Fibromyalgia and Weight Gain

A specifically depressing problem about fibromyalgia is gaining weight, even if we eat less we continue to gain weight and due to pain, it’s very painful to exercise. According to Mark Pellegrino, MD, in his book Fibromyalgia: Up Close and Personal, it’s not very surprising to gain 25 to 30 pounds after having fibromyalgia during the first year.

The Link between FM and Weight Gain

There are several contributing factors responsible for weight gain in patients having fibromyalgia.

Lack of Sleep. One very basic symptoms of Fibromyalgia is that patients can’t sleep properly despite that they need. The latest research has shown that people who don’t get sleep properly are more likely to gain weight because their metabolism slows down and appetite goes on increasing and carve for more carbohydrates and high sugar foods.

Neuroendocrine Abnormalities. Studies have shown that patients having fibromyalgia have severe deficiencies of some hormones like serotonin, growth hormone, cortisol, and thyroid, and they are responsible for body decrease metabolism and they cause an increase in sensitivity to insulin and makes the body to store fat and hence gain weight.

Decreased Activity. The fibromyalgia patients are in great pain and they are not able to work out to burn the calories to reduce the weight they have gained and increase their metabolism rate to the point they can reduce their weight.

Medication. Several medications used to treat FM patients have many side effects, especially antidepressants, their side effect causes the patient to gain weight.

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Weight-loss Strategies

The pain makes the patients unable to reduce their weight as they can’t work out to increase their metabolism so if they eat less they will continue to gain weight? Dr. Pellegrino has made the diet plan to boost out the metabolism and this type of food plan designed to improve our metabolism and calorie-burning abilities as they provide us with the right “quality” of food. He recommends:

Eat a High-protein, Low-carbohydrate Diet: Focus on food having good protein content like lean meats, eggs, dairy products, tofu, soy meat substitutes, and legumes. Only take carbohydrate intake in the form of vegetables and fresh fruits. Include good fats, such as plant oils, fish oils, almonds, and avocados. Avoid artificial sweeteners and use a natural sweetener like Stevia or Xylitol. Do not take sugar and other sweets, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, partially hydrogenated oils, carbonated drinks, and alcohol but only when needed in small quantities.

Eat Proteins First. Never eat carbohydrates alone. Always take a protein diet first, Taking protein first will help to slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates but activating the protein digestive enzymes.

Eat Until You’re Full. Eat 5 or 6 times a day in small quantities, never eat to full, cheers your food properly. You can take your food in the form of 2 regular meals and 3 small snacks, or you can take 2 small snacks with 3 regular meals or you can take small meals and 2 larger snacks or 5 small meals. Try it and see what suits you best. If you suffer from bowel syndrome then prefer taking small meals on and off.

Give Yourself a Break. Strictly follow the diet plan from the start of the week to the end and on weekends allow yourself to spend money freely. If you already know that you can enjoy on weekends will make you stick to the diet plan throughout the week.

Check with Your Doctor: Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise or diet plan. Maybe you want to talk to your doctor about thyroid, yeast or fungal overgrowth, hypoglycemia and hormone deficiencies as these things are responsible for weight gain.

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How CFS and Fibromyalgia Stress Can Make You Gain Weight

Despite all these numerous problems, that the patients of CSF and fibromyalgia encounter recent studies show that they have an average weight gain of 32 pounds. The metabolic disturbance makes it impossible for them to losses weight until they receive proper treatment. It is easy to lose weight when one understands what tigers the weight gain. For patients suffering from CSF and FM, a simple diet plan cannot reduce their weight. A lot of people find it impossible to reduce weight, this article will help them to reduce weight.

So why is it impossible to lose weight and keep it

CFS/FM is responsible for weight gain due to different reasons. Physical and emotional stress like infection and nutritional deficiencies start a metabolic chain reaction that results in weight gain. contributes to the inability to lose weight. With proper treatment plan of Fibromyalgia that includes the combination therapy of medicines that enhances the effect of each other will help people to stop their weight gain and will eventually help to lose weight.

So what is going on in CFS/FM?

CFS/FM should not be considered as the body s great enemy consider it the attempt of the body to save the body from further harm and damage in a lot of dangerous situations. CSF and FM may b considered as a circuit breaker in housie When a certain circuit is overloaded, some circuits break to prevent the wire damage in the house. If the body is supplied with proper nutrition the systems can start working properly like before, rest is also helpful. But in CSF or FM if the main system like hypothalamus breaks down, it is impossible to restore it with rest or proper nutrition.

In spite of any type of stress that can cause these syndromes, but these symptoms in most patients occur due to the breakdown of the hypothalamic “circuit breaker”. This gland is responsible for the proper sleep cycle, this is the reason patients can’t sleep properly after its malfunction. The hypothalamus gave an impact on hormonal function, temperature regulation and the autonomic nervous system (e.g. blood pressure). The hypothalamic dysfunction is therefore responsible for most of these symptoms.

So how does this lead to the weight gain? Starting from poor sleep, the average American got to sleep 9 hours daily at night. The best known saying” getting your beauty sleep” actually have a basis. Deep sleep is responsible for the production of growth hormone that causes the growth of muscles and burns fat and increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the tendency to get fat and reduce the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. So your 9 hours of sleep is very important to make you look young and slim.

How else does CFS/FM stress contribute to weight gain?

As stated earlier, the breakdown of the hypothalamic circuit also affects hormone production, this circuit is suppressed due to stress. This leads to insufficient quantities of thyroid hormone and adrenal hormone. The thyroid hormone is your body’ s gas pedal.

