to introduce my wonderful cohost, Lea Wetzell, and Lea has a master's degree in clinical nutrition and she also has the honor of being a member of the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice. She's got a super busy client schedule at Nutritional Weight & Wellness.

LEA:  It’s great to be here with you today, Kara. It's always great to see your face.

KARA: It's good to see you too. I've missed you, and Leah, can you tell listeners, have you worked with clients who have fibromyalgia?

LEA:  Yes, I've worked with several clients with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is fairly common, as  Kara mentioned. It affects about 10 million adults in the US, which is approximately about five to six percent of the population. And did you know, Kara, that Lady Gaga has fibromyalgia.

KARA:  I remember that from during the Super Bowl. There was just a lot of talk about Lady Gaga and I mean basically how amazing she is with her athletic abilities and her musical abilities. And so I was reading up about her and that's when I discovered that.

LEA:  She is a great performer, you know, she's up there doing all of whatever she can give to us. Right? Yeah. But she has fibromyalgia and really what had happened is it took her off the stage for several months. The positive takeaway from that is that it made people more aware of the health condition of fibromyalgia, you know, because Lady Gaga is so fit, like you said, and she's strong, many people are wondering how could she possibly have a pain disorder? Between 75 and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, but even children can get this pain condition, too.

KARA:  So the big question is what causes fibromyalgia? You know, it isn't an autoimmune disease, it's not a disease like arthritis or Lupus, but it occurs when the central nervous system doesn't process pain properly. So simply put, the central nervous system becomes overly sensitive or hypersensitive when people have fibromyalgia. So symptoms of fibromyalgia often will show up maybe after an illness, after an accident or an infection, even a stressful life event or a trauma, but symptoms can occur just kind of out of the blue as well. So it's thought that part of the brain related to the central nervous system changes. So you know, maybe the brain perceives pain more intensely is what's happening, right?

LEA:  Right. And as the nutritionist, I look at the connection between food that you are eating and your nerves. If you have listened to this show for any length of time, you understand that high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves. So one perfect example of this connection between high blood sugar and nerve damage so that many people are now experiencing, you know, a common connection is called diabetic neuropathy. That is when you have tingling or burning pain or numbness in your nerves in your feet and your legs and loss of balance and stability and when walking as a result of elevated blood sugar. If high blood sugar damages nerves and causes inflammation in the brain, it certainly makes sense to reduce processed carbohydrates and sugars in your diet to reduce your blood sugar level. To expand on this a little bit, what would be examples of these high processed carbohydrates that maybe would be linked to this nerve pain?

KARA: Yeah, that's a great question because sometimes we use that term processed carbs and not people might not know what we're referring to. So processed carbohydrates are carbohydrates that turn really quickly into sugar in your body. So, you know, bread is an example, pasta, cereal. I mean pre-Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a lot of us were eating these processed carbs.

LEA:  Oh yeah. And I would say reflecting back to my time of my life where I would eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I had a lot of pain. I was, you know, definitely not fully classified as fibromyalgia, but I had a lot. I was in my late teens, early twenties and I had a lot of pain in my hips, in my hands and my knees.

KARA:  Which you don't have now. Right? Because you've changed your eating.

LEA:  Cutting out that sugar and bringing down my blood sugars, I have a lot less overall body pain.

KARA: Sure. Because you know those high blood sugars can lead to a lot of inflammation in the body and all those foods we just mentioned crackers or another example, muffins, bagels, things like that. They turn into a lot of sugar creating this inflammation and issues with the nerves. So let's see where you might be getting too much sugar for the health of your nerves. We gave a few examples, but are you getting too much sugar when you buy your large iced turtle mocha at the drive through of your favorite coffee shop?

LEA:  You know, when I think of that too, that's like an impulse buy. It’s the afternoon, you’ve had a busy, stressful day and you're like, oh, I deserve a treat.

KARA: Right. I don't think a lot of people know how much sugar is hidden in some of those coffee drinks, though. Or, maybe you make weekly trips to the store to get your stash of candy for the weekend, but then you end up eating it all on Friday night and if you're really addicted to sugar and candy, you might be someone that makes another trip to the store on Saturday. Right? Or now this next story, Leah, reminds me of Nell Kahls who is a Nutritional Weight & Wellness employee and she comes on the radio and shares her stories.

