A scientific review has found that some plant-based foods and diets may help people suffering from fibromyalgia.
The research, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nutrients, found that diets high in vegan foods appeared to more consistently help with symptoms compared to elimination or restriction diets.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term disease that can cause pain all over the body. Sufferers may also have increased sensitivity to pain, as well as muscle stiffness, fatigue, and headaches.
The researchers decided to conduct the study as there is currently very little understanding on the link between diet and the condition.
“Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is recognized for its difficulty to diagnose and its subjective symptomatology,” researchers wrote. “There is neither a known cure nor a recommended therapeutic diet to aid in the multidisciplinary treatment.”
The researchers analyzed 12 studies, which looked at 546 people in total. They studied a number of diets, including plant-based, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, and elimination/restrictive.
Within these, they looked at a number of different types of plant-rich diets. These were vegetarian, raw vegetarian, and raw vegan.
The researchers found that people on plant-based diets tended to experience less significant symptoms than those on restrictive or elimination diets. Researchers said there could be a link between weight loss and pain for those following veggie and vegan diets. Those who ate plant-based tended to weigh less than people on other diets.
Researchers noted that further research is required to explore the link between diet and fibromyalgia.
“Given the small sample size and short intervention duration of the included studies, limited evidence currently exists to recommend any specific diet to patients with FMS,” the study reads. “Further research is warranted to clarify specific diets to recommend and explore their potential mechanisms.”