Amino Acids Levels May Be Lower in Fibromyalgia Patients

Published: July 12, 2012

A new study examined the possible relationship between plasma amino acid levels and fibromyalgia. In this study, 20 amino acids were measured in the plasma in 34 fibromyalgia patients and 18 healthy control subjects. The study showed that patients with fibromyalgia had significantly lower levels of several amino acids, including taurine, alanine, tyrosine, valine, methionine, phenylalanine, and threonine. Additