The Puzzle of Fibromyalgia

functional medicine austinTo understand what causes Fibromyalgia, we need to first look at the meaning of the word. Fibromyalgia received its name due to its connection with Fibrin. With Fibromyalgia, there is an elevation of a type of protein called fibrin, which is used to clot blood and repair damaged tissues in our body. Originally Fibromyalgia was called “fibrositis” by researcher Mohammed Yunus, due to the appearance of white fibrous tissue that appeared around muscle tissue. Current analysis of all fibrous tissue, or scar tissue, shows us that it is made of fibrin. Hence Fibromyalgia has the root word “fib” in its’ name

Fibrin’s role to protect the body
Fibrin is the main protein found in any type of scar tissue, and is elevated anytime we have injury or trauma in the body as a result of a stressor. It is normal to see high amounts of fibrin in the blood when we injure ourselves: cuts, bruises, a broken bone, athletic injury of any sort, or experience anything that can create swelling and inflammation. No matter how tiny an injury, our body instantly elevates levels of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” which then initiates an enzymatic cascade of reactions which transform the inactive form of this protein, called fibrinogen, into the active form fibrin.

Once this protein is in the active form, called fibrin, it creates a mesh-like barrier used to hold tissues together, and can be seen under a microscope. This is a healthy and normal response by the body to protect itself. When we cut or bruise ourselves, or traumatize any area of our body, we need this net-like structure to bind damaged tissues together which have become torn apart and porous, as they can no longer do the job (for example, a blood vessel with a hole in it). The inactive form of this protein, fibrinogen, stands ready for action, waiting its signal from the body via cortisol needed to transform and provide assistance.

Unintended consequences of a good thing
Anytime we have an injury, fibrin is one of the first proteins to appear on the scene used to start the clotting and repair process. In addition to binding damaged tissues together, it also slows blood circulation by “choking” the flow of blood, thereby trapping nutrients and other components needed for repair. Unfortunately, this can have unintended consequences by also trapping harmful toxins and restricting the flow of much needed oxygen to tissues, especially when a person’s body becomes overwhelmed with excess fibrin and we do not have the enzymes to remove it. Fibromyalgics lose their ability to clear the excess amounts of fibrin being produced by their body which is typically done by protein dissolving enzymes made in the body.

What is the pain of “ischemia”
When we were kids, many of us tried wrapping a rubber band around the end of our finger, and then noticing it would first turn red, then purple, and then then it started to hurt! It hurt because there was a lack of oxygen to that area. This pain, caused by a lack of oxygen, is called the pain of “ischemia”. When you have ischemic pain, or the pain caused by lack of oxygen, there’s very little relief that can be gained by using pain relievers. The only thing that can relieve this type of pain is to cut the rubber band restricting the flow of blood (oxygen) to that area, which will begin to provide relief. Similarly, this is what is occurring in the body of a Fibromyalgic. Imagine millions of tiny rubber bands wrapped around organs, glands and muscle tissue, choking the flow of oxygen to these tissues, only instead of actual rubber bands, the blood is being restricted by an overabundance of fibrin which is doing the same thing.

Why fibromyalgics have more fibrin in their blood than other people
Fibromyalgics agree that they feel worse when they’re “stressed out,” or under stress. We now understand why after the explanation above, however let’s look at additional stressors. Previously, we identified physical trauma as a source of stress, but we must also include emotional stress, as this elevates cortisol too. Feeling “stressed out” from another person or emotional event most definitely raises cortisol. Furthermore, chemical stress is one of the most commonly overlooked mechanisms of fibromyalgia which can be triggered by food allergies, poor diet, weak adrenal glands, pro-inflammatory foods such as refined sugars, and toxins such as insecticides, pesticides, toxic fumes, hydrogenated oils, and harmful chemicals (gasoline, kerosene, propylene glycol-found in commercial products), to name a few. All of these chemicals can elevate fibrin levels. Ironically, most medications elevate fibrin levels in the blood to include many of those that are anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin, or those that reduce pain. There is more ongoing research suggestive that certain Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF’s) from cell phones, satellites, etc. may contribute to higher amounts of stress in the body, creating more fibrin.

Reducing excess fibrin
The first, and most important step in providing solutions for the Fibromyalgic are to remedy their severe deficiency of fibrinolytic (fibrin dissolving) enzymes. There are some very strong fibrinolytic enzymes that break down unwanted levels of fibrin in the blood, while maintaining normal levels, without harmful side effects (1). Once excess fibrin is cleared, tissues such as muscle can begin to receive normal amounts of oxygen and Fribromyalgics begin to experience dramatic relief from tenderness, discomfort and fatigue.

There are additional factors to address in Fibromyalgia. To find out more about our complete health and wellness protocol for Fibromyalgics, please visit us at and contact us for our free 15 minute consult for new patients.

1. Certain exogenous enzyme preparations have repeatedly been shown to favorably impact normal bodily levels of fibrin, without adversely affecting other bodily functions. This information is validated from the studies from Nobel Prize finalist, and Immuno-enzymologist, Ronald K. Schneider. The degradation of fibrin by fibrinolytic enzymes has also been validated by Dr. Max Wolf MD, and further elaborated by Dr.’s Miehlke, Williams and Lopez MD’s in the book Enzymes, the Fountain of Life.

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