No single cause for fibromyalgia has been discovered, but it’s thought that the condition could stem from a combination of stress, trauma, genetics, hormones, and certain infections. Antidepressants like duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) are commonly used to help reduce pain, sleep issues, and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia. But while these drugs might help relieve some fibromyalgia symptoms, they don’t really seem to address the root of the problem.
Some studies have suggested that free radical–damage might be behind some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including headaches. Free radicals are unstable compounds that can damage tissues in the body and lead to inflammation.
Spanish researchers studied the effect of CoQ10—a potent antioxidant and cellular energy source—in women with fibromyalgia who experienced headaches. Ten women (average age 47 years) were given 300 mg of CoQ10 per day for three months. Ten other women with fibromyalgia served as the control group. All of the women were compared with 15 healthy women. CoQ10 levels and measures of other antioxidants, oxidative stress (caused by free radicals), and cellular energy stores were assessed in all of the women.
Women with fibromyalgia had significantly lower levels of CoQ10 and another important antioxidant (catalase) than the healthy women. They also had significantly higher markers of free radical–damage and 70% less cellular energy stored than the healthy women.
After taking CoQ10, the women with fibromyalgia had
“Detection of CoQ10 deficiency and subsequent CoQ10 supplementation may result in clinical improvement in fibromyalgia,” said the researchers, recommending that future double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are needed to confirm their results.
There is no simple solution to healing fibromyalgia, but these tips may help keep your body in balance:
(Plos One 2012;doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035677)