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  Fibromyalgia can be treated by fasting and caloric restriction

In-Patient Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Controlled Nonrandomized Comparison of Conventional Medicine versus Integrative Medicine including Fasting Therapy.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:908610. doi: 10.1155/2013/908610. Epub 2013 Jan 23. Michalsen A1, Li C, Kaiser K, Lüdtke R, Meier L, Stange R, Kessler C.
Fibromyalgia poses a challenge for therapy. Recent guidelines suggest that fibromyalgia should be treated within a multidisciplinary therapy approach. No data are available that evaluated multimodal treatment strategies of Integrative Medicine (IM). We conducted a controlled, nonrandomized pilot study that compared two inpatient treatment strategies, an IM approach that included fasting therapy and a conventional rheumatology (CM) approach. IM used fasting cure and Mind-Body-Medicine as specific methods. Of 48 included consecutive patients, 28 were treated with IM, 20 with CM. Primary outcome was change in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) score after the 2-week hospital stay. Secondary outcomes included scores of pain, depression, anxiety, and well being. Assessments were repeated after 12 weeks. At 2 weeks, there were significant improvements in the FIQ (P < 0.014) and for most of secondary outcomes for the IM group compared to the CM group. The beneficial effects for the IM approach were reduced after 12 weeks and no longer statistically significant with the exception of anxiety. Findings indicate that a multimodal IM treatment with fasting therapy might be superior to CM in the short term and not inferior in the mid term. Longer-term studies are warranted to assess the clinical impact of integrative multimodal treatment in fibromyalgia.

Prolonged fasting as a method of mood enhancement in chronic pain syndromes: a review of clinical evidence and mechanisms.
Michalsen A1. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2010 Apr;14(2):80-7. doi: 10.1007/s11916-010-0104-z.
Periods of deliberate fasting with restriction to intake of solid food are practiced worldwide, mostly based on a traditional, cultural, or religious background. Recent evidence from clinical trials shows that medically supervised modified fasting (200-500 kcal nutritional intake/day) with periods from 7 to 21 days is efficacious in the treatment of rheumatic diseases and chronic pain syndromes. Here, fasting is frequently accompanied by increased alertness and mood enhancement. The beneficial claims of fasting are supported by experimental research, which has found fasting to be associated with increased brain availability of serotonin, endogenous opioids, and endocannabinoids. Fasting-induced neuroendocrine activation and mild cellular stress response with increased production of neurotrophic factors may also contribute to the mood enhancement of fasting. Fasting treatments may be useful as an adjunctive therapeutic approach in chronic pain patients. The mood-enhancing and pain-relieving effect of therapeutic fasting should be further evaluated in randomized clinical trials.

Potential Benefits of Non-Pharmacological Therapies in Fibromyalgia
Open Rheumatol J. 2008; 2: 1–6.
Published online Jan 24, 2008. doi:  10.2174/1874312900802010001
PMCID: PMC2577947
Sueiro Blanco F.,1 Estévez Schwarz I.,1 Ayán C.,*,2 Cancela JM.,2 and Martín V.3
Fibromyalgia (FM) is an incurable common syndrome of non-articular origin, and with no effective treatment by now. A great deal of research has sought to assess the efficacy of different therapies, especially non-pharmacological and low-cost ones, in the reduction of the intensity of symptoms. Despite the availability of a wide range of alternative therapies nowadays, there is little scientific evidence of the potential benefits of most of them, with results being contradictories. The purpose of this paper is to review some of the less well known alternative therapies in FM treatment, to describe the more relevant clinical studies published in this matter, and to analyze the potential effects of the main alternative therapies, in order to verify their efficacy.

Mediterranean diet or extended fasting's influence on changing the intestinal microflora, immunoglobulin A secretion and clinical outcome in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia: an observational study.
Michalsen A1, Riegert M, Lüdtke R, Bäcker M, Langhorst J, Schwickert M, Dobos GJ.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2005 Dec 22;5:22.
Alterations in the intestinal bacterial flora are believed to be contributing factors to many chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases including rheumatic diseases. While microbiological fecal culture analysis is now increasingly used, little is known about the relationship of changes in intestinal flora, dietary patterns and clinical outcome in specific diseases. To clarify the role of microbiological culture analysis we aimed to evaluate whether in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or fibromyalgia (FM) a Mediterranean diet or an 8-day fasting period are associated with changes in fecal flora and whether changes in fecal flora are associated with clinical outcome.
During a two-months-period 51 consecutive patients from an Integrative Medicine hospital department with an established diagnosis of RA (n = 16) or FM (n = 35) were included in the study. According to predefined clinical criteria and the subjects' choice the patients received a mostly vegetarian Mediterranean diet (n = 21; mean age 50.9 +/-13.3 y) or participated in an intermittent modified 8-day fasting therapy (n = 30; mean age 53.7 +/- 9.4 y). Quantitative aerob and anaerob bacterial flora, stool pH and concentrations of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) were analysed from stool samples at the beginning, at the end of the 2-week hospital stay and at a 3-months follow-up. Clinical outcome was assessed with the DAS 28 for RA patients and with a disease severity rating scale in FM patients.
We found no significant changes in the fecal bacterial counts following the two dietary interventions within and between groups, nor were significant differences found in the analysis of sIgA and stool ph. Clinical improvement at the end of the hospital stay tended to be greater in fasting vs. non-fasting patients with RA (p = 0.09). Clinical outcome was not related to alterations in the intestinal flora.
Neither Mediterranean diet nor fasting treatments affect the microbiologically assessed intestinal flora and sIgA levels in patients with RA and FM. The impact of dietary interventions on the human intestinal flora and the role of the fecal flora in rheumatic diseases have to be clarified with newer molecular analysis techniques. The potential benefit of fasting treatment in RA and FM should be further tested in randomised trials.

The short-term effects of fasting on the neuroendocrine system in patients with chronic pain syndromes.
Nutr Neurosci. 2003 Feb;6(1):11-8.
Michalsen A1, Schneider S, Rodenbeck A, Lüdtke R, Huether G, Dobos GJ.
It is commonly reported that short term fasting leads to mood enhancement and emotional harmonisation. We investigated psychosocial well-being and the neuroendocrine response, assessed by nightly urinary excretion of cortisol and catecholamines, in 28 inpatients with chronic pain syndromes during and after a one-week modified fast. Twenty-two of the patients (51.4 +/- 2.7 years, BMI 26.8 +/- 1.0 kg/m2) participated in a 7-day fast with daily intake of 300 kcal/day, six control patients (47.5 +/- 4.0 years; BMI 22.9 +/- 1.1 kg/m2) received a vegetarian-based diet. With fasting significant increases of the urinary concentration of noradrenaline (17.8 +/- 3.0-27.8 +/- 3.8 microg/ml), adrenaline (1.5 +/- 0.2-3.4 +/- 0.7 microg/ml) and cortisol (26.1 +/- 3.7-40.7 +/- 6.1 microg/ml) were observed, whereas controls showed no significant endocrine changes. The neuroendocrine response to fasting was pronounced in younger subjects (age <50 years) and in the presence of a BMI >25 kg/m2, moreover the increase in cortisol excretion was significantly higher in subjects with lower baseline cortisol levels. Mood and well-being increased non-significantly in both groups. Fasting was well tolerated, and regarded as beneficial by most fasting patients. Our results show that short-term fasting leads to neuroendocrine activation and may suggest that the extent of this response is dependent on the individual metabolic and endocrine state at baseline.

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