Relief of the array of symptoms typical in fibromyalgia can be a challenge. Medications may help, but rarely control all the symptoms.
Dietary supplements may fill this treatment gap for people dealing with pain, sleep difficulties, fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, and other issues.
Everyone experiences fibromyalgia differently, but turmeric, vitamin C, and coenzyme Q10 are supplements that have shown benefits in easing fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Turmeric. Used since ancient times, turmeric—with its active ingredient curcumin—has long been known for anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a shrub that produces an orange-colored spice used in curry powder.
In one research study of 62 people with fibromyalgia, participants took four 42 mg tablets of a purified curcumin extract called Flexofytol for six weeks. Symptoms of widespread pain, dizziness, cramps, and paresthesia (a burning, tingling, or prickly feeling) in the extremities were significantly reduced.
There was also improvement in levels of fatigue. The supplement was not significantly helpful for headache and tender point symptoms, however.1
To make sure curcumin supplements are well absorbed, the supplements should be taken with a meal that includes fats or oils.
Vitamin D. A blood test can determine whether a person's level of vitamin D is low. Vitamin D supplements are often used to improve muscle strength and reduce inflammation for people with various health conditions.
Often called the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D is crucial in forming strong bones and teeth. Sun exposure can help, and fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk are good food sources of Vitamin D.
One study found that a group of 30 people given vitamin D supplements for 20 weeks experienced significant pain relief and improved daily functioning, compared with the control group. The dosage varied with the individual's condition. The participants were all diagnosed with fibromyalgia.2
In some cases, the doctor may recommend a multivitamin that includes antioxidant vitamins A, C, D, E, and the B vitamins, as well as calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc to ease symptoms.
Coenzyme Q10. This antioxidant, used to convert food into energy, has shown some promise in treating fibromyalgia symptoms.
One small study of people who took 300 mg daily of coenzyme Q10—also called CoQ10—for 40 days showed a marked easing of fatigue, morning tiredness, and pain.3
Another research study also found an improvement in headache symptoms for women who took 300 mg of coenzyme Q10 each day.4
Meat, fish, poultry, soybean oil, and canola oil are especially good sources of coenzyme Q10.
Other Supplements to Consider
This is not a complete list of supplements. Some supplements that have been helpful in treating other conditions have not been widely studied in people with fibromyalgia, such as:
- Signs of a serious vitamin B12 deficiency are similar to fibromyalgia symptoms: muscle weakness, fatigue, sleep problems, paresthesia, anxiety, and depression.
- Cellfood is a blend of minerals, enzymes, electrolytes, dissolved oxygen, and amino acids.
- Ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, has been used to relieve muscle and joint pain in other conditions.
- Boswellia, also known as frankincense, is an anti-inflammatory that has been used to improve function and reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.5
Given the number of coexisting medical conditions typical for people with fibromyalgia, symptoms and treatments can vary considerably.
Supplements can make a major difference in a person's quality of life, but should not be taken without talking with the doctor first. The doctor can alert the patient to potential side effects or interactions that could limit the effectiveness of medications being taken.