LEA:  Yeah, she’s got a great story featured on our website.

KARA:  I remember Nell talking about going to a big box store to buy nails or you know, whatever you're going to buy at Menards or something, right? And while you're there, like Nell would do, she would buy a bag of chocolate-covered peanuts and maybe even eat the whole bag before she got home.

LEA:  And the checkout lanes, they always have some sort of tempting candy treat.

KARA:  Yeah, and if you have an issue with sugar, you're going to be reaching for that. So, perhaps you even put a second bag of those M&M’s under the front seat of your car to eat later in case you run out. So, those are habits that people that are addicted to sugar can probably relate to. So think to yourself, what are you eating that might be causing an increase in your blood sugar and damaging the nerves in your body. Now, if you have dark patches on your skin, especially around your neck or on your knuckles, that could be a sign of high blood sugar.

LEA:  That's really interesting.

KARA:  Isn't that interesting? I didn't know that before researching the show today.

LEA:  Yeah. So maybe take a look at that to see. I've noticed that with clients, too.

KARA: Sure. So that's an interesting visual thing to look for that's a sign of high blood sugar.

LEA:  Right. And we've talked about sugar as being inflammatory for our nerves and causing a lot of nerve pain, but also we want to run into maybe a little bit before and after break we want to talk about artificial sweeteners and diet soda in particular and sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose, what they do, because a lot of clients that I work with that have a lot of pain or fibromyalgia maybe have had as history or now come to me with drinking diet soda and that's usually one of the number one goals for reducing their pain that I look to, because it's been shown in a lot of research and studies to be problematic. An example, the aspartame, the common sweetener in diet soda, interacts with neurons in your body and heightens your perception of pain and research shows that eliminating diet soda and anything containing aspartame can reduce and even eliminate your chronic pain.

KARA: Wow. Yeah, that's really interesting. And when we come back from break, I'm going to share a little bit more information about that link with artificial sweeteners.

LEA:   Great. So you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition today. Kara and I are discussing the natural solutions for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is one of the most common pain conditions, and people with fibromyalgia experience pain in ways no one else experiences pain. Do you ache all over your body or do you have tender points in certain areas of your body? Or do your muscles twitch uncontrollably or do you experience burning or stabbing pain? All of these symptoms and more may be caused by your fibromyalgia-related pain. So questions for us today in the studio, please call us at 651-641-1071.

KARA: Back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break, we were talking about the different types of fibromyalgia pain. We know the brain perceives pain, but how does this happen? There are 20 different kinds of nerve endings in our skin that let us know if something's too hot, too cold or if it's painful and the nerve endings send that information to the brain and the spinal cord or what is referred to as the nervous system. And the National Institutes of Health discovered that people with fibromyalgia have a reduced blood flow to an area in the brain that normally would help us to deal with pain. So you know, that explains why people with fibromyalgia experience pain differently compared to others.

LEA: Yeah. You know, and when I'm working with a client with fibromyalgia, I try to increase the blood flow to all parts of the brain, so I recommend that they take at least 4,000 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acid. Fish oil, as an example, as well as two teaspoons of a high-quality cod liver oil. The cod liver oil that we carry in the office called Omega-3 Care I really like because it has high level of Omega-3 in it. And some of my clients take upwards of 6,000 milligrams of Omega-3 for better pain reduction.

KARA: And that might sound like a lot to people, you know, that could potentially be even up to six soft gels. But it's the reason that we are recommending that is because it's very anti-inflammatory.

LEA:  And it usually is one you kind of need to take for at least a couple months to show the benefits and notice it. I'm going to stick with this for a while. It's not a, you know, take it for a week and you're going to notice, but it's a gradual support that builds up over time.

