My name is Dr. Russell Brokstein, Freehold, NJ Chiropractor and owner of Hometown Family Wellness Center. I have been helping Fibromyalgia sufferers for the last 13 years and have written a home recommendation report available to all of my patients. I decided to share many of these recommendations on my blog posts as there are so many people suffering needlessly with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
In our last post in the series on Fibromyalgia I started to discuss dietary recommendations. You can read the previous blog by clicking:
Diet Recommendations for Fibromyalgia Sufferers Shared by Freehold NJ Chiropractor
Today we are going to discuss antioxidants and the power it has in helping Fibromyalgia patients.
Many people know how important Vitamin C is, but they don’t know that it is also an antioxidant. An important diet strategy for lifetime health is having enough antioxidants in the body at all times. The function of antioxidants is to quench chemical fragments called free radicals that can destroy cells, tissues and organs in the body. The more antioxidants floating around in your bloodstream, the better your body can heal itself from bacterial or viral infections.
That’s why adding more vitamin C to your diet through vitamin C rich foods like grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and other berries is a must. It’s easy to add them in – just plan a few healthy fruit snacks during the day in between meals.
A grapefruit satisfies hunger and prevents hunger cravings later in the day and is ideal as an afternoon snack. A cup of berries on top of yogurt or in kefir milk is an excellent way to get more vitamin C and also heal the intestines. You could even freeze the yogurt or kefir milk for 30 minutes before eating it and you’ll make yourself a nice semi-frozen dessert. It will be similar to what you find at the fast food restaurants, but loaded with nutrients.
You can use Vitamin C supplements too, but I recommend eating foods rich in natural Vit C. It’s a good idea to take more vitamin C than what is recommended. In college, I discovered that taking extra vitamin C after a workout prevented muscle soreness from happening. I tested this thoroughly and did 10 sets of calf exercises, up and down for several minutes, and with all that exercise, I should have been practically unable to walk the next day! This didn’t happen when I took high doses of Vitamin C! It stopped the lactic acid production.
I find Vitamin C is very helpful to those with fibromyalgia and the vitamin may even cut down on some of the soreness that is felt on a daily basis.
You can save money on Vitamin C supplementation: You can take vitamin C in the most economical way by buying one pound of ascorbic acid crystals for about $10. One teaspoon of the crystals is usually equal to about 4000 mg.
Don’t be afraid of taking vitamin C. The Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling who studied the vitamin took more than 20 grams a day and he lived a long healthy life. One way to take ascorbic acid is to mix 1/2 teaspoon into a little grapefruit or orange juice for breakfast and the same amount in juice before you go to bed at night. That will give you 4000 mg for the day, enough to boost your antioxidant levels, turn back the clock on signs of aging, and help you raise thyroid levels indirectly.
There are some precautions with Vitamin C. With vitamin C, it’s important to decide on a specific dosage and always take that amount. Of course, you can always temporarily raise the dosage for 3 to 7 days to recover from an illness. 2000 mg is a good dosage of vitamin C to start with; so is 4000 mg. I help my patients decide which one is better for them. It’s your job to take that amount every day, no matter what. No excuses!
Antioxidants help in so many ways. There are other vitamins that are antioxidants other than Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Vitamin E is another good one, and research shows that this vitamin is important for allowing muscles and nerves to function with less oxygen. Vitamin E gives you endurance and stamina. It prevents the adrenal hormones from being oxidized, helps the eyes focus, and assists in preventing scar formation. Vitamin E also keeps us looking young.
In the past, vitamin E was used to normalize blood flow in menstruation, correcting menstrual rhythm. Higher doses of vitamin E can act as a natural flu vaccine, strengthening the cells from viruses and bacteria. It also eases headaches and extends life span. Racehorses given vitamin E won more races than those without the vitamin. Vitamin E also is helpful in cases of muscular dystrophy.
This antioxidant can be pretty important for those with fibromyalgia, too, because a lot of fibromyalgia patients have menstrual disorders, headaches, muscle aches and pains, and want to look and feel younger from more oxygen coursing through their arteries!
I like to add extra Vitamin E to my patients’ supplement plan, 400-800 IU mixed tocopherols or alpha – tocopherol, per day. The only exception is if you have high blood pressure, get 200 IU capsules of alpha or mixed tocopherols and take 200 IU for a week. The next week, take 200 IU twice daily. The following week increase to a total of 600 IU and the following week a total of 800 IU. Taking 800 IU all at once if you have blood pressure shocks the body by providing a lot of extra help for the blood vessels too soon so you have to build up slowly.
Oxygen boosting supplements also benefits Fibromyalgia patients. Germanium and coQ10 are two supplements that help oxygenate the system.
Germanium is a mineral that has an important role in oxygenating the system, bringing oxygen to the cells. I’ve found that some fibromyalgia patients swear by the effects of germanium supplements. It has cut their pain by about 50%, but all patients won’t find this to be true.
Germanium is different than geranium flowers! Germanium is an element not a flower. Most bottles at the health food store can be pricey, but check around online because you should be able to find a good price. You’re looking for tablets that are 100-150 mg germanium. Take one to five per day, then start cutting back to the level that still results in a reduction of pain and is increasing your energy levels and endurance. Instructions will say on the label of the bottle to not take it at night before bed, but in fibromyalgia patients, if you take it before bed, you may find it much easier to wake up in the morning!
100 to 300 mg CoQ10 supplements will increase the amount of energy that a person has during the day. I find this works quite well in a lot of patients who are so tired during the day.
CoQ10 is used in the body’s metabolic pathways in the very last step of the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy. Before the energy is “handed over” to the body’s cells, CoQ10 is responsible for the handout!
In our next posts to help Fibromyalgia sufferers we will talk about what to eat and what not to eat, exercise and sleep recommendations. By making many of these changes, along with chiropractic care and stess reduction therapy, our office has been helping Fibromyalgia patients from Freehold and neighboring towns of Marlboro, Manalapan, Howell, Colts Neck, Jackson, and Morganville in Monmouth County New Jersey.
If you or somebody you know suffers with fibromyalgia, share this and our other blogs with them and feel free to contact our office to find out if our 4 pronged approach to health will help you get back on the road to enjoying a normal active lifestyle without drugs or surgery.