23 Nov Altered gut microbiome linked to fibromyalgia
by Ashleigh Feltham, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
Fibromyalgia is a painful condition that affects your central nervous system with widespread tenderness, stiffness, and musculoskeletal pain. This condition affects up to one in twenty Australians with the condition affecting more women than men. A lot about this condition is unknown but recent research may provide insight into the role of the diversity of your gut microbiome.
The direct link between your gut and the brain is via the brain-gut axis. When your gut is out of optimal balance the health of your entire body can be affected including your brain and central nervous system. If your gut microbiome is out of balance the lining of your gut can be altered and allow the release of inflammatory chemicals and messengers which may promote the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia causes what’s now referred to as “regions of pain.” Some of these regions overlap with what was previously referred to as areas of tenderness called “trigger points” or “tender points.” This condition can be hard to understand, even for healthcare professionals. Its symptoms mimic those of other conditions, and there aren’t any real tests to confirm the diagnosis. As a result, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed.
Two strains of bacteria called Eubacterium and Bifidobacterium were found to be reduced in those with fibromyalgia. These strains of microbes are health-promoting and play many important roles including metabolising or making the components in your brain which send signals called neurotransmitters.
Your gut plays a major role in keeping your immune system working at its best, protecting the lining of your gut and promoting a balanced, anti-inflammatory state. By eating a diet rich in different types of plant-based foods and good sources of fibre like South Australian Gourmet Food Company Fruit Custards with Added Fibre you will be feeding these good bacteria. Including enough variety also promotes a diverse range of health-promoting strains of microbes. These release signals called short-chain fatty acids which help to keep your body functioning in a healthy state.
Take home message:
Much more research is needed to understand and treat Fibromyalgia. However, this research does provide insight into fibromyalgia and the role the gut may play in promoting the condition. Specifically, how the diversity of your gut microbiome and reduced health-promoting strains may affect the painful symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.