No announcement yet.

The Primal Fibromyalgia Experiment

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Primal Fibromyalgia Experiment

    I'm 26 years old and my body is falling apart. I've been sick for three years, and endured visits to multiple doctors, had countless vials of blood drawn, been shoved in three different kinds of nuclear medicine tubes, had gallbladder removal surgery, am currently medicated up to my eyeballs (including weekly shots) for The Allergies That Ate New York and take supplements to mitigate arthritis. I've tried to take care of myself as much as possible, cooking whole, real food and forcing myself through regular workouts.

    Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This came as a nasty blow to me; my mom has fibro, so I'm all too aware of its chronic nature. To be told that this state of fatigue, pain and muzzy-headedness is going to be my life from now on felt akin to a death sentence.

    Five days ago I stumbled upon this site. I'm a skeptic by nature and have enough of a background in biology that I've always rejected most of the "diet" and "miracle food" nonsense out there (don't even get me started on the raw foodists and their "enzymes"), including the idea that whole grains and legumes were evil spectres plaguing humanity. Then - well, I read the real, live physiological and botanical explanations that Mark has posted and linked to here. I searched the forums for any references to fibro, and found a couple people who mention positive results.

    That's where this journal comes in. I've already positively identified dairy as a flare trigger, and now have some evidence that wheat/gluten is a trigger as well - so I figured I might as well go whole hog and try a full paleo lifestyle for a month to see what happens (and hopefully provide some useful data for other fibro sufferers as well).

    So here we go. To start, the basic stats:

    Age: 26
    Sex: Female
    Height: 5'2"
    Weight: 116 pounds (taken at the doctor's office last week; I don't own a scale)
    Physical ailments: Severe environmental allergies (oak, maple, birch, various grasses, ragweed, mold, mildew, dust mites, cockroaches, dogs, feathers, horses, cats), fibromyalgia, arthritis.
    Food allergies/intolerances: Nuts, egg yolks, beef (yeah, this is gonna be a bit of a challenge), dairy, wheat/gluten (possibly).
    Supplements: Multivitamin, calcium/vitamin D, fish oil, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and glucosamine/chondroitin.

    I'll start tracking my diet and exercise tomorrow; today was a bad flare day so I didn't do much other than read, and my stomach's been Extremely Angry with me since Thursday night (both, I think, the result of a large dose of white flour). My day job is 9 to 5 office monkey-type stuff, so on Monday I'll start trying to Primalize my working environment as much as possible.

    Wish me luck.

  • #2
    Oh please keep us updated! My mom has fibro and I spend a lot of time researching how to get her off Opiods and better energy. Its hard to watch her hurt. Last year I started researching gluten allergies because she seemed to have all the symptoms. She went through the testing and found out she doesn't have Celiacs but she is intolerant. Eliminating gluten has been very helpful, she's still got a ton of inflimation (mostly because she lives off chocolate and coca cola.) Focusing on eliminating inflammatory foods is my next thing. Sugars at the tops of the list.
    I'm not holding my breath on her changing, but I know going Primal would help.
    Best wishes!
    "It is not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you're not."
    Denis Waitley


    • #3
      The PB works for Fibro.

      I have had Fibro for about 20 years now. For much of that time, I was miserable. and it was taking everything away from me.

      I was able to successfully treat my enviromental allergies (grasses, trees, molds, all the general cast of baddies) thru a series of desensitization shots offered by my allergist. It took a couple of years of weekly shots, but it largely worked. I'm not 100% allergy free, but wow, what a difference it made! Treating those allergies went a long way to improving my health and reducing the misery experienced with the Fibro, but it didn't cure the Fibro, of course.

      Eating properly makes a huge difference too, and you're on the right track here.

      Take it easy on the exercise. Moving is important, but it's more important that you not tear yourself down with exercise. Ease into it, respect your limits, and accept those days when you can't exercise. For me, I found that walking was really the best.

      I'm not going to tell you that following the PB will cure your Fibro, however. I still have it. I can still wear myself out ridiculously easy. Cheat days are simply not possible d/t gluten sensitivity. I do still, on occasion, have pain and migraines and brain fogs and weakness. Sometimes, I still sleep a whole weekend away.

