Dietary Effects on Pain Symptoms in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Systematic Review and Future Directions

Nutrients. 2023 Jan 31;15(3):716. doi: 10.3390/nu15030716.


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is recognized for its difficulty to diagnose and its subjective symptomatology. There is neither a known cure nor a recommended therapeutic diet to aid in the multidisciplinary treatment. We conducted a systematic review to investigate if diets can improve pain symptoms of fibromyalgia. Through the PubMed search in March 2022, 126 abstracts were identified. We included both intervention and observational studies of diets and pain symptoms among patients with FMS. After screening titles, abstracts, and full-texts, 12 studies, including 11 intervention and one observational study, were selected. These studies included 546 participants and investigated plant-based diets (n = 3), anti-inflammatory diets (n = 1), gluten-free diets (n = 2), and elimination/restrictive diets (n = 6). These studies assessed pain symptoms through visual analogue scale for pain, fibromyalgia impact questionnaire/revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire, tender point count, pain pressure threshold, and/or total myalgic score. Nine studies, including all three plant-based diet studies, reported statistically significant beneficial effects of their respective diets on pain symptom measurements. 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. Further research is warranted to clarify specific diets to recommend and explore their potential mechanisms.

Keywords: diet; fibromyalgia patients; fibromyalgia syndrome; pain symptoms.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Fibromyalgia* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Myalgia
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold

Grants and funding

This study received no external funding.