A new study suggests that eating a diet rich in plant-based food may help ease some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness. 

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness, and that affects millions of people worldwide, but its causes and treatments are still unknown. The research, published in MDPI under the title “Dietary Effects on Pain Symptoms in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Systematic Review and Future Directions,” was authored by a team of scientists from University institutions in Oregon and Kansas, who reviewed 12 studies that examined the effects of different types of diets on fibromyalgia symptoms. 

The study included a total of 546 participants, mostly women, who followed diets such as plant-based, anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, and elimination/restrictive diets. The researchers analysed the results of the studies and compared the changes in pain measurements among the participants. They found that plant-based diets and anti-inflammatory diets showed the most consistent and significant improvement in pain measurements, while gluten-free and elimination/restrictive diets had inconsistent and inconclusive results. 

The authors stated the following: “Overall, it is encouraging that the majority of the studies included in this review reported a pain improvement in at least one of the measurements. Although we were able to cover a variety of diet types, specific diet types that are effective to alleviate pain symptoms among patients with FMS are not clear. In our systematic review, plant-based diets reported the most consistent results, and the only anti-inflammatory diet study also reported significant pain improvement.”

Plant-based diets and anti-inflammatory diets share some common features, such as low consumption of red meats, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits, oils and nuts, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and to provide essential nutrients for good health. 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.