KARA:  And possibly in higher doses too, you know, we have clients that might take one fish oil here and there and say oh it's not working. But, like you said, it’s the consistency and the dose. Because ongoing pain is really such a huge part of fibromyalgia, I'd like to continue our discussion about some supplements that I have found to help clients with fibromyalgia. And, you know, we have talked about this supplement before. It's an amino acid called 5-HTP. If you're a science geek, you might want to know that stands for five hydroxy tryptophan and 5-HTP is the building block of that powerful brain chemical called serotonin, kind of our happy, feel good, calming brain chemical.

LEA:  We want lots of that.

KARA: We do. We want more of that. And low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, poor sleep, and it's also thought that low levels of serotonin can play a significant role in fibromyalgia pain. Interesting. So often I would recommend that clients take 200 to 400 milligrams of 5-HTP at bedtime. Now, that would be specifically for better sleep and to reduce pain.

LEA:  Yep. That's a high level.

KARA: It is a lot. However, you know, there's other such scenarios where I would have clients take 50 to 100 milligrams of 5-HTP, kind of during the day, before each meal. Now how we would use it during the day is really more to reduce sugar cravings.

LEA: That's interesting. That's a good way of tackling that too.

KARA:  So we can do it, you know, more all at once at night for sleep and pain, or smaller amounts throughout the day before meals to reduce sugar cravings. Because we really know if you have sugar cravings, it's super important to get the sugar out of your diet, if we want to reduce these fibromyalgia symptoms.

LEA:  Exactly, to help the pain.

KARA: And I'm happy to inform you that all the supplements that we're talking about and recommending today, they are available, it's very simple to order them. They're on our website, weightandwellness.com, they’re also at all of our seven office locations.

LEA:Yeah, you know, and it is really in your best interest to work with an experienced nutritionist who can help you and guide you to the best solutions for you. From experience, we know that every body is unique and it seems that every client with fibromyalgia needs careful guidance and support. If you are interested in setting up an appointment with me or one of our other great, experienced nutritionists and dieticians, please call the office at 651-699-3438.

 So back to our topic at hand, before break we were talking about the connections between fibromyalgia pain and overall pain, but fibromyalgia pain and artificial sweeteners, like a diet soda, like aspartame. And you had some more information to share about that?

KARA:  Well, I found a really interesting case. There is a 50-year-old woman who suffered from fibromyalgia for more than 10 years. So 10 years of chronic pain. And she went on vacation, and I don't know the exact reasons why she did not consume aspartame during the trip because she had previously been drinking these diet sodas with aspartame daily, but during the vacation when she was not drinking her diet soda with aspartame, her symptoms went away. And so of course, after the vacation when she realized this, she removed aspartame and the diet soda from her daily plan and there was a complete regression of her fibromyalgia symptoms. I don't know that every story is going to be like that where you stop drinking diet soda and the fibromyalgia pain goes away. But you know, before break, you were talking about why aspartame and artificial sweeteners can lead to more nerve pain.

LEA:   Exactly. And like I said before our break, if somebody comes to me with pain of any type and they’re drinking diet soda or consuming artificial sweeteners, that's our number one focus.

KARA:  It really is. Yeah. So even though we're talking about giving the sugar out today…

LEA: Which is a close number one and a half, maybe two.

KARA: So we want to get the sugar out, but we don't want to replace a sugary beverage with a diet drink that has artificial sweeteners.

LEA:  Exactly. So, if you have fibromyalgia and your fasting glucose number is over 100, it's essential for you to reduce your consumption of processed carbohydrates and high sugar foods in order to decrease the damage to your nerves. So how do you take charge of your out of control sugar habits? Hmm, that's a good question. Most people benefit significantly, again, from working one-on-one with one of our nutritionists or dietitians at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. In addition to pain, most people with fibromyalgia usually experience fatigue, so sugar and caffeine are always a go to for their next energy boost.

KARA:  And it can be a really vicious cycle. Someone, maybe they're not sleeping well because of the pain, and there’s a lot more insomnia associated with fibromyalgia. And then they also just in general have more fatigue, so it's easy to kind of just grab for that quick fix.

LEA:  Exactly. That sugar or caffeine, because it gives you that quick pick me up and you feel good for a minute, but then you come crashing down and you're in more pain. More fatigue.

