Saturday, April 16, 2011

Study Links Obesity and Fibromyalgia

The purpose of the study, conducted by University of Utah researchers, was to evaluate the relationship between fibromyalgia and obesity. They hypothesized that obesity significantly adds to the disease and disability burden of the condition. Two hundred fifteen fibromyalgia patients were evaluated in the study and given several physical tests to measure strength, flexibility, range of motion, and strength. Heart rates and sleep quality also were assessed.

The authors reported that consistent with previous studies, obesity is common among those with fibromyalgia. Half the study sample was obese and an additional thirty percent were overweight. Also consistent with previous findings, obese patients in this study showed increased pain sensitivity, which was more pronounced in lower body areas. The obese patients also had impaired flexibility in the lower body and reduced strength.

The study concluded that obesity is a common comorbidity of fibromyalgia that may compromise clinical outcomes. The adverse impact of obesity is evidenced by hyperalgesia, disability, impaired quality of life and sleep problems. The authors also noted that recent evidence suggests weight loss improves fibromyalgia symptoms, perhaps resulting from patients adopting healthier lifestyles and taking more positive attitudes toward symptom management, and overall quality of life.

In recent years, scientists have looked at fat cells and their surrounding cells not just as yellow blobs that make our clothes too tight, but more as an organ, or neighboring bodies of organic fatty tissue. The fat cells, or “adipocytes,” within this tissue have several functions, such as pumping out vital energy-producing fatty acids, storing fatty acids for future use, and secreting hormones that regulate body weight. But unfortunately, among the obese, they’re a source of inflammatory chemicals.

My thoughts-first not everyone with fibromyalgia is obese, true many are but one third of Americans are overweight so this is no big surprise. Second if anything- being overweight is a result of fibromyalgia not the cause of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia lowers a person’s metabolism (low thyroid). Those with fibromyalgia become less active as their energy levels decrease and painful flares from over activity, including exercise, increases.
What needs to be clear about this study is that fat cells store inflammatory chemicals, the more fat cells you have the more inflammatory chemicals you have-and of course the pain you experience.

Dietary Changes Can Help Reduce Inflammation

To reduce degenerative disease, it’s necessary to avoid pro-inflammatory foods and rely exclusively on anti-inflammatory foods:

Pro-inflammatory foods to avoid:
* Red meats from corn-fed, antibiotic/hormone-laden animals (choose grass fed livestock when possible)
* Saturated fats such as lard and over consumption of meat fats
* Fried foods
* Partially hydrogenated (trans fats) found in margarines, chips, candies, cereals and baked goods
* Cooking oils that are exclusively corn, safflower, sunflower or soy based
* Soft drinks (both high sugar and diet varieties)
* Excess sugar (both from heavily processed sources, such as candy and from naturally occurring sources such as fruit juice)

Reduce Sugar Consumption

Sugary foods quickly elevate blood sugar, creating an insulin release along with free radicals that oxidize fats. When oxidized, the fats form plaque deposits in our arteries, leading to disease. Thus, a diet high in sweets, pasta, fruit juices, cereals and even rice cakes can actually lead to heart disease. Insulin release also increases stored body fat and release of pro-inflammatory chemicals causing cell damage and accelerated aging.

Anti-inflammatory foods and dietary supplements to include:
* Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, especially cold water, wild-caught fish (or fish oil    supplements)
* Raw nuts and seeds (especially pecans, almonds, walnuts and flaxseeds)
* Dark green vegetables (especially kale, seaweed and greens)
* Antioxidants in supplement form (especially vitamins C and E, and qurcetin)
* Zinc taken in supplement form, which assists healing and reduces inflammation
   Extra virgin organic olive oil is good anti-inflammatory oil

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