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Fibromyalgia is associated with pain, fatigue and depression but a lesser known issue is that it also comes with gastrointestinal distress. Probiotics help return a patient to regularity but can a compound like Lactobacillus also help your fibromyalgia?

When dealing with fibromyaglia, I have made no secret in previous articles that patients will experience a multitude of symptoms ranging from increased sensitivity to pain, chronic fatigue and prolonged depression [1]. Another minor problem that is no less bothersome is that patients may also have gastrointestinal distress [2]. In fact, research confirms that fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome coexist. In this study, 73 percent of patients suffering from fibromyalgia also reported having bowel distress. Some of the more pronounced symptoms that a patient can experience would be abdominal gas in 59 percent of cases, nausea in 21 percent, diarrhea in 9 percent and constipation in 12 percent. [3] A number of supplements for fibromyalgia can be used to improve these gastrointestinal symptoms. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a good probiotic supplement when you have fibromyalgia potentially. It has a lot of uses in other diseases that have GI disturbances but will it be able to also bring fibromyalgia pain relief

What is Lactobacillus acidophilus? 

When we are considering Lactobacillus as a potential supplement for fibromyalgia, we only need to take a brief look at the mechanism behind why this can be a good probiotic supplement when you have fibromyalgia. It is able to affect the immune system, much like what we saw when we examined omega-3 fatty acids, but the exact process of what is occurring is still not known. In animal studies, it was found that after feeding Lactobacillus to rats, immune mediators like IgA, IL-6, CD4 and CD8 were much higher after this probiotic was administered. This shows that Lactobacillus is a substance that can be used to boost the innate immunity of subjects taking this supplement. [4]

If you are worried about putting a foreign bacteria inside of you, don't! Lactobacillus is a bacteria that is naturally found in the mouth, intestine, and vagina. You can see this bacteria in the highest concentration in the upper GI tract where it is the perfect environment for it to reside. We also use this bacteria in a lot of other practical applications in the form of making yogurts, dairy products, and fermented soy. As you can see, there are a lot of real-world applications for this bacteria but does this make it truly a good probiotic supplement when you have fibromyaglia? [5]

Why Does Make it a  Good Supplement for Fibromyalgia? 

Now that we have discovered why Lactobacillus is used in a number of practical applications, let us review some of the symptoms that this supplement for fibromyalgia can relieve. Studies confirm that patients taking this supplement twice daily for a two-month period experienced a significant decrease in gastric distressAbdominal bloating was greatly reduced in these patients bringing fibromyalgia pain relief. [6]

Relief for gastric bloating is one thing but many probiotics can do this; what about something more bothersome like chronic diarrhea that is seen with irritable bowel syndromes and fibromyaglia? A probiotic mixture of multiple types of Lactobacillus were given to patients suffering from chronic diarrhea seen in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Patients took this supplementation on a daily basis for a period of 2 months and relief was assessed 10-weeks after the supplementation had ceased. Adequate relief was found to be achieved in 48 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome after this treatment compared to only 12 percent of those from the control group. When examining tissue samples from these patients, it was also determined that the intestinal flora was much more consistent in patients taking these supplements. This means that symptoms are more normalized and patients will not have problems with diarrhea or constipation as readily as those without supplementation. [7]

Studies show that there are changes in intestinal microbial flora in patients that are suffering from chronic fatigue syndromes like fibromyalgia. This can also lead to anxiety and increased stress which could explain some of the mood disorders that are also noted when patients experience this disease. In one particular study, 39 patients suffering from a chronic fatigue syndrome were given either 24 billion colony forming units of Lactobacillus or a placebo for a two-month period. Patients were also assessed for depression and anxiety using a Beck Depression and Beck Anxiety questionnaire. At the conclusion of this investigation, it was determined that patients that were taking this Lactobacillus preparation had significantly decreased episodes of anxiety and depression compared to the controls.[8] Researchers were not able to diagram out the exact mechanism of what was happening with these findings. Perhaps less gastric irregularity helped patients return to a state of normality or there was a significant alteration in the intestinal microbial flora and their secretions had some physiological manifestation. Regardless of the pathway leading up to it, it is apparent that Lactobacillus is not a good probiotic supplement when you have fibromyalgia, it is a great option. You will be able to not only improve your gastric distress but will also benefit from a decrease in anxiety and depression. I strongly recommend incorporating Lactobacillus as a supplement for your fibromyalgia. 

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