Fighting (and Losing) Against the Clock

It appears that a biological measurement of premature ageing may be linked to FM pain. I wonder if this explains why my body feels eighty instead of forty…

In a new research study, researchers examined the length of telomeres, which are specialized structures at the ends of chromosomes that deal with replication and stability of genetic material. A telomere is a repeating DNA sequence at the end of the body’s chromosomes. The easiest way to think about it is to imagine them as the aglets (plastic tips) on the ends of shoelaces that keep them from fraying.

*** The human body is an organism formed by adding many organ systems together. Those organ systems are made of individual organs. Each organ contains tissues designed for specific functions like absorption and secretion. Tissues are made of cells that have joined together to perform those special functions. Each cell is then made of smaller components called organelles, one of which is called the nucleus. The nucleus contains structures called chromosomes that are actually “packages” of all the genetic information (DNA) that is passed from parents to their children.***

Over time, as cells divide, telomeres shorten and as such are regarded as a marker of the aging process.

When comparing telomeres from women with FM to those of healthy women (sorry, men were ignored again), researchers discovered that the telomeres from the FM sufferers tended to be slightly shorter, but not to a significant degree. However, higher pain levels were associated with shorter telomere length. Further, those with higher pain and higher depression scores had the shortest telomeres, with the difference being approximately equal to six years of ageing – not quite the forty extra years I was looking for.

Additionally, shorter telomeres were linked to higher pain sensitivity and lower gray-matter volume in brain regions dealing with pain.

Researchers concluded that premature cellular ageing appears to be linked to chronic pain, which implies that chronic pain is a more serious condition than has typically been recognized – which hopefully means that more research will be conducted into chronic pain conditions like FM.

Unlike FM (oops, just a bit cynical!), there is a huge interest in slowing the aging process so a fair bit of research has gone into which nutrients help keep your telomeres long. (It is not known yet if this slows the ageing process, or whether it merely slows premature aging due to FM – but both would help us!)

Nutrients that appear to affect telomere length include:

  • Omega-3
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D3
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Omega-3, B12 and D3 are among the most commonly recommended supplements for FM.

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C if it Helps

Yesterday, I went to Mommy’s diet doctor – no, I’m not adding weight loss to my list of things to fix about myself; that can just wait! No, the reason I went to see him was that Mommy had spoken to him about my Fibro, and it seems that he suffered from Chronic Fatigue and just wanted to chat to me.

Doc and I spoke about all the things that are wrong with me (long conversation) and what I was doing to help my body fight this battle. He was impressed with how involved I am in my own recovery but had two extra suggestions: more meditation (how weird is that coming from a ‘normal’ Western doctor?) and Vitamin C therapy.

I’m not talking about the little orange flavoured tablets that we all like chewing; he was talking about Vitamin C powder. There is now solid evidence that vitamin C, one of the primary antioxidants, is essential for optimal functioning of the immune system.

It is vital to the health of white blood cells and their production of antibodies, as well as the manufacture of interferon which acts as an antiviral.

Vitamin C also reduces pain and inflammation. It is also vital to the adrenal glands which are located above the kidneys.

Thus, Vitamin C supplementation offers both immune and adrenal support which are two critical components in any program to reverse FM.

Therefore, massive doses of vitamin C are useful to both bolster the immune system and to provide an ongoing supply for free radical destruction.

So, I came home, had a quick internet investigation and discovered that recommended doses can be anywhere between 500-9,000 mg a day of vitamin C in divided doses. The Doc recommended for me to take one teaspoon (= 5,000 mg) dissolved in juice preferably (he said it tastes pretty crappy) 3 to 5 times a day. He said that if it is too much, my body will let me know.

And, supposedly, I will feel immediately better (not just the Doc’s words but also other internet comments). Anyone else tried this? I’ll let you know how it goes for me.