KARA: So most of us feel like we could probably boost our energy. But what we're saying is that sugar and caffeine are not the answers. So if you are struggling, if you have fibromyalgia and you have low energy, we would suggest an amino acid called L-Tyrosine. You might also see it as acetyl L-tyrosine. And that's a supplement, and I would recommend taking that before breakfast and before lunch. It does give energy, so you probably don't want to take that one before bed. It can be stimulating. Acetyl L-tyrosine is an amino acid that supports the production of our neurotransmitter, again brain chemical, called dopamine. Dopamine is designed to give us energy, give us more focus, and it's also been found to reduce pain when we have adequate levels of dopamine. So we really want to support the production of dopamine in our brain. We can also do that by eating protein several times per day. Because the protein would be a building block for dopamine, right? In addition to eating protein several times per day, people could also supplement with that acetyl l-tyrosine, and that'd be kind of a double whammy

LEA:  And too, with that, we're also helping with sugar cravings when we're eating that protein throughout the day and supporting our dopamine levels.

KARA: Great point.

LEA:   Well, it's break time again. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Here are five foods I encourage my clients with fibromyalgia to give up. Number one is bread. Number two i's crackers. Number three is pasta, number four is pizza, and number five is cereal. The results: less fatigue and less pain. It really seems like a no brainer for me. If you have questions for us today, please call us in the studio at 651-641-1071.

KARA:    Welcome back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, as you may have recently heard, we're the process of developing a nutrition community of likeminded people to support one another on their real food journey. To help everyone with their commitment, here's what we're offering: five unique 90 minute classes at all seven of our locations in the month of August. And Leah, the cost for each class is only $10.

LEA: That’s amazing. That's a steal. We give out some great information in our classes.

KARA: Yes, for $10. So the benefit of that is priceless. So call 651-699- today to reserve your spot. Some classes actually have filled up, but there are still seats available for other classes. So you can check out the locations and the space availability on our website, which is weight and wellness.com.

LEA:  Great. Well, Kara, we have a caller today. Lori, thanks for calling Dishing Up Nutrition. You have a question or comment about fish oil reaction?

CALLER: Yeah. Well I don't know so much if it's a reaction, but when I take the fish oil and I used to take I think 2,400 milligrams, three soft gels, and I found that every time I bumped myself it seemed like I would tear my skin and bleed or at the very least bruise. And so was there something else that I can do to get the fish oil benefits? And then when I stopped the fish oil, that stopped.

LEA:  So about 2,400, that for you was okay. But if you tried to go above that marker, then it would cause more bruising, sensitivity?

CALLER: No. Even at 2,400 I had that.

LEA:   Okay. Okay. So you know, what I would say is a trial and part of what I think maybe is causing that in the Omega-3 is a lot of more of like the EPA. DHA and EPA make up the Omega-3 component and for people that have a little bit more of that sensitivity, I would still try a little bit of that fish oil, so maybe try the 1,000, so try one of those and then I would just try to take straight DHA. DHA you can find from algae base and it's still very supportive and really good for the brain, really good for our nerves and it doesn’t have a lot of that blood thinning aspects of it but it’s still good for inflammation. So we, as an example, we carry a product called DHA-200 that's algae based form in our offices and I sometimes will do that, a little bit of a combination. Do you have any more sensitivities? Do you have any other advice?

KARA: No, I think that's great, Lea. Yeah, I think that's perfect advice.

LEA:   Right. Are you on a blood thinner?

CALLER: No. No, I think I'm just one of those really super lucky ones.

LEA:  Yeah, you're more sensitive. And, too, in the diet, that's another thing to talk about is as much as you can in the diet, eating fatty fish like salmon, um, if you could go there the sardines, a little bit of tuna, that's really good Omega-3 fats there, too. So I always suggest for people that are more sensitive to supplements to get a lot of that, four ounces at least once to twice a week, of that would be good too.

CALLER: Okay, great.

LEA: Thank you.

KARA:  Alright, so let's see before break, I was talking briefly about an amino acid called acetyl l-tyrosine and just kind of wrapping that conversation up and that’s going to give our bodies more dopamine, which is that chemical that gives energy, focus and has been found to reduce pain.