      The difference I experience, however, being on the Primal Blueprint, is that I recover quicker. On good days, I am better than good. Spells of fatigue are fewer and farther between. Pain hasn't been so very much of an issue in the last two years. These are all wonderful things, in and of themselves, but also because now I can listen more closely to my body. The noise-to-signal ratio is improved, and I can better understand the messages my body is giving me.

      I know PB can do wonders for you, if you stick with it. It has for me. Good fortune to you! Keep us posted.


      • #4
        Suden - so sorry to hear about all your ailments and recent diagnosis -- and you too, Skook!

        I'm battling my own issues and just finished reading a pretty amazing book on CFS and FM by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD. It's called From Fatigued to Fantastic, and I highly recommend you read it. Yes, primal will help, but you likely need more help than just a change of food. He also has about 15 centers around the country trained in his protocol - closest one to you looks like it's in Norwalk, Conn. It might very well be worth the trip if it could help you heal!

        Good luck. I'll make sure to check in to see how you are doing.
        My journal


        • #5
          Welcome! The overall reduction in inflammation of a Primal/Paleo diet will help all your symptoms.

          Important~ Get your Vitamin D levels tested and supplement/sunbathe to sufficiency. Most of my allergy symptoms disappeared once I was sufficient.

          See this article from the Vitamin D Council newsletter:
          Fibromyalgia and Vitamin D

          Dr. Cannell: For almost 20 years, I have been suffering from muscle pains with brain fog and GI problems and falls and that is only the start. The symptoms have only gotten worse year after year. I have been to a new specialist every year trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was always depressed. Then the word fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome came up. My blood tests have always been normal, but I felt like I was dying. I could not even get down to the ground and play with my daughter and was unable to get back up again. It affected all that I do on a daily basis and was extremely painful.

          Last year, in a last ditch effort, I went to a rheumatologist and explained my long list of problems and all the years I have been suffering with them. He drew a Vitamin D level and it was only 13 ng/mL. With a mega dose of Vitamin D under my doctor's supervision, I started to feel better. By 2 weeks most of my symptoms had disappeared. All those problems of over 20 years went away in two months. I am a registered nurse with a graduate degree and have researched over the 20 years to find what was wrong with me. It wasn't until I started taking the Vitamin D that I was able to think clearer, not have daily GI problems, walk without falling, be pain free and my depression went away. Before, I thought I was going to die. Thank you for all you do, I wish I could send a contribution. You may save millions of lives in the long run. Maria, Seattle

          You're welcome. You have a good endocrinologist. However, many patients with fibromyalgia report they cannot take vitamin D. For those people, I recommend sun tanning parlors or one of our in-home UV units. If you keep your level above 50 ng/mL, you should be able to live a normal life now.

          As far as dying, remember, everyone who takes Vitamin D will die. It's simply a question of when. What we hope, even expect, is vitamin D will square off the mortality curve. Now, people start dying from the diseases of civilization in their forties, struck down by heart disease, cancer, etc. Premature deaths accelerates in the 50s and are in full swing by the 60s. That is, the mortality curve slops downward, beginning in the late 40s, people succumbing to the diseases of civilization. Perhaps vitamin D will allow people to live normal lives until they reach their 90s–100s, when we will all suddenly drop dead of old age!

          When the famous Dr. Denis Burkitt noted that "diseases of civilization" were rare in Africa—although many patients died of malaria or gastrointestinal diseases—he was working in Uganda, right on the equator. What Dr. Burkitt failed to notice, when he hypothesized it was fiber in the diet that prevented the diseases of civilization, was his patients frequently wore little clothing and were under an equatorial sun 365 days a year. Dr. Burkitt thought it was fiber, but it was the vitamin D.
          Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
          Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
          Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


          • #6
            For me, getting rid of my fibro symptoms took getting optimally treated for hypothyroidism and Vitamin D deficiency. Giving up grains and sugar significantly reduced my pain due to bone on bone osteoarthritis.


