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Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue: A nutritional approach

Chronic nutrient deficiencies can lead to a myriad of symptoms, many of which may not fall into any single “category”.  Multiple symptoms have been grouped and labelled as Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Research is identifying how specific nutrients may help relieve many of the symptoms experienced.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are highly debilitating conditions with variable combinations of persistent, widespread muscular-skeletal pain, debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunction and psychological distress. The prevalence of these conditions is increasing, and it can be challenging for those experiencing these symptoms to get a clear diagnosis and effective treatment. As a result, many are seeking out Natural Medicine practitioners looking for additional support.

Research on the effectiveness of medical analgesic treatments yields inconsistent findings and, as a result, there has been an increase in antidepressant prescribing for these conditions, with accompanying side effects.

Although the pathophysiology of these conditions may not be easily or clearly defined, carnitine deficiency has been determined in many studies of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue to be an aspect of the wider clinical presentation.1,2

A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using a high grade nutrient was undertaken.1

The results showed a marked improvement in musculoskeletal pain. There was a statistically significant decline in the total myalgic score as compared to placebo over the ten-week treatment period with a similar pattern of change observed in the mean number of positive tender points.There was a significant between-treatment difference at week ten both for the absolute number of tender points and their pain intensity.1

A statistically significant improvement was also noted for depression in the visual analogue scale (VAS) score for subjective symptoms from baseline to the end of treatment. In addition, the Short Form 36 (SF 36) scores supported the findings with marked improvements in mental health scores.1

In another study aiming to assess the efficacy of certain nutrients on the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ninety participants were given a dosage of 2000mg per day for twenty-four weeks.2

At screening, then at weeks eight, sixteen, and twenty-four, patients’ complaints, cognitive performance and pain were assessed with significant improvements in both mental fatigue and attention concentration parameters for Chronic Fatigue patients.2


  1. Rossini M, Munno O Di, Valentini G, et al. Double-blind, multicenter trial comparing acetyl l-carnitine with placebo in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2007;25(2):182-188.
  2. Vermeulen RCW, Scholte HR. Exploratory Open Label, Randomized Study of Acetyl- and Propionylcarnitine in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Psychosom Med. 2004;66(2):276-282. doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000116249.60477.e9