A program consisting of a phytonutrient-rich medical food and an elimination diet ameliorated fibromyalgia symptoms and promoted toxic-element detoxification in a pilot trial

Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;17(2):36-44.


Background: An effective treatment for fibromyalgia (FM) has yet to become available.

Objective: To assess the efficacy ofa lifestyle program consisting of a modified elimination diet and a supplemental medical food on clinical symptoms of FM assessed by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), FibroQuest Symptoms Survey (FibroQuest), Medical Symptoms Questionnaire (MSQ), metallothionein mRNA expression, and urinary toxic element excretion.

Methods: Eight women (aged 48-74 years) were enrolled in an 8-week pilot trial employing a sequential design. During the initial 4-week Program A (control), participants consumed a modified US Department of Agriculture food pyramid diet and a rice protein powder supplement that provided basic macronutrient support. During the second 4-week Program B (intervention), participants consumed a modified elimination diet and a phytonutrient-rich medical food.

Results: Compared to baseline, both programs showed trends toward lower mean FIQ total score, MSQ total score, and FibroQuest total score, FIQ stiffness score, and FibroQuest headaches score. Compared to Program A, Program B resulted in a significant decrease (P< .05) in the FIQpain score and stiffness score. Participants also had better pain tolerance at five tender points during Program B than during Program A. Higher metallothionein mRNA expression was observed during Program B. An increase in creatinine-adjusted mercury excretion and suggestive increase in creatinine-adjusted arsenic excretion were noted when Program B was compared to baseline. Urinary mercury/arsenic concentrations were inversely associated with FIQand FibroQuest scores.

Conclusions: Program B was shown to be a safe and efficacious botanically derived medical food treatment program for the amelioration of FM symptoms.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care / methods
  • Diet / methods*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / complications
  • Fibromyalgia / diet therapy*
  • Fibromyalgia / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Micronutrients
  • Plant Extracts