Info and Links
Here is some information and links for you.
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I talked about magnesium with you already. I also found that 5-HTP is a supplement that may help with fibromyalgia so I included some info about it below.
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Disclaimer: I'm passing on what I've learned from research and personal experience, it is always advisable to check with your doctor before taking supplements.
Magnesium is great for reducing anxiety, relaxing muscles, and improving sleep. There also is research supporting it's effectiveness for fibromyalgia pain.
One study: Magnesium spray improved fibromyalgia symptoms within 2 weeks and sustained improvement through the 4 week test period.
Engen, Deborah J., Samantha J. Mcallister, Mary O. Whipple, Stephen S. Cha, Liza J. Dion, Ann Vincent, Brent A. Bauer, and Dietlind L. Wahner-Roedler. “Effects of Transdermal Magnesium Chloride on Quality of Life for Patients with Fibromyalgia: a Feasibility Study.” Journal of Integrative Medicine 13, no. 5 (2015): 306–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2095-4964(15)60195-9.
The Recommended Daily Amount for magnesium:
- Men 19–30 years old: 400, over 30: 420
- Women 19–30 years old: 310, over 30: 320
Magnesium Pills or Capsules
In pills/capsules, magnesium can be found compounded with at least a dozen different biochemicals. Exactly which compound works for you may depend on your body.
I have not found any form of magnesium pills or capsules that I can stomach personally. I prefer to get it either through my skin or as the powder drink that I'll mention in a minute.
If you want to try magnesium pills or capsules, avoid Magnesium Oxide. It is the most common magnesium compound in oral supplements, the cheapest to produce, and the least absorbable. One author I read said "You might as well eat a rock." Check the back labels of supplements carefully. Many manufacturers only mention that their supplements include magnesium oxide on the back label.
Also, avoid Magnesium Aspartate because aspartate is an excitatory neurotransmitter.
Magnesium can be absorbed through your skin (AKA transdermally).
You can put it into an full bath or footbath and do a 20- to 30-minute soak, or you can spray it onto your skin in the form of magnesium oil.
Epsom Salts are composed of Magnesium Sulfate. While you might find Epsom Salt baths or footbaths helpful, I don't find it as good a source of transdermal magnesium as Magnesium Chloride flakes and oil.
I usually do Magnesium Chloride flakes footbaths several evenings a week and spray on Magnesium Oil other days. As long as I keep up this regimen, I don't have the neck pain that I suffered for a decade after a bad car accident. If I slack off on magnesium intake, my neck pain reappears after a few days. If I use it again, the neck pain goes away. And, while I don't really have sleep problems, I do find that I sleep particularly well the nights that I do a footbath.
Magnesium Chloride flakes -- a cup in a footbath, more in a full bath (If you use Epsom Salts instead, try 2 cups per footbath.)
Some people get itchy from the magnesium oil spray. It is suggested that if that happens to you then dilute the oil 1:1 with water. (Magnesium oil is actually a water solution. It's called oil because of its slippery feeling.)
Magnesium Powder Drink
Many of my clients experience a great improvement in anxiety and sleep with a Magnesium Citrate powder known as Natural Vitality CALM. It is readily available in stores and online. I use it occasionally when I know that I need some magnesium but don't feel like taking a footbath. I get good results with it too.
Since magnesium is a muscle relaxant, it can cause diarrhea when taken orally. Follow the container's instructions for how to start out with small doses and work your way up toward full dose.
A note regarding the diarrhea effect: For a long time, I was suggesting that my anxiety clients who experienced a lot of diarrhea avoid this form of magnesium, but more recently I am getting feedback from clients who had suffered for years with diarrhea that CALM made their diarrhea go away. My assumption is that it had a calming effect on a cramping intestinal tract or that their diarrhea was anxiety-induced. (CALM calmed the anxiety and in turn that calmed the diarrhea.)
5-HTP is one step in the chemical sequence that creates the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Increasing 5-HTP appears to increase serotonin.
Dr. Timothy Birdsall, ND’s review of 5-HTP research details many relevant studies including:
- several studies in the 1980s and ’90s that found 5-HTP to be as good as pharmaceutical medications for reducing depression, and
- a placebo-controlled study of fifty fibromyalgia patients showing that those given 5-HTP had significantly better improvements in all parameters examined, including pain, sleep, and anxiety.
CAUTION: 5-HTP is contraindicated with some medications.
5-HTP supplements may create an unhealthy doubling-down if combined with antidepressant, pain, or migraine pharmaceutical medications (especially SSRI or MAOI antidepressants like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Nardil, or Parnate). Creating too much serotonin by combining 5-HTP with these medications/supplements is theorized to possibly cause Serotonin Syndrome with symptoms of agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, and blood pressure fluctuations. Drugs.com has a more complete description of these potential interactions.
The Prescription for Natural Cures says to take 50 to 100 mg three times per day for fibromyalgia. (page 301)
Here's a couple of examples: