Vitamin C and Muscle Pain
Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia use a variety of different complementary and alternative treatments. Since medications and surgery are rarely indicated, the use of safer (less toxic) alternatives has become widespread. About 1/3 to ½ of patients will report trying different treatments, such as exercise programs, prayer, chiropractic, and vitamin supplements.
Antioxidants such as certain vitamins may offer an important link to muscle pain and fibromyalgia symptoms in some patients. Long used by athletes to speed wound healing and recovery from work-outs, vitamin C has now caught the attention of researchers, who are trying to see how this vitamin works and whether it is effective as a supplement for patients with fibromyalgia.
Sometimes patients will take individual nutrients for particular symptoms or because that was what was recommended by a doctor. Other times the nutrient is part of a larger regimen including food and weight loss advice, other vitamins, minerals, and herbs. Most patients take a variety of supplements but what they take varies a lot from patient to patient.
The "Myers cocktail" is based on the work of the late John Myers, MD. Gaby has modified this and used it as an intravenous vitamin-and-mineral formula for the treatment of a wide range of clinical conditions, including fibromyalgia. It consists of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
Patients who have experienced traumas have essentially suffered tissue and cellular damage. Antioxidants are part of the repair mechanism for cell healing. Vitamin C is important for tissue repair and its concentrations are lowered in patients who have suffered a trauma.
One study of twelve fibromyalgia patients showed supplementing with vitamin C (500 mg daily) showed a 17-20% decrease in symptoms. Because Vitamin C, in particular, has little known toxic effects at high doses, a few to several grams can be recommended daily. The vitamin should be buffered to minimize stomach irritation. Bowl tolerance (loose stools) occurs when the body is saturated with the vitamin. One way to ingest buffered vitamin C is to take one gram each hour until bowl tolerance is reached. That amount would then be the maximum dose for the patient. The dose should then be spread throughout the day. Taking vitamins with foods may also aid in their absorption.
Ask your health care provider about the different vitamins you may be taking and your general diet. Getting our nutrient from whole foods is the best source for different vitamins and minerals. Supplements should really be used to supplement a diet naturally rich in antioxidants, such as one with many daily servings of vegetables and fruits.
Sources: Mayo Clin Proc2005,80(1)55; Altern Med Rev.2002,7(5)389; Neurosurgery 1984;14(2):142; Altern Med Rev 2000,5(5):455; Altern Med Rev 2001, 6(1):46