If you or someone you know has fibromyalgia, you are familiar with the painful and potentially debilitating nature of this disease. Fibromyalgia can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, making it crucial to explore various ways for managing symptoms. Have you considered drinking more matcha for fibromyalgia to help alleviate pain and fatigue?
Have you considered the benefits of drinking matcha for fibromyalgia? Is green tea good for fibromyalgia?
Although there is currently no cure for fibro, there are well-studied ways to successfully manage the disorder, minimize flare-ups and hopefully provide relief for those who suffer from it.
Matcha, a vibrant green powdered tea, has gained popularity for its numerous health benefits and is quickly gaining popularity around its potential to benefit those living with fibromyalgia.
In the following article, we delve into the natural approaches to manage fibromyalgia and how matcha tea makes for the perfect pairing to boost these holistic approaches.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects the musculoskeletal system, causing widespread pain and fatigue as well as problems with sleep, memory, mood, and emotional and mental distress. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, but approximately 4 million Americans, or 2% of the adult population, are affected by this condition. While much is still not understood about fibromyalgia, it is believed that individuals with fibromyalgia have a heightened sensitivity to pain, meaning that they experience pain in situations where others wouldn't. It is thought that this illness is caused by changes in neural pathways that are involved in pain transmission and reception, although the specific cause is, as of yet, still unknown.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
- Chronic and widespread pain
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Sleep problems
- Muscle and joint stiffness
- Numbness or tingling
- Difficulty concentrating ("foggy" brain)
- Heightened sensitivity to light, noise, smells, and temperature
- Digestive complaints
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed through laboratory tests, x-rays, and by taking a comprehensive patient history. Standard treatment for fibromyalgia includes antidepressants, pain relievers, and antiseizure drugs. While these medications can provide some relief, many patients often experience unwelcome side effects and feel that these medications do not fully address the full scope of the disease.
Holistic approaches to fighting fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue bolstered by matcha tea
As a result, natural treatments for fibromyalgia have become increasingly popular and are often recommended by the medical community. Some common natural approaches to managing fibro include stress management techniques (such as yoga and meditation), exercise, bodywork (like massage, float tanks, and red-light therapy), acupuncture, dietary changes and appropriate supplementation. These lifestyle changes and techniques may be able to offer significant benefits with minimal side effects.
What teas are good for fibromyalgia? The science behind matcha green tea for fibromyalgia
Scientific research on fibromyalgia is limited as is research surrounding the potential impact of matcha for targeting fibromyalgia symptoms. However, we do know that Matcha has a high content of antioxidants, particularly catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). We also know antioxidants have been well studied to help neutralize free radicals therefore controlling oxidative stress in fibromyalgia sufferers.
Oxidative stress is linked to a number of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and possibly fibromyalgia as well. By consuming matcha, studies have found that individuals with fibro may introduce a potent source of antioxidants to their diet that they otherwise wouldn’t be getting. This uptake in antioxidants can potentially reduce oxidative stress and related symptoms.
Matcha also contains L-theanine, which is known as the “calming amino acid”. As its nickname suggests, it promotes relaxation and calmness and can help to fight anxiety and stress. Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by a heightened feeling of stress and/or anxiety, which can in turn worsen symptoms. Incorporating matcha into a daily routine can soothe individuals and deliver a sense of calmness, which can potentially alleviate symptoms associated with stress and fibro.
In addition to its many well-studied nutritional benefits, making a cup of matcha is ritualistic and ceremonial in nature. Many describe it as a meditative process. The ritual of a daily cup of matcha paired with meditation can go a long way towards reducing stress and calming the nervous system.
Matcha can be part of a balanced diet to help combat fibromyalgia
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is crucial for managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Dietary recommendations for fibro patients typically include a focus on whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet may also be especially helpful for reducing flare-ups. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish, chia seeds, walnuts, and algae have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Eating foods rich in magnesium like dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, avocados, and bananas can also aid in muscle relaxation and provide some pain relief. Matcha also makes for a wonderful addition to anti-inflammatory diet.
