People with fibromyalgia (FM) may suffer from the inability to absorb amino acids. Significantly low amino acid levels have been found in the blood patients with fibromyalgia.

In malabsorption, nutrients are not absorbed into the body for utilization. This results in a deficiency which is not linked to poor diet.

Overall amino acid levels in test subjects were very low, especially those of taurine, alanine, tyrosine, valine, methionine, phenylalanine, and threonine.

Scientists have also linked certain amino acids to the clinical symptoms of fibromyalgia. The lower the level of these certain amino acids, the more pain the patient reports.

FM is a disease process characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, non-restorative sleep, fatigue, headache, morning stiffness, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, paresthesias (numbness and tingling) and overall impaired functioning in both social and occupational settings.

The severity of the pain is typically more constant than other forms of pain and may come and go rapidly, move around to various parts of the body, and worsen with touch. For example, some fibromyalgia patients find their own clothing against their skin painful, particularly if it is tight clothing.

Fibromyalgia is the 2nd most common disorder seen by rheumatologists, affecting roughly 2% of the population of the United States. Middle aged women are afflicted at a higher rate, with a prevalence of 3.4% for women, and 0.5% for men.

Despite this new discovery, taking amino acid supplements may not be useful if they cannot be absorbed.

Additional research into the cause of malabsorption is necessary to ascertain the reasons for low uptake. An amino acid profile can be prescribed to determine and monitor amino acid levels.


Bazzichi L, Palego L, Giannaccini G, Rossi A, De Feo F, Giacomelli C, Betti L, Giusti L, Bombardieri S, Lucacchini A. "Altered amino acid homeostasis in subjects affected by fibromyalgia." Clin Biochem. 2009 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]

This article originally appeared in the MCS America News, April 2009 Issue.