One of the few things that a lot of physicians/researchers agree on is that people with fibromyalgia have a bit of a problem with oxidative stress. And now we’re approaching the realm of chemistry, on which I have only a very tenuous grasp. Oxidation is essentially a chemical reaction in which molecules lose electrons to other molecules. That’s apparently a bad thing. And it’s complicated, but I’ll try:
- Cytokines (cell signaling molecules) are involved in inflammatory pain and are activated by superoxide radicals.
- There are increased malondialdehyde levels. A new favorite word. Simply, these are markers of oxidative stress (I think).
- There are decreased superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. These are antioxide defense system enzymes. In other words, they prevent oxidative stress by inactivating reactive oxygen species (which cause oxidation).
- Lowering antioxidant enzyme levels creates oxidative stress, which causes the oxidation of DNA and proteins, which causes fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Reactive oxygen species which facilitate oxidation causes mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced ATP (adenosine triphosphate, which is a molecule involved in cellular metabolism and which carries energy throughout the body. When that is disrupted, fibro symptoms appear.
All of this lends itself to say that the cause of fibromyalgia is oxidative stress. However, researchers say that it’s not clear if it’s a cause or consequence. What is clear, however, is an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants perpetuates or triggers fibromyalgia symptoms. Therefore, a diet for fibromyalgia has to include a way to achieve this balance. Again, I’m not sure that elimination is the way to do this. Enhancement of antioxidants may be the right way to go.
Two steps down – excitotoxicity and oxidative stress…