Fibromyalgia (FM) presents with a variety of symptoms that cause pain and discomfort to the sufferer. Musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, chronic pain and aching, fatigue and several areas of tenderness (known as tender points) characterize this mysterious syndrome. It is very similar to chronic fatigue syndrome in many ways, including the age group affected – mainly women aged 25-50 years.
A Chemistry Lesson
The pain associated with FM is partly due to the high degree of gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from amino acids, fats, and other substances that are not carbohydrates. It is produced in response to the demand for energy in the body and when not utilized can create muscle breakdown. The increased level of muscle tissue breakdown is considered to be one of the main sources for pain and fatigue in those with FM. The chemical in the body that is responsible for the metabolic function of turning sugar and fat into energy is the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Some research indicates that people with FM may be deficient in the compounds required for ATP synthesis. These compounds are oxygen, magnesium, substrate, ADP (adenosine diphosphate – a chemical involved in energy transfer reactions) and phosphate. In order for the body to properly create energy, it requires adequate levels of these compounds. When the levels are inadequate, symptoms of fatigue, depression and muscle pain ensue.
How Magnesium Deficiency Affects Fibro Sufferers
Evidence indicates that people with FM are often deficient in magnesium, one of the primary and most crucial elements for ATP synthesis. Another factor in magnesium deficiency that ultimately affects those with FM is aluminum toxicity. Magnesium is necessary for the body to be able to block the toxic effects of aluminum. Aluminum blocks the absorption and utilization of phosphates that are necessary to the synthesis of ATP.
Aluminum, It’s Everywhere
Aluminum, a chemical element from the boron group, is the most abundant metal on the earth’s surface. It is found in virtually all food, air, soil and water and can enter the human body intravenously, by mouth and by environment. Although it is not a heavy metal, environmental exposure is frequent. People are exposed to high levels of aluminum in various ways. For instance,
· Eating foods and drinking liquids that have a high level of aluminum
· Living environment
· Workplace contaminated air
· Living near hazardous waste sites
· Vaccinations containing aluminum in their formula
How Does Aluminum Affect the Body?
Although aluminum exposure is not always harmful nor toxic, high levels of aluminum can cause serious health problems. Aluminum toxicity is likely to develop in people with diminished kidney function and older people who were exposed to high levels of aluminum from the air or have high body levels of it. Children with kidney problems tend to be very susceptible to aluminum toxicity.
Skeletal and neuromuscular problems are also possible with aluminum exposure and since it is present in food and water, most people actually do suffer with some degree of aluminum toxicity. With years of accumulated storage of aluminum in the body, it can become poisonous and have serious physical manifestations ranging from skeletal deformities to brain degeneration. Some of the known effects of aluminum toxicity include:
· Muscle aches
· Bone pain
· Digestive problems
· Speech problems
· Premature osteoporosis
· Impaired function of the immune system and kidneys
Dangers to the Nervous System
It is particularly dangerous to the nervous system and presents with the following symptoms:
· Mental confusion
· Memory loss
· Emotional instability
· Disturbed sleep
· Impaired intellect
· Loss of coordination
It is widely recognized that aluminum overload can lead to major metabolic disturbances and as a result, researchers have studied various methods of eliminating the toxins, especially from the vital organs of the body. Research has shown that adequate amounts of magnesium to prevent the toxic effects of aluminum, coupled with supplemental malic acid, a known chelator of aluminum, supports aluminum detoxification.