Can Diet Really Help ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia Patients’ Symptoms?

I recently wrote a post where I talked about how I have been having an improvement in symptoms and have been having more energy since changing my diet and one of my online friends commented that she had cut out a lot of the things that I have cut out of my diet but she didn’t feel any improvement.  Her comment has me thinking…why do so many of us have the same illness, the same symptoms, yet everything we do affects us each differently?  We are always told to eat healthy, exercise, take vitamins and we will be healthy, but how many of us have done all of those things over the years and are still sick?  Can eating properly REALLY help our symptoms?  I know I started seeing an improvement just a few short days after I started my new diet.  Now I can’t say that I’m going to continue to feel better because I have been down this road before.  Once my body gets used to the diet I may start feeling bad again – it’s happened before.  But I’m always hopeful.  I also am not crazy enough to think that I’m going to be cured just from changing my diet. 

But I know that I can’t go wrong by continuing to eat healthy and by changing my lifestyle.  Eating right does have health benefits and it can give the immune system a boost and gives the body more energy, which we all could use more of! 

If you want to see if there are foods that you are eating that may be making your CFS and Fibromyalgia symptoms worse, you can try an elimination diet.  I posted Dr. Paul Cheney’s CFS Elimination Diet back in 2007.   Dr. Cheney says that over half of all of the CFS patients that he studied had food sensitivities.  He believes that the best way to find out what foods a CFS patient is allergic/sensitive to is to do an elimination diet.

You can click on the link in the paragraph above that details the elimination diet, what the diet is limited to, and how you will reintroduce foods back into your diet.  That is how you find out what you are sensitive to.  I have found out from doing my own experimenting that I haves sensitivities to sugar, yeast, and processed foods.   The diet is very restricted: 

  • limited to unrefined/whole fresh foods
  • no food additives, colorings, or artificial sugars
  • gluten free, casein free, and lactose free
  • very low in salicylates
  • very low in yeast
  • hypoallergenic
  • very low in dietary glutamates
  • very low in dietary biogenic amines
  • very low in dietary solanines
  • no caffeine and no alcohol

Please read the entire CFS Elimination Diet post if you would like to try it and notice any results.  It will be hard, and it won’t be fun…but it may be worth it if you feel better.

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with the diet approach. My family did the full elimination diet, and I found that salicylates make my fibromyalgia much worse. (Changing diet also helped my sons’ ADHD.) When you’re feeling awful, it takes a lot to psyche yourself up to do the diet, get advice from a dietitian – but it really is worth it. I’ve also found that regular chiro treatment is helping.

  2. Hi Sandy, you have a great post here! I personally have tried the elimination diet for 30 days and seen great results. I found that I’m sensitive to wheat, dairy, and peanuts. I do not have fibromyalgia but I was able to lose stubborn areas of fat in my body and feel a lot better because I have less bloating and gas :) I used to think that bloating, gas, constipation, etc. are just a regular part of our lives. After my elimination diet experience, I beg to differ.

    Thanks to people like you who are spreading the word on this.


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