Have you been told to go on a Low-FODMAP diet?

Removing FODMAPs frequently comes up as a suggested dietary change for fibromyalgia. A Low-FODMAP diet reduces certain kinds of carbohydrates that are hard for some people to digest. The Low-FODMAP diet was developed at the Monash University in Australia. It is often prescribed as an elimination style of diet to identify food triggers in gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS). Since IBS and digestive dysfunction is frequently seen in fibromyalgia patients, we will often hear that many healthcare professionals prescribe the Low-FODMAP diet for patients living with fibromyalgia.

When FODMAPs aren’t being digested, bacteria in the digestive tract start to feed on them. These bacteria then produce byproducts and waste that can lead to symptoms such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. This can also lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine which can contribute to several other health problems. The goal with this dietary protocol is to temporarily restrict these carbohydrates in order to relieve uncomfortable symptoms and give your digestive system a rest. FODMAP is an acronym for a class of carbohydrates, called fermentable short-chain carbohydrates. The full acronym stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.

Monash FODMAP chart
Monash University FODMAP definition chart

There was a research study published that continues to be referenced on how a Low-FODMAP diet can be helpful for fibromyalgia. This study was published in 2016 through the Scandinavian Journal of Pain – A low fermentable oligo-di-mono saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet reduced pain and improved daily life in fibromyalgia patients. Implementation of the diet therapy involving FODMAP restriction in the cohort of fibromyalgia patients, resulted in a significant reduction in GI disorders and fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain scores. A total of 38 female patients, diagnosed with fibromyalgia based on ACR (American College of Rheumatology) 2010 criteria were part of this study. Results needed to be extended in future larger studies on this particular dietary treatment of fibromyalgia.

Additional Resources

Find Low-FODMAP Recipes from the Monash University. They have additional resources and research.

Download the Low-FODMAP Guide from the Institute of Functional Medicine.

The Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine has Low-FODMAP Diet Guides and other nutritional guides.

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