LEA:  Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so to going on a little bit more, other things that are supportive, you know, people with fibromyalgia often experience fatigue very differently than those who don't have fibromyalgia. A normal person recovers from a long work day with a good night's sleep, right? You just sleep it off and then you feel better.

KARA:   Eight hours, you know, feel wake up feeling pretty good.

LEA:   Right? But a person with fibromyalgia does not recover. You know, I have found a supplement called D-Ribose to be an excellent rescue remedy to help my fibromyalgia clients who have a tendency to overdo just about everything. You know, who you are, you know, you're feeling just a little bit better. So you decide you're going to go wash all the windows in the house, but it's just too much and your body is exhausted and you are in pain and you have brain fog. So taking one scoop of D-Ribose three times a day in a cup of green tea would help to support your body's production of ATP, which is basically the molecule that carries energy to our cells, and as a result, you feel better. At Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we carry a product called Corvalen, which is an energy producing D-Ribose. You know, my clients find taking two to three scoops of Corvalen D-Ribose helps fight fatigue because it supports cellular energy production.

KARA:   Yes. That's another excellent suggestion. In my holistic health training when I was getting my masters, I also learned that people with fibromyalgia do best when they can pace themselves. I know you were just talking about the tendency to overdo, like if you're kind of on the upswing and you feel like, oh, I have a good amount of energy today. It might be tempting to try to tackle everything that you had to put on hold when you were fatigued. And I can totally understand how people would have a tendency to do that. But with fibromyalgia, people really need to learn how to rest both mentally and physically.

LEA:  Yeah. Because it is hard when you feel like there's so much that you're not getting done when you're not feeling well. And then you have this burst of like, oh, I'm feeling better. I actually as their check off list of their next steps, I always kind of have to [say] so this is what the limits are on your to do lists so you can buffer and you can continue to feel well, we just want to keep everything stable.

KARA:  That’s such a great point. If you want to continue on that upswing with having more clarity, more energy and focus and less pain. You have to kind of weigh the pros and cons of getting all that stuff done that you haven't been able to do.

LEA: It’s exciting when you're starting to feel better. But you got to be careful.

KARA:  And even with exercise, you know, that's another thing. Exercise can be helpful with fibromyalgia, but it really needs to be a more gentle exercise. Walking, something low impact, yoga, something with stretching. And not like super intense, high cardio or a lot of heavy weight training, that type of thing.

LEA:  Exactly. So let's talk a little bit more about rest. And the more importantly sleep. I encourage people with fibromyalgia to sleep at least nine hours most nights. If you have not had a sleep study, I highly recommend that you make an appointment to have one. If you have sleep apnea, you're breathing is intermittent while you're sleeping, alternatively, between stopping and beginning again because your brain actually forgets to initiate breathing and the lack of oxygen causing more damage to your nerves and your brain, resulting in more pain. I also recommend an afternoon nap (for everyone). No, an afternoon nap for more nerve healing. I think a short nap gives amazing results for overcoming pain and fatigue.

KARA: Again, it's that pacing.

LEA:   Allow for rest. People kind of feel guilty when they're like, well, you know, I really feel like I could take a nap, but you know, at I shouldn't. That means I'm lazy. I'm like, no, this is something your body's telling you to do. It doesn't have to be for two hours. Even for 15, 20 minutes could be a great way for your body to just reset.

KARA: Yeah, so restorative, really just a quick nap in the middle of the day. And people with fibromyalgia seem to do best when they have a set schedule, especially a set time to sleep and a set time to get up, even on the weekends,.

LEA: That can be hard on the weekends.

KARA: Right, because you would tend to stay up later and sleep in.

LEA:   Six to 10 is a good window. Or maybe seven to 11, you know? But keeping within that for that circadian rhythm is six to 10. Six AM wake up to ten PM bedtime is probably one of the best set points for a lot people, but you can still get away with maybe 7:00 AM wake up and 11:00 PM.

