Polyphenol-Rich Foods Alleviate Pain and Ameliorate Quality of Life in Fibromyalgic Women

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2017 Mar;87(1-2):66-74. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000253. Epub 2016 Nov 21.


Objectives: The present study aimed to describe the antioxidant dietary intake of patients with fibromyalgia and explore the association of the results with glutathione status, pain, quality of life, and socioeconomic status.

Methods: 38 fibromyalgic female patients and 35 female controls (mean age = 48.6 ± 8.1 and 47.6 ± 10.0 years, respectively) were evaluated. The number of tender points, pain threshold, quality of life, physical activity, socioeconomic status, nutritional status, intake of antioxidant micronutrients and foods with high total antioxidant capacity, and total salivary glutathione were evaluated.

Results: The number of tender points, pain threshold, and quality of life were worse in the fibromyalgia group. The consumption of vegetable juices was more common among women with fibromyalgia and consumption of red wine and beer were more common among healthy women. The adjusted mean intakes of antioxidant vitamins as well as selenium were higher for the control group (p ≤ 0.01). There was no difference for salivary levels of glutathione between the groups and no correlation for intake of antioxidant micronutrients and pain or quality of life among fibromyalgic women. However, intake of foods rich in polyphenols was associated with lower numbers of tender points (coffee, r = - 0.346; pear, r = - 0.331) and better quality of life (red fruits, r = - 0.342; dark chocolate, r = - 0.404) in the fibromyalgic group. In these women, associations between glutathione levels and food intake, pain or quality of life were not found.

Conclusion: This study indicated that antioxidant protection from bioactive compounds present in fruit and vegetables could have an adjuvant role in fibromyalgia treatment.

Keywords: Antioxidants; Fibromyalgia; Food intake; Glutathione; Oxidative stress; Pain.