Some Suggested Factors
While genetics and trauma or illnesses, like Lyme disease, are the leading suspects, many other things have been suggested to trigger fibromyalgia. Our approach is at the bottom but here is a partial sampling:
(We take a more in depth look at inflammation in our article, “Fibromyalgia Answers”. This offers a slightly different aspect.) The blood (serum) of Fibromyalgia patients contains higher than normal levels of two pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-8) created by mast cells and increased levels of substance P, a pro-inflammatory mediator and pain causative agent.(1)
A study also found that for a group of patients that had both CFS and FM, all had high homocysteine levels, a marker of inflammation.(2)
Chronic neurological conditions appear to be primarily caused by chronic or acute brain inflammation. The brain is very sensitive to inflammation. Disturbances in metabolic networks: e.g., immuno-inflammatory processes, insulin-glucose homeostasis, adipokine synthesis and secretion, intra-cellular signaling cascades, and mitochondrial respiration have been shown to be major factors in chronic neurological conditions.
Mercury toxicity and its effects on the body is a complex matter. Many clues exist indicating that Mercury plays significant role in some patients with Fibromyalgia and CFS.
Inflammatory chemicals such as mercury, aluminum, and other toxic metals as well as other excitotoxins i.e. MSG and aspartame cause high levels of free radicals, lipid peroxidation, inflammatory cytokines, and oxidative stress in the brain and cardiovascular systems. Exposures to heavy metal toxins can impair energy production and burden the detoxification system.
Oxidative stress caused by unstable free radical molecules can damage the energy-producing mechanisms inside the body’s cells. Fatigue and/or muscle pain can develop from toxic stress when the body is unable to detoxify harmful waste products or toxins from the environment.
Mercury has been found to impair conversion of thyroid T4 hormone to the active T3 form as well as causing autoimmune thyroiditis common to such patients.
In general, immune activation from toxic metals such as mercury resulting in cytokine release and abnormalities of the hypothalamus‑pituitary‑adrenal (HPA) axis can cause changes in the brain, hypocortisolism, and severe psychological symptoms such as profound fatigue, muscoskeletal pain, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal and neurological problems as are seen in CFS, Fibromyalgia, and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Mercury exposure through dental fillings appears to be a major factor in chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS) and Fibromyalgia through its effects on ATP and immune system(lymphocyte reactivity, neutraphil activity, effects on T‑cells and B‑cells) as well as its promotion of growth of Candida albicans in the body and the methylation of inorganic mercury by candida and intestinal bacteria to the extremely toxic methyl mercury form, which like mercury vapor crosses the blood‑brain barrier, and also damages and weakens the immune system.(3)
With Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid disease (HAIT), the thyroid fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormone to regulate metabolism. Symptoms of the resulting underactive thyroid usually include some complaint of fatigue or depression, but may include a host of other symptoms, including or muscular and joint pain, excessive weight gain, hair loss, dry and coarse, skin, menstrual irregularities, infertility and recurrent miscarriage, low blood pressure, high cholesterol and others. Diagnosis is most often by the sensitive thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, but some doctors also use the thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) test or tests for thyroid antibodies.
Hypothyroidism occurs when you produce insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone or when you have thyroid hormone resistance. As a result, your body cannot maintain normal metabolism, and your ability to convert tyrosine to dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine is impaired. This can cause a ripple effect of symptoms, including cognitive dysfunction.
A common give-away that you may be hypothyroid is feeling cold most of the time. This is because your body cannot generate enough ATP molecules to keep the core temperature of your body high enough.
According to Dr. John Lowe , inadequate thyroid hormone regulation may be one of the primary underlying factors in many patients with fibromyalgia. “Most fibromyalgia patients are either hypothyroid or thyroid hormone resistant.”(4)
Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum is an authority on CFS and fibromyalgia and has dedicated his professional life to leading scientific research, finding treatments, and helping patients who have these illnesses.
Dr.Teitelbaum often talks about Hypothalamic dysfunction factor. The hypothalamus is the body’s master gland and can be likened to the main circuit in your home’s breaker box. The hypothalamus is weakened by long term exposure to physical or emotional stress, which will cause it to “blow.” When the main fuse blows, all of the systems regulated by the hypothalamus malfunction. These systems include the glands (affecting the thyroid, adrenals, and sex hormones), the autonomic system (which regulates body temperature, blood pressure, and the anti diuretic hormone), and the sleep center.
People with CFS/FM typically suffer from a combination of different problems. The pattern can include infections (viral or bacterial), insomnia and hormonal problems, a combination Dr. Teitelbaum refers to as the “autoimmune triad.”
Low iodine (crucial for healthy thyroid function) might also contribute to fatigue, CFS and Fibromyalgia. A study showed that people with low body temperature and fatigue felt better and had more energy when they took a daily supplement of 1,500 micrograms (mcg) of iodine (the RDA is 150), though their temperature didn’t rise. It’s reasonable for those with unexplained fatigue, CFS or fibromyalgia to add an iodine supplement (6-12 mg) daily for three months to see if it helps. You’ll often see a marked increase in energy within the first month.(5)
These thyroid dysfunctions can be triggered by viral and bacterial infections, which happened in the past, but were never fully sorted, and coupled with iodine deficiency.