Matcha is rich in nutrients and contains a remarkable number of antioxidants, around 10 times more than regular green tea. Antioxidants play a crucial role in controlling free radicals and neutralizing oxidative stress in the body. Studies also suggest that matcha tea can promote liver health, enhance brain function, and potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers due to its high content of catechins (particularly EGCG). While all of these benefits are valuable, it is the high concentration of antioxidants in matcha that is particularly important for individuals with fibromyalgia. Recent research indicates that individuals with fibromyalgia may be deficient in antioxidants, and when this deficiency occurs, fibromyalgia symptoms tend to last longer and be more intense.
Stress Management with the daily ritual of drinking matcha
While fibromyalgia, as of yet, remains an incurable disease, symptom improvement and minimizing flare-ups are possible. Managing the added stress that fibromyalgia patients experience is of the utmost importance as recent research suggests that increased stress can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms. A 2016 study also found that 63% of participants identified stress as a primary trigger for flare-ups. This just goes to show that stress and fibromyalgia are cyclical in nature.
Practices like breathwork, gentle yoga, meditation and mindfulness routines can help minimize flare-ups and improve overall mental health, though one of our favorite mindfulness practices is the simple act of making a cup of daily matcha.
The time, love and attention that goes into sifting, whisking, frothing and sipping can be healing in itself. It forces you to slow down and is a ceremonial experience that promotes mindfulness, tranquility, and self-care.
Whisking matcha requires focus and concentration, providing a moment of inner calm away from daily burdens. As you sip matcha, its blend of amino acids, antioxidants, and caffeine gently stimulates the mind and body, promoting a state of alert relaxation. The presence of L-theanine enhances alpha brain waves, inducing mental clarity and reducing stress levels.
And there’s no doubt the act of savoring matcha, appreciating its vibrant color, delicate aroma, and earthy flavor, amplifies this soothing and stress-relieving effect. Daily matcha drinkers find that making matcha becomes a therapeutic practice, offering respite from the chaos of modern life and fostering mindful connection to the present moment.
Get more out of exercise and physical activity pairing it with matcha
Despite the challenges, remaining active and consistent with exercise and daily movement is one of the best ways to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. While it may seem counterintuitive to engage in physical activity while in pain, exercise offers several benefits for those with fibromyalgia and can be a vital component of any comprehensive treatment plan. Exercise releases endorphins, which help reduce pain in the body. Low-impact exercise also strengthens muscles and increases mobility, which can reduce stiffness.
Additionally, exercise can improve energy levels, mood, mental well-being, sleep quality, and overall health, all of which can be challenging for people with suffering from fibro. Low-impact exercises such as walking, yoga, biking, and swimming are wonderful options to consider.
While we know that exercise is important, low energy levels can make it difficult to engage in regular physical activity. Matcha contains a moderate amount of caffeine and can be a helpful pre-workout beverage, increasing caloric burn and boosting your energy. It also makes for a great post-workout recovery drink.
L-theanine also provides a calmer, more sustained energy, without the jitters often associated with other caffeinated drinks. Studies also show that matcha may be able to help alleviate post-workout soreness and that EGCG can help support the body against muscle breakdown post-workout.
Better sleep for fibromyalgia with matcha tea
Unfortunately, sleep can often be hard for individuals with fibromyalgia, and daytime fatigue is a common complaint. Lack of sleep is also believed to worsen pain and inadequate sleep may lower a person's pain threshold even further. In fact, poor sleep can induce fibromyalgia-like symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals.
