Muscle problems can be painful and frustrating. In some cases, though, nutritional supplementation can help. In this article we outline important nutrients to consider if you’re affected by cramps, muscle pain or fibromyalgia.
Muscle Cramps? Magnesium may help
Magnesium is intimately involved in muscle function, and symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, spasm and weakness. Research suggests that taking magnesium may help to prevent cramps from a range of causes, including those associated with menstruation and pregnancy. Muscle pain and weakness - check your vitamin D! Vitamin D is best known for helping to keep calcium in your bones, but it also appears to play a role in the health and functioning of the muscles.
Generalised muscle pain may be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. This nutritional deficiency is particularly widespread amongst older people, who may experience deficiency symptoms such as muscle pain and weakness (known as sarcopaenia) and an increased tendency to fall over, which may lead to fractures and other injuries.
Support yourself nutritionally Fibromyalgia is a complex syndrome characterised by widespread pain, tenderness and stiffness of muscles, ligaments and tendons that persists for at least three months. Certain points, called trigger points, can be particularly sensitive and painful to touch. Accompanying symptoms may include sleep disturbances, extreme fatigue, headaches, mood problems, increased menstrual pain, and irritable bowel syndrome, among others.
Fibromyalgia is most common in women 25-45 years old and can vary in severity from being quite mild to extremely debilitating. Symptoms can be unpredictable, occurring every day or in cycles of flare-ups followed by symptom-free periods. Fibromyalgia is generally managed with a multi-disciplinary approach that combines a range of treatments and lifestyle interventions. Nutritional supplements that may be helpful in some cases include:
- S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe): Several clinical trials suggest that SAMe can reduce areas of pain and the number of trigger points in fibromyalgia, while also improving mood and fatigue .
- Coenzyme Q10: Fibromyalgia sufferers may have lower levels of the antioxidant nutrient coenzyme Q10 and higher levels of free radical activity than other people and this may contribute to some symptoms. Preliminary research suggests that taking high doses of coenzyme Q10 may help to lower free radical activity, increase cellular energy production and reduce headaches and some other fibromyalgia symptoms .
- Vitamin D3: It has been estimated that as many as 40-60% of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia are affected by vitamin D deficiency, the symptoms of which can include general muscle pain .