(Again, we take a more in depth look at inflammation in our article, “Fibromyalgia Answers”.) Bacterial infections such as those causing salmonella, pneumonia, chlamydia and tuberculosis have all been implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases. By far the most important bacterial agent is Borrelia Bergdorferi which gives rise to Lyme disease or Borreliosis.
Lyme Disease and/or Epstein Barr virus can masquerade as Fibromyalgia symptoms. Dr. Donald Liebell says “Droves of unfortunate souls have been disastrously doomed with the diagnosis of “fibromyalgia”… when the tick-spread bacterial infection known as Lyme disease was lurking silently below the surface—the cause of their grisly torment”.(6-7)
Their sole purpose is to invade living cells and insert their own genome into the host’s cells, thus assuming control over the cell’s functions. In this fashion, the host cell is used to replicate the virus. In some instances, this altered genetic coding can lead to ‘rogue’ cancer cells.
Viral infections have used sophisticated mechanisms for evading detection and destruction by the human immune system and may be responsible for the so-called ‘autoimmune’ diseases where the body appears to attack its own cells, but in reality the body is trying to combat a virus within the host’s cells.
Whatever the cause, at least several viruses are usually identified sequentially in those suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases. Any virus can and may be involved in these fatigue syndromes, but the herpes and enterovirus families of viruses seem to be implicated more often than others.(8)
(Many people with Fibromyalgia & CFS have thyroid problems and associated with it, serious iodine deficiency. Interestingly, this leads to another possible factor, because iodine has great germicidal properties and its deficiency allows proliferation of microbes and viruses in the body.)
Some people believe that Fibromyalgia & CFS most likely involve low cellular oxygen levels, because of the weakness felt throughout the body, involving muscles present in these conditions. Oxygen is involved in energy production and resulting fitness and stamina. And any prolonged disruption in O2 uptake may cause symptoms, which match these, which are present in Fibromyalgia & CFS sufferers.
Lowered oxygen also causes weakness in the immune system and opens the gate for infections. If you have suffered with various infections in your life and used antibiotics, the chances are that you never fully cleared these infections from your body, thus leaving yourself more vulnerable to a chronic, long term ‘erosion’ of your body by these microbes i.e. bacteria, fungus, candida, viruses.
There is a strong possible link between Fibromyalgia & CFS and oxygen deficiency, because microbial and viral infections (which as we already showed, are involved with the conditions in question), thrive in the environment/biological terrain, which is low in oxygen.
Professor Majid Ali, M.D. also sees the link. He identified Three Basic Facts About Fibromyalgia:
1.All symptoms of fibromyalgia are caused by cellular oxygen deprivation.
2.Oxygen deprivation is caused by dysfunctional oxygen metabolism.
3.Oxygen metabolism becomes abnormal due to excessive and cumulative oxidative stress caused by sugar overload, antibiotic abuse, undiagnosed allergies, synthetic chemicals, and anger.(9)
Dysfunctional oxygen metabolism is not merely lack of oxygen in the air we breathe, in the blood, or in the cells. This is a critical distinction.
Much of standard medical researchers wrestle over the cause and, therefore, preventative‘cure’ for fibromyalgia. While they pursue their research, we are more concerned with bring immediate relief to the pain and suffering! One might ask, “Aren’t they the same thing?” We don’t think so.
Many researchers are trying to find out what triggers the beginning of fibromyalgia in order to prevent it from happening in the first place. We do wish them well and hope they can find it – and they have far more resources than we do to accomplish it.
However, people are in misery now and we can help them greatly reduce the pain and suffering of the results of fibromyalgia. We see a strong pattern in what causes the different pain and other symptoms – and that is something we can do something about!
We welcome you to look at our scar tissue dissolving enzymes and other information in: Bio-Ffilms
1. Theoharis C. Theoharidesa,b,c,*, David E. Cochraned, Critical role of mast cells in inflammatory diseases and
the effect of acute stress Department of Biochemistry, Department of Biology Tufts New England Medical Center, Boston, MA, 2 July 2003.
2. Regland, Life Extension Foundation (MDs), Disease Prevention and Treatment, Expanded 4th Edition, 2003.
3. Kötter I, Dürk H, Saal JG, Kroiher A, Schweinsberg F. Mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings in the etiology of primary fibromyalgia: a pilot study. J Rheumatol. 1995 Nov;22(11):2194-5.
4. Joseph Mercola, MD Thyroid Disease & Fibromyalgia: The Factor That’s Nearly Always Overlooked ProHealth.com • February 22, 2012.
5. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD Iodine Deficiency – An Old Epidemic Is Back – The mineral is much more important that most realize. Complementary Medicine, August 17, 2011.
6. Hal Dinerman, MD; and Allen C. Steere, MD Lyme Disease Associated with Fibromyalgia Ann Intern Med. 15 August 1992;117(4):281-285).
7. Eric L. Logigian, M.D., Richard F. Kaplan, Ph.D., and Allen C. Steere, M.D.; Chronic Neurologic Manifestations of Lyme Disease New England Journal of Medicine 1990; 323:1438-1444).
8. Dan Buskila, MD; Alla Shnaider, MD; Lily Neumann, PhD; Doron Zilberman, MD; Nir Hilzenrat, MD; Emanuel Sikuler, MD Fibromyalgia in Hepatitis C Virus Infection Archives Of Internal Medicine. 1997;157(21):2497-2500).
9. Majid Ali, M.D. The Fatigue-Fibromyalgia Complex Majidalimd’s Blog September 2, 2012.