Wellness Wisdom Video Extra: The Connection Between Fibromyalgia and Gut Health
07/21/2021 | Season 3, Episode 78
In this week’s Be HEALTHistic Video Extra, Dr. Drew Sinatra discusses a little-known correlation — the connection between fibromyalgia and gut health. From the latest statistics on fibromyalgia and how it’s diagnosed, to the simple breath test that detects gut issues like SIBO, to the breakthrough studies linking these conditions together, Dr. Drew shares information that can help improve your symptoms in this informative Wellness Wisdom video segment.
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Visit the Healthy Directions website for more health and wellness content and information!
- Check out the Healthy Directions Articles Archive, where you can search for specific, health-related content from all of our Healthy Directions doctors and experts.
- Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that’s difficult to diagnose and treat; find out more from Healthy Directions experts on what fibromyalgia is and how to treat it, and fibromyalgia and the gut microbiome — is it the secret to relief?
- Dr. Drew mentioned SIBO, a type of gut dysbiosis; check out this article about how to relieve SIBO symptoms with a low FODMAP diet, as well as this video on how to treat small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
- Having a healthy gut can support your body’s other organ systems and your immunity; read this article from Dr. Drew with 3 powerful nutrients that support your gut and immune system.
- Dr. Drew talked about the connection between fibromyalgia and gut health; watch this Microbiome 101 video explaining more gut connections in the body.
- Dr. Drew has discussed SIBO and gut dysbiosis on the podcast before; if you missed it the first time or want to watch it again, listen to Episode 64: Understanding Gut Dysbiosis with Dr. Adam Rinde.
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Dr. Drew Sinatra: Hey folks, Dr. Drew Sinatra here. For our Wellness Wisdom segment, I'm going to be discussing the connection between fibromyalgia and gut health.
And as a quick refresher, fibromyalgia is a condition that affects many people. In fact, they think it affects between 2 and 4% of the American population. It's a very debilitating condition where people suffer from fatigue, they suffer from widespread chronic pain in their body, whether that's in their joints or their muscles. They can experience sleep problems like insomnia, mood issues like depression, and brain fog can be really bad for these people. And the quality of life of those with fibromyalgia can be quite poor.
Now, there's no test for it. Meaning there's no blood test that you can do, or any imaging that you can do that will diagnose you with fibromyalgia. So it's really a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning you look at other conditions, rule those out — and if you have a lot of the symptoms that I just mentioned, you may get diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Now, the question is, is there a connection with the gut? What do we know? Well, Dr. Pimentel, who is one of my favorite researchers out there, he does a lot of research into SIBO — he did a study where he looked at three groups of people. One, a control group, with people with generally speaking, no gastrointestinal issues. He looked at an IBS group, those that are experiencing typical IBS symptoms — gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal discomfort. And then he looked at patients with fibromyalgia. And what he did was he ran a SIBO breath test on them, a lactulose breath test, which can help diagnose you with SIBO, and what he found was remarkable.
Now, there was a positive SIBO test result in the control group, 20%. There was a 84% positive SIBO breath test in the IBS group — and get this, in the fibromyalgia group, 100% had a positive lactulose breath test, which means they were diagnosed with SIBO. So this study clearly shows that those with fibromyalgia can have dysbiosis of the intestine, also known as SIBO, one particular condition of that. And even though they may not report a lot of GI symptoms, they still can have that condition.
Now, there was another study that came out of Montreal, Canada, where they looked at the gut microbiome of people with fibromyalgia, and they found 19 different bacterial species that are either high or low in this population. Now this is really a correlation study, right? We're not looking at causation here, whether fibromyalgia leads to those increases or decreases in the bacteria. Or vice versa, those levels, either they're high or low, lead to development of fibromyalgia. But we do know that there is a correlation there, so we do find that there is an imbalance in the gut flora in those with fibromyalgia.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So I hope this can help a lot of you who have fibromyalgia. Perhaps you should look into your gut health and look to see if there's any way that you can correct it, as it may improve your symptoms of fibromyalgia. All right, hope you learned a lot here. I'll talk to you soon.
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Meet Dr. Drew Sinatra
Dr. Drew Sinatra is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness, and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His vibrant practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.