To improve sleep quality, some recommendations include daily exercise, maintain a dark, quiet, and cool bedroom, be mindful of caffeine consumption, particularly in the afternoon and evening, and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Matcha can absolutely be enjoyed as part of a better sleep health routine. Matcha's l-theanine content also works to promote relaxation, reduces anxiety, and creates a sense of calmness. Compared to black tea or coffee, matcha contains significantly less caffeine, allowing those sensitive to caffeine to enjoy a cup in the morning or afternoon without it affecting their sleep. The combination of caffeine and l-theanine also provides a balanced energy without excessive stimulation. In addition, matcha tea stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters associated with mood and relaxation.
By encouraging the release of these hormones, drinking matcha during the day can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm before bedtime. However, it is important to consume matcha in moderation and be mindful of the time that you enjoy.
A little more about matcha powder
What is matcha powder? Matcha powder is made from finely ground green tea leaves that have been shade grown the last few weeks before harvest. Originating from Japan, matcha has been consumed for centuries and is known for its vibrant color, robust flavor, and incredible health benefits. Matcha has a unique taste, often explained as having an earthy, sweet, and nutty taste. It is also often described as having a pleasant umami flavor.
Umami is considered the 5th taste (alongside salty, sweet, sour, and bitter) and translates directly to “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese. While matcha is a made from green tea leaves, the unique way it’s grown and produced sets it apart. Because it is shaded from direct sunlight the last few weeks, it has higher levels of chlorophyll, antioxidant and amino acids in the leaves. This careful preparation is what gives matcha it’s distinct taste and nutrient profile.
The bottom line
While matcha may be beneficial for those with fibromyalgia, it is essential to also adopt a holistic approach when managing flare-ups. Lifestyle modifications such as diet, stress management, exercise, and sleep hygiene are vital and can complement the potential benefits of matcha as well.
Matcha tea, with its rich nutritional profile and abundant antioxidants, shows promise in providing relief for individuals with fibromyalgia. While further research is needed, integrating matcha into a treatment plan that includes dietary adjustments, stress management, exercise, and an improved sleep routine can contribute to symptom relief.
However, personalized strategies and consultation with healthcare professionals are essential. By exploring natural remedies like matcha and adopting a comprehensive approach, individuals with fibromyalgia can work toward better symptom management and an improved quality of life.
Disclaimer: These statements in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes
Ann Vincent, MD and others, Fibromyalgia Flares: A Qualitative Analysis, Pain Medicine, Volume 17, Issue 3, March 2016, Pages 463–468, https://doi.org/10.1111/pme.12676
Choy EH. The role of sleep in pain and fibromyalgia. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2015 Sep;11(9):513-20. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2015.56. Epub 2015 Apr 28. PMID: 25907704.
Fernández-Araque A, Verde Z, Torres-Ortega C, Sainz-Gil M, Velasco-Gonzalez V, González-Bernal JJ, Mielgo-Ayuso J. Effects of Antioxidants on Pain Perception in Patients with Fibromyalgia-A Systematic Review. J Clin Med. 2022 Apr 27;11(9):2462. doi: 10.3390/jcm11092462. PMID: 35566585; PMCID: PMC9099826.
Galvez-Sánchez CM, Duschek S, Reyes Del Paso GA. Psychological impact of fibromyalgia: current perspectives. Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2019 Feb 13;12:117-127. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S178240. PMID: 30858740; PMCID: PMC6386210.
Geir Bjørklund, Maryam Dadar, Salvatore Chirumbolo, Jan Aaseth, Fibromyalgia and nutrition: Therapeutic possibilities?,Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy,
Volume 103, 2018, Pages 531-538, ISSN 0753-3322, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2018.04.056.
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Fibromyalgia: Exercise, relaxation and stress management. 2018 Mar 8. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK492990/
Meador BM, Mirza KA, Tian M, Skelding MB, Reaves LA, Edens NK, Tisdale MJ, Pereira SL. The Green Tea Polyphenol Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCg) Attenuates Skeletal Muscle Atrophy in a Rat Model of Sarcopenia. J Frailty Aging. 2015;4(4):209-15. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2015.58. PMID: 27031020.