Supplements for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Matching Symptoms With Supplements

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Many doctors, researchers, and people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) say nutritional supplements are an important part of managing your symptoms. Many of us swear by them, and some people use supplements as an alternative to medications.

However, supplements are typically not well researched, and many health-care workers believe them to have little benefit. Some of the supplements listed below have gone through double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials and have had mixed results, while others haven't been scientifically tested, either for these conditions or at all.

So far, we have very little solid evidence that supplements do help alleviate symptoms of FMS or ME/CFS. Self-reported results are highly mixed as well, with different supplements working for different people.

Before you start a supplement regimen, be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure the supplements you chose are safe for you. Your pharmacist is a great resource for spotting possible negative interactions between supplements and your medications.

To learn more about safely getting started with supplements, and what you should expect from them, read getting started with supplements. Keep in mind that just because a product is natural, that doesn't ensure that it's safe.

Supplements for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

When considering supplements, think about what symptoms impact you most and then look for the ones that help with those specific symptoms. The following lists break commonly used supplements into categories.

Note that some supplements fall into more than one category. This may help you decide which ones to try. Be sure to read the articles about the ones you're interested in so you're well informed. (Each one is linked the first time it's mentioned.)


Immune Function

Pain & Tenderness

  • Lysine
  • Magnesium Malate
  • Omega-3 (Fish Oil)
  • Turmeric
  • Vitamin D
  • Supplements that balance neurotransmitters (listed below) may help alleviate some types of pain


Mood Problems

  • DHEA
  • Folic Acid
  • Lysine
  • Supplements that balance neurotransmitters (listed below) may help alleviate mood problems

Brain Function/Neurotransmitter Balance

  • 5-HTP
  • Carnitine
  • Folic Acid
  • Omega-3 (Fish Oil)
  • Rhodiola
  • SAM-e
  • Theanine

Learn More About Vitamins & Supplements

Not all supplements are created equal! For help choosing a quality product, read choosing high-quality vitamin supplements, by Nutrition Expert Shereen Lehman.

For information about a wide array of nutritional and herbal supplements, visit the A-Z list compiled by Cathy Wong, Expert on Alternative Medicine.​

If you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you need to be aware that many supplements use gluten as a filler and their labels may not list it as an ingredient. To learn how you can find out what's in the supplements and medications you're taking, read ​gluten-free medications, from Pediatrics Expert Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Take it slow, watch for side effects, and expect to do a lot of experimentation before figuring out which supplements are the best ones for you.