            • #7
              Thanks to all for your support and advice! My doctor and I are still sorting everything out (I have a follow-up appointment with him in a couple weeks), and as far as the vitamin D thing is concerned, I actually found out today that the women in my family tend to have vitamin D deficiencies as well as anemia. When I see my doc again I'll ask him to test my levels of vitamin D and iron, and in the meantime, I'm making a conscious effort to increase my admittedly somewhat anemic (ha, ha) consumption of delicious meat.

              Today's rundown:

              Breakfast: Granny Smith apple and strawberries
              Exercise: 1 hour of body weight, weight-bearing and mild cardio workouts (pushups, weighted squats, burpees, etc.)
              Post-workout feed: Egg white omelet with spinach, kale and sundried tomatoes sauteed in olive oil.
              Lunch: Salad (cucumber, green pepper, tomatoes, red wine vinaigrette) and smoked salmon.
              Dinner: Salad (spinach, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken)

              Pain: baseline
              Fatigue: slightly elevated
              Mental acuity: baseline
              Arthritis: angry that it's raining

              Mood: Better than I've been in a little while, probably related to the conversation I had with my aunt wherein I found out that the women in my family tend to have vitamin D and iron deficiencies, and fixing these things would effect, if not a cure, an incredible amelioration of my issues.

              I'm also trying to work on things like posture; alas, my attempts at Grok squats have only ended in me falling on my rear in what I suspect is a hilarious manner.


              • #8
                You definitely need more fat! It's our major fuel source, and will really help you decrease your inflammation/balance your hormones. Coconut oil, pastured butter (ghee might work for you) and lard are my go-tos.
                Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
                Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
                Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


                • #9
                  Hi Suden!

                  Glad to hear you had a pretty good day.

                  Have you, by chance, had time to read Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint yet? Or Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution (his site has a wealth of info too)? I highly encourage you to read both. It is a transition to eat this way (way more meat and fat than I ever ate before), but once you read the science behind it, I think you'll be convinced.

                  I do think eating paleo/primal will ameliorate your symptoms a great deal, but you must, must, must eat lots of fat and protein. Instead of just having fruit for breakfast, add an egg, or even eat some leftover meat from last night's dinner. And when you eat eggs, definitely eat the yummy and nutritious yolks. I promise you that you will not get fat eating this way!

                  Good to know your doc is testing you for d and iron - I agree that will help a lot.
                  My journal


                  • #10
                    Ha, Dragonfly - we were both worried about the same thing and cross posted. Yeah for coconut oil!!
                    My journal


                    • #11
                      When being tested for anemia be sure to get ferritin level tested. It can be very low for a long time before anemia shows up via hemogloblin and/or hematocrit.


                      • #12
                        And when you eat eggs, definitely eat the yummy and nutritious yolks. I promise you that you will not get fat eating this way!
                        OP is allergic to the yolks.
                        Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
                        Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
                        Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


                        • #13
                          Dragonfly and Angieh - Yeah, I admit that getting enough fat is an issue for me. I bought some lambchops today (the first time I've bought any protein other than poultry and fish in quite a while), gave them a garlic, sambal, salt and pepper rub and broiled and sliced them up so I can have them in my lunches at work this week. The next time I'm at the grocery store I'll keep an eye out for coconut oil.

                          And I would totally eat egg yolks if I could. I miss them terribly; I developed the allergy when I was 11 or so.

                          marcadav - I'll make a note of that, thank you.


                          • #14
                            Welcome. I hope you really like lamb because it will probably be the staple of your diet. Since you can't eat beef then maybe you ought to look to other animals, such as goats (more tasty than sheep) etc to give you some variety. Do they sell alligator meat, venison, rabbit etc in Massachusetts? An important thing for you will be avoid inflammation, which means keeping your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio at 4:1 or better. Fish oil supplementation helps, but so does keeping consumption of meats like conventional pork and chicken (with a bad O6 to O3 ratio) down.
                            Last edited by Bushrat; 05-15-2011, 04:40 PM.
                            A steak a day keeps the doctor away


                            • #15
                              If I had a bible to thump, it would have three letters: F. A. T.

                              Srsly. I suspect, for those with fibro, that we have issues with the insulation around our nerves, among so many other issues. A higher fat diet has had lots of positive neuro benefits for me. Yay for butter and bacon grease! Huzzah for lard! Long live coconut oil!!