Fibromyalgia, CFS Medical News

My first reaction was “I’m back” when I started taking a dopamine enhancer (Mirapex) for my fibromyalgia. “My” fibromyalgia!  Sounds like I’m possessive OF it instead of possessed BY it. . me, I’d gladly let it go, give it up, dump it, get rid of it, send it away . . . sorry, just got on a roll . . .

Back to the point of this post:

Even if you don’t have fibro or Chronic fatigue chances are you know someone who does.  It is estimated there are 10 million people with the condition in the United States alone.

I urge you to take at least a quick look at the latest edition of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain newsletter.  There are several links to the latest in medical information in the newsletter.

In the event you aren’t wanting to click on the link here’s one of the articles that pertains to dopamine:

Dopamine in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Low Dopamine: How It Makes You Feel & How to Fix It
By Adrienne Dellwo, Guide

“Dopamine has different roles in different areas of your brain. In the thinking areas, it makes you able to focus your attention. Low levels of dopamine in this area are linked with ADD/ADHD. In the movement areas, it helps you control how your body moves. Extremely low levels here lead to Parkinson’s disease, which is characterized by tremors and problems with balance and coordination.

People with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) generally have low dopamine levels as well. Symptoms of both conditions include both cognitive effects as well as movement and balance problems.

Low Dopamine

No neurotransmitter acts alone. They all work together in a complex web of activity that scientists are really just beginning to understand. Still, experts have been able to associate different neurotransmitter imbalances with certain conditions and symptoms and find some ways to help boost or decrease activity.

Low dopamine levels are associated with the following symptoms:

Stiff, rigid, achy muscles
Tremors  (restless leg)
Impaired fine motor skills
Cognitive impairment (called brain fog or fibro fog)
Inability to focus attention
Poor balance and coordination
Strange walking pattern (gait), frequently with small steps
High levels of dopamine, on the other hand, are associated with addiction, euphoria, hyperstimulation, excessive focus, suspicion, and the inability to separate what is important from what isn’t. If you’re taking medication that increases your dopamine levels, you should let your doctor know if you have symptoms of high dopamine, which is associated with psychological side effects.

Neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs lower dopamine levels, so if you’re taking anything in this class for another condition, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about symptoms that could be related to low dopamine. Common drugs in this class include:

Clozaril (clozapine)
Haldol (haloperidol)
Risperdal (risperidone)
Seroquel (quetiapine)
Zyprexa (olanzapine)

Increasing the Availability of Dopamine

Drug treatment of low dopamine levels may include stimulant therapy with Ritalin, Concerta and Methadate (all of which contain methylphenidate).

We don’t have a lot of research confirming that food can boost dopamine levels in your brain, and even if it can, it would take prohibitively huge amounts to have the desired effect. In spite of the lack of hard evidence, some practitioners recommend:

Tea (black or green)
Apples, bananas & watermelon
Blueberry extract
Red wine
Beets, beans & legumes
Wheat germ

Supplements believed to help raise dopamine levels include:

L-Theanine (supplement form of amino acid unique to black and green tea)
Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish oil or flax seed oil
Rhodiola rosea
A note on tea & theanine: Studies show theanine increases both norepinephrine and dopamine while lowering glutamate levels, all of which can have a positive effect on those of us with FMS and ME/CFS. Research is mixed, however, on how theanine impacts serotonin levels. If you decide to try theanine, track your symptoms to see if serotonin-related symptoms get worse.

While it’s generally safe to experiment with these kinds of foods, don’t expect miracles and avoid extreme changes to your diet. Be sure to make changes slowly, and track your dietary changes and symptoms in a symptom journal to get an accurate gauge of what may be helping. You should always work with your doctor to decide what methods to try and how successful your treatments are.”

9 comments on “Fibromyalgia, CFS Medical News

  1. so ironic. I read your title and thought Cerebrospinal Fluid instead of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome….because that’s the acronym that use in my world.

    I thought what on earth is Judith posting about CSF (mine, not yours.) made me laugh.

    Hubby and I were just talking today about how acronyms that are the same mean different things…drives us crazy. Of course, he was talking about Geek stuff, and I was talking about illness stuff….like CSF, and FM (for fibromyalgia, and for Fructose malabsorption.)

    it can get so confusing.
    glad you are getting control of your Fibro.


    • Linda,
      Absolutely! Hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery have all been studied and found to be very effective with conditions like fibro and CFS.

      THe studies seem to show that using those modalities increase serotonin (feel good,anti depressant effect, inner peace) levels and decrease dopamine levels (alertness, excitation) DURING Hypnosis or Imagery. After hypnosis and imagery dopamine levels rise.

      Since you are an incredibly wonderful hypnotherapist I’m sure this makes sense to you just from your observations!


  2. This is really interesting, thanks for sharing. From the looks of things I eat a lot of foods and take the right supplements which may help increase levels, so I’ve got to be on the right track even though it really doesn’t feel like it some days. I didn’t know there was an enhancer to take… it might be worth looking into. I laughed when you brought up the point about “my” sounding possessive, I hate saying “my” too and I try to avoid it as much as possible… I don’t own fibromyalgia!!


    • Emily,
      Mirapex is a dopamine enhancer used for Parkinson’s. My doctor is very creative and was willing to give it to me and BINGO it really HELPS – doesn’t cure but it allows me to have restorative sleep.
      P.S. I read your blog every post. You do such a great job


      • Judy this is very informative…actually wanted to know after having got connected with you since last month.. and I am happy to see that you are in total control.. that must be making Max happy too…I think he could also meet Elphe and Ant.. this Sunday.. yes, let us see if it is possible..


        • Ramesh,
          I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m in total control! I function quite well but do have what is called “Fibromyalgia Flares”. A flare can be triggered by stress, illness, weather change, getting up on the “wrong side of the bed” . .. actually they don’t really know exactly what causes a flare but STRESS is a big trigger. When a flare occurs symptoms get worse – exhaustion, depression and cognitive brain processing. I have been very very fortunate in that my symptoms are not debilitating and have not had to go on disability as many have. It has been quite a journey though!


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