A Natural Remedy for Fibromyalgia?
Many individuals worldwide are given the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, which is a chronic painful condition that affects the musculoskeletal system and is characterized by intense pain at specific pressure points, such as the neck and shoulders, elbows and hips. In addition, those with fibromyalgia may also experience chronic fatigue, depression, hair loss, frequent headaches, brain fog, digestive issues, insomnia and other symptoms.
It is estimated that 1 in 20 people worldwide have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In the United States, up to 10% of the population have received this diagnosis. While western medicine doesn’t offer a cure for fibromyalgia, they prescribe medications to quell the symptoms. These pharmaceuticals, however, pose risks and side effects and are not always effective.
There may exist in nature, however, a remedy for the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and there is research to back its efficacy. Have you heard of malic acid? You’ve likely consumed it lately, since it comes from apples, but truth be told, malic acid is made by all living organisms. Malic acid is a type of organic acid called an alpha hydroxy acid. You may have seen this term on labels such as skin products to promote a clearer, more youthful complexion.
The word “malic” is derived from the Latin word “malus” which means apple. You know those sour apples that make your mouth pucker? That sour taste is malic acid, and the more sour the fruit, the higher the malic acid. Although apples have the highest content (about 90%), other fruits also contain malic acid.
Health benefits are plentiful. It is instrumental in cellular energy utility, involved in the Krebs cycle with ATP production, and has been evidenced to increase energy production during exercise. Malic acid is also instrumental in regulating various neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of well-being, relaxation and promoting quality sleep. When it comes to those with chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, malic acid can have a huge impact.
In a small randomized, placebo-controlled study of participants with diagnosed fibromyalgia, individuals experienced symptom relief with malic acid supplementation. The trial extended beyond the initial four weeks as an open label study for an additional few months, which is where participants reported significant symptom relief.
This might be why. Malic acid binds to essential minerals in the body, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. This binding helps the absorption of that mineral via the gut and bloodstream. Magnesium exists in multiple forms, however, magnesium malate, which is derived and bound with malic acid, creates a more absorbable form of magnesium than magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate and even magnesium citrate, the form found in most magnesium supplements. In addition, magnesium malate is gentle on the gut, producing no digestive upset, loose stools, diarrhea or chronic gut inflammation, which may occur with magnesium citrate and oxide supplementation.
Interestingly, the symptoms of magnesium and malic acid deficiency are the same as what is termed "fibromyalgia," and those with fibromyalgia have been found to be deficient in both magnesium and malic acid. Is it possible that a deficiency in magnesium and malic acid contributes to these symptoms, which are diagnosed under this medical term?
People diagnosed with fibromyalgia also frequently possess low levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting elevated mood, sleep and immune function. In addition, they suffer from mitochondrial dysfunction and low levels of ATP production, resulting in debilitating exhaustion and muscle pain that is the trademark of fibromyalgia.
Research on fibromyalgia has also shown that sufferers are more likely to have low levels of oxygen in their muscles, a condition known as muscle hypoxia. Malic acid helps provide energy and oxygen to the cells, improving symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain and low exercise endurance. Magnesium malate helps boost serotonin levels, as well, promoting better quality sleep.
What is also compelling is that the combination of malic acid and magnesium plays another important role in helping those with fibromyalgia when it comes to detoxification. Malic acid binds to aluminum and helps remove it from the body. Magnesium works to prevent any future aluminum buildup. Evidence points to the association between heavy metal toxicity and the development of fibromyalgia and neurological diseases. Hence, magnesium malate may also provide detoxification benefits and further help those with symptoms of fibromyalgia as well as preventing aluminum toxicity in those who don't.
The research is certainly intriguing. Perhaps the root cause of what is termed fibromyalgia is indeed a combination of toxicity from heavy metals such as aluminum as well as nutrient deficiencies, such as magnesium and malic acid, and providing the body with the essential natural tools may help eliminate the symptoms.
Our Optimum Magnesium is composed of a proprietary blend of magnesium malate and magnesium glycinate, and may be helpful for those with symptoms of fibromyalgia. Both forms are chelated and highly bioavailable without being harsh on the digestive tract.