Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common, chronic musculoskeletal disorder of unknown aetiology. While available therapy is often disappointing, most patients can be helped with a combination of medication, exercise and maintenance of a regular sleep schedule. The objective of the present study was to determine if adding nutritional supplements derived from the unicellular green alga, Chlorella pyrenoidosa, produced any improvements in the clinical and functional status in patients with moderately severe symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome. Eligible patients had 2+ palpable tenderness at 11 or more of 18 defined tender points and had a tender point index (TPI) of at least 22. Each day for 2 months, participants consumed two commercially available Chlorella-based products, 10 g of 'Sun Chlorella' tablets and 100 mL of liquid 'Wakasa Gold'. Any amelioration of symptoms was validated and quantified using semi-objective and subjective outcome measures systematically administered at clinic visits on days 0, 30 and 60 of the diet therapy. Eighteen of the 20 patients enrolled completed the 2 month trial. The average TPI for the group which at onset was 32, decreased to a mean of 25 after 2 months. This decrease was statistically significant (p = 0.01), representing a 22% decrease in pain intensity. Blood samples taken on each occasion indicated no significant alterations in serum chemistries, formed elements, and circulating lymphocyte subsets. Compilations of the results of patient interviews and self-assessment questionnaires revealed that seven patients felt that the dietary supplement had improved their fibromyalgia symptoms, while six thought they had experienced no change, and five believed the symptoms had worsened over the time of the trial. The results of this pilot study suggest that dietary Chlorella supplementation may help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia in some patients and that a larger, more comprehensive double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in these patients is warranted.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.