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woman laying on couch holding stomach in pain from fibromyalgia and IBS

The Gut Health Link to Fibromyalgia

The medical condition known as fibromyalgia — punctuated by widespread and intense musculoskeletal pain, debilitating fatigue and cognitive problems — has been one of the most challenging medical conditions for a very long time.

It’s been a real struggle until recently to convince medical professionals and laypeople that fibromyalgia is a very real thing (it is!), largely because the root causes of this condition remain very much unknown. Plus, diagnosing fibromyalgia can take a long time.

What we do know: Fibromyalgia goes hand-in-hand with gut problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As many as 70 percent of the fibromyalgia patients experience IBS symptoms, according to a paper written by UCLA’s Dr. Lin Chang for the University of North Carolina Center For Functional GI and Motility Disorders.

Like fibromyalgia, the exact causes of IBS are a mystery too. However, among the factors related to an IBS diagnosis is an imbalance of gut bacteria.

It just makes sense that a gut health link must exist and a group of Canadian researchers from the McGill University and the University of Montreal recently discovered it, in a hot-off-the-presses study appearing in the journal Pain.

Big differences

Scientists discovered very distinct differences in the mix of gut bacteria between healthy people and those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Using computational techniques including artificial intelligence, they compared the urine, blood, saliva and stool samples taken from 156 patients, including 77 female fibromyalgia patients, between ages 30-60.

Researchers identified 19 variances in species of gut bacteria — in abnormally higher and lower amounts — in fibromyalgia patients.

Moreover, these techniques allowed scientists to diagnose fibromyalgia in patients using only a patient’s microbiome with an amazing accuracy of 87 percent.

“The changes we saw in the microbiomes of fibromyalgia patients were not caused by factors such as diet, medication, physical activity, age, and so on, which are known to affect the microbiome,” says Dr. Amir Minerbi, lead author of the study.

Some imbalances in gut bacteria species have been linked to several intestinal diseases in lower amounts or inflammatory arthritis in higher numbers.

This news has some pain management experts intrigued about addressing fibromyalgia in a much broader way as part of the gut-brain axis.

“Having a microbiome signature could allow clinicians to understand to what extent the gut is promoting the condition as well as how planned interventions that may alter the microbiome — such as diet, prebiotics and probiotics — could be promising tools,” as pointed out by noted pain management expert Dr. Robert Bonakdar to Medscape.

Probiotics do a great deal of good, and not only as an IBS treatment. According to a recent review of studies, probiotics may be an effective tool in treating, not only fibromyalgia but chronic fatigue syndrome too.

To achieve the best outcome for your gut health, whether you suffer from fibromyalgia or IBS, your best bet is to take a probiotic created with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria amounting to 20 billion CFU, not to mention a prebiotic (FOS) that provides food for the good guys in your gut.

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