KARA: Yeah. That's great advice. So sticking to a set schedule and also avoiding Facebook, texting, any type of media after 7:00 PM really is going to be best because that gives you time to wind down and that allows for more healing time for those nerves. So you might have to just pay a little bit more attention to the clock. We tend to be creatures of habit and our bodies really like things to happen on a routine basis. And so I often ask myself, why do people fight this powerful healing habit of following a set schedule? Because following a set schedule really means that we're putting ourselves first. We're not hanging out with those TV friends who keep us up late at night. We’re taking care of ourselves.

LEA:  And with that too, like with those electronics, the TV and the computers and our phones, that type of electronic light, that blue light that's emitted shuts down a really important sleep hormone, melatonin, for two hours.

KARA:  Oh, I remember when we had that show on sleep and that statistic came up. That's so interesting.

LEA: So I honestly practices myself of two hours before bed, I do not look at electronics and if I need to, there are some buffering devices you can use to do so, but it's really helpful. I can tell my sleep transition is a lot better when I don't look at TV, computer, phone, tablets.

KARA:  A lot of people go straight from the TV, the computer or their phone right into bed. Or they're looking at their phone as they're getting ready to go to sleep .

LEA: Or they have their TV on the sleep setting, so they fall asleep to their TV in their rooms.

KARA:  I mean, if you can't fathom the idea of two hours of no screen, you know, even one hour. Shutting it off one hour before bed is going to be helpful.

LEA: Yes, so it's break time. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We understand fibromyalgia is a very complicated health condition and the natural solutions to pain and fatigue seem to work best for most clients. If you have a friend or a family member with fibromyalgia, we encourage you to share this podcast with them. Maybe just getting rid of processed carbs and sugar in their diet may be life changing. Simple tips with amazing results. We'll be right back.

KARA:  Welcome back. You’re listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Kara Carper, here with Lea Wetzell today in the studio. Next week. Lea's going to be back with Shelby, they're going to be discussing PMS, premenstrual syndrome, and what you can do nutritionally to reduce those cramps, mood swings and fatigue. Now for today, if you have questions about fibromyalgia, which is our topic, you can call our office and actually you can set up an appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians and they would be happy to answer your questions. So the office number is 651-699. And you can talk to the front desk staff if you're interested in setting up an appointment. They can describe that process as well.

LEA: That's great. It's so unique for everybody with fibromyalgia and no one's the same. So it's that individuality that you get in that a one-on-one appointment, it can be very helpful.

KARA:   Yes. Life changing, definitely.

LEA: So we had a caller who didn't want to be on the air and she had a question about a diet with no flour and sugar, I'm assuming in relation to our topic today of pain and fibromyalgia, and what our thoughts were on that type of diet. Our answer to that right away, it was like, yes, that sounds like that really good idea. You know, that goes back to what we were talking about earlier about all the foods that are high sugar, those processed carbohydrates. I was taught, you know, the pasta and the pizza, the breads, cereals, bagels, muffins, chips, all of which have a lot of times high sugar and have flours in them as well, which can make it high sugar food. So I definitely think that would be worth an investigation to reduce those and then incorporating in alternative. You're pulling those out, but then you want to add in, you know, really nourishing carbohydrates of fruits and vegetables and maybe some healthy whole foods starches for a vegetable.

KARA: Yeah. Like I'm thinking of carby, starchy carbohydrates that are not flour based. I mean people sometimes forget that sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets are great sources.

LEA: Yeah. So making sure that you have carbohydrates,, and healthy meats and fats and balance, which are all anti-inflammatory and keeping blood sugar stable to be very, very helpful for reducing that pain.

KARA:  Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think if somebody has fibromyalgia or even is just struggling with a lot of pain in general. Trying a meal plan that consists of no sugar and no flour is only going to benefit them and reduce pain and inflammation.

LEA: Exactly. So back to our topic at hand, before break we were talking about sleep and the importance of sleep and making sure of allowing for that time we said for fibromyalgia, ideally at least nine hours of sleep. And before break we were talking about the importance of not looking at those electronics before bed because they're stimulating and then we stay up too late watching them. But when we're thinking about sleep and troubles around getting good quality sleep, so what do you do if you have troubles getting to sleep and you can't get that nine hours of sleep most nights? Some of my fibromyalgia clients are exhausted but wired like they can't sleep or they're hyper vigilant or they are hardwired worriers, you know, if you are one of those I just mentioned, you may be thinking, yes, that's me. How can I get to sleep?

KARA:  Like I want to sleep, but I can't. I can't. That's very frustrating.

LEA:  They can’t fall asleep or they wake up and their mind starts racing. As a start point, if you can't get to sleep, melatonin is our body's sleep hormone and without it we can't sleep. Melatonin is produced in the brain by the pineal gland and some studies have found that melatonin production may be impaired by fibromyalgia. That's really interesting and we switch Melatonin off in the morning with the lights and on at night with the darkness.

KARA:  That's how it should work. Yeah, definitely. However, sometimes we just don't have enough melatonin. We're not producing enough in that pineal gland to sleep. Yeah, so we would suggest taking anywhere between I mean, you could start as low as one milligram, but often it's a little bit more beneficial to take more like two or three milligrams all the way up to 10 milligrams of melatonin and take that about 30 minutes before bedtime to help you fall asleep.

LEA:  Yep. And I would say maybe just a starting point, if you're not actively taking melatonin all the time, you start with the lower end and you can increase that and you can always increase slowly if you need.

KARA: Yeah. So maybe look for one, I mean for example, we have one in our office, I believe that is a one milligram. So maybe you get something like that and you can experiment with one and then if that's not enough two and then three and keep kind of going up. The one that I was referring to is actually called sublingual melatonin and that one is very absorbable. You put it under your tongue and you let it dissolve. It goes right into the bloodstream, so you don't have to wait for your digestive system to break it down. Right. And it's also really important to keep your room dark, very dark, pitch black and keep it a little bit cooler.

LEA:   Yeah. They say that ideal sleeping temperature is 65.

KARA:    Yeah, I think I have read that too, which is a little bit lower than what some people's houses are set at. And did you know that we have sleep waves? So if you fall asleep in front of the TV around 7:00 PM, unfortunately that's going to be your first sleep wave and it's not going to be sound sleep. So perhaps it's time for you to just go to bed a little bit earlier and remember that your sleep wave comes every 90 minutes. So you really want to just kind of be mindful of that. Getting to bed early enough so you can get enough of those sleep waves to feel rested in the morning.

LEA:  Exactly. So what about the health of your nerves? The one nutrient that recent research has found to be lacking in the diets of most people and which may be the cause of much of the nervous illness is magnesium. It is not surprising that when a person's magnesium level is less than normal, the nerves are unable to control muscle movement and respiration and mental process, and consequently twitching, irregular heartbeats, irritability, nervous fatigue, and restless legs syndrome will often occur. And remember we said earlier that fibromyalgia is a nervous system problem. A lack of magnesium can cause the nervous system problem, like for my fibromyalgia, and we recommend that our clients start taking around 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate at bedtime. Some of my clients need upwards of a thousand milligrams of magnesium glycinate daily to replenish their magnesium deficiencies. If you have fibromyalgia, are you taking at least 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate daily?

KARA: And one thing about magnesium, Lea, that I think people struggle with is because it's such a large mineral, you know, 400 milligrams is typically going to be four tablets, or four capsules. And I have had clients in the past that would take maybe like one because they don't want to swallow all those pills, but it is important, like you said, 400 up to a 1,000 milligrams so you can notice a difference with that.

LEA: And start with a 400 and be consistent with that and you can slowly add maybe one at a time, you know, if you feel like you're needing more, I mean give it at least a couple of weeks trial with each dosage and your body will tell you where the limits are. You know, maybe loose stool if it's too much, but magnesium glycinate is pretty absorbable so it's less of an issue with bowels.

KARA:  Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that, it is important to get that glycinate form. Because there are other forms like oxide and things that are cheaper that are just going to kind of pass rate through your body.

LEA:  And I would say, too with that, if somebody has a hard time with the tablet form of magnesium glycinate, now we have the capsule version, the magnesium 75 at our office. So it's sometimes a little easier for them to swallow.

KARA:  We have noticed that the people that had a difficult time with the tablets use the capsules.

LEA:    Well, our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. I want to thank everybody today for listening and have a great day.

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