The blood tests are not sufficient to point out thyroid and adrenal deficiencies. The normally used treatment to treat hypothyroidism is not effective enough in most patients eg the most commonly used medicine to treat this condition is known as Synthroid, It can not work efficiently in most patients, ad most of T4 can’t b converted into active T3. Many patients even can’t get the thyroid in the proper amount. Making blood tests normal is not enough to treat the patients.

It means if your blood tests are normal, you are not just the part of the lowest 3%population. And most importantly TSH test is not to be relied on for monitoring therapy because of hypothalamic suppression. Only free T4 can b used to monitor this therapy. The dose of thyroid given to the patient should be level best for the patient and free T4 should be checked if it’s in a normal range or not. It is impossible to reduce the weight until your thyroid function is normal.

So how can I tell if I need thyroid hormone?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance with low body temperature (under 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and achiness and poor mental function. Even if you have some of these symptoms it can justify the therapeutic trial of thyroid hormone. It is highly recommended to use Armour thyroid but it should b adjusted to the dose that makes the patients to feel best and also keep T4 blood levels in a normal range.

What other hormone problems contribute to weight gain?

The adrenal gland is responsible to handle the body’s stress and controls the body’s “fight or flight” reaction. During stress, the adrenal gland releases cortisol and adrenaline. This may occur after every few weeks, every time we see the saber tooth tiger or enemy. To recover this plenty of time is needed. During these days we set off the fight or flight reaction dozens if not hundreds of times a day.

Chronic stress results in increased levels of cortisol at the beginning which directly triggers the weight gain. Long-lasting continuous stress can cause the overactivity of the adrenal gland and hence cause it’s exhaustion. In a time of stress, the adrenal gland was responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels, it’s exhaustion will cause hypoglycemia

You started feeling like somebody have to give you something to eat otherwise you will kill them. The adrenal gland will help you in this situation. Adrenal insufficiency will also cause you to break emotionally or physically during tension. You feel dizziness and low blood sugar level when you are standing. This cause the person to eat more sugar and hence gain weight.

What else is contributing to the weight gain?

Clinical experiments have shown that overgrowth of candida or yeast can make a person feel to take more sugar and hence can gain weight. When this growth is treated the weight gain drops, but how it happened is not known yet. Excess sugar intake and antibiotic use can cause excess fungal growth. The main symptoms of yeast overgrowth are chronic sinusitis and spastic colon (gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation).

If you think you are having one of these symptoms, then surely you are suffering from fungal overgrowth. Treatment of this can not only lose your weight and reduce fibromyalgia but can also treat your spastic colon and sinusitis. carnitine deficiency is another most important problem which is present in most CFS/FM patients. Unluckily it forces your body to convert calories into fat and makes it possible to burn fat. By taking care of it in time will not simply help, as it slowly enters into cells.

I recommend that people take Acetyl – L-Carnitine 1000 mg daily (which does get into the cells more effectively) for four months, as this can help both energy and weight loss. To treat them, some lifestyle modifications can help you to lose weight and ultimately get well increase your water intake and reduce sugar and simple carbohydrates intake. If you feel thirsty drink water like a fish. Don’t confuse thirst with hunger and don’t start overeating.

Get optimum nutritional support.

When your body is lacking in vitamins and minerals, it will make your body to eat more and your metabolism will slow down. Powders and many supplements are available to make you get adequate nutritional support… Besides, take 500 to 1000 milligrams of acetyl l-carnitine daily.

Get proper sleep. Get approximately 8to9 hours of sleep. If you have insomnia and cannot sleep than a combination of herbals such as Wild Lettuce, Jamaican Dogwood, Hops, Theanine, Valerian and Passionflower is very helpful. Also, take one milligram of melatonin and calcium with magnesium at bedtime can help you get a peaceful sleep.

Thyroid Regulation. If you are suffering from cold intolerance and machines ask your doctor to prescribe you Armour Thyroid. The dose should be adjusted to make the patient feel best while keeping T4 in the normal range.

Yeast treatments. If you have chronic sinusitis or spastic colon, there is more likely that you are suffering from fungal overgrowth. Avoid sugar and try sugar substitutes like Stevia. Adrenal stress support starts by changing your attitude. Whenever you feel like you are in danger ask yourself what am I in a dangerous situation, you will get the answer” No”, this answer relaxes your adrenal gland. Take licorice if you experience hypoglycemia. It is not necessary now to take unhealthy diets to reduce weight. These recommendations will help you lose weight and stay healthy and young and smart.

Written by: Dr. Muniba, MD MBBS, FUMDC. For support and discussion join the community “Living with Fibromyalgia and chronic illness”

Reference: Jacob Teitelbaum M.D. is a board-certified internist and director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective CFS/Fibromyalgia Therapies. Having suffered with and overcome these illnesses in 1975, he spent the next 28 years creating, researching and teaching about effective therapies. He sees CFS/fibromyalgia/chronic pain patients from all over the world in his clinic in Annapolis, Maryland (410-266-6958). He lectures internationally. He is also the author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! and the just-released Three Steps to Happiness! Healing through Joy. His web site can be found at Reference: Karen Lee Richards, ChronicPainConnection Expert Pellegrino, M (2005). Fibromyalgia: Up Close & Personal. Anadem Publishing. Kase, L (2007, October). Magic Power of Sleep. Reader’s Digest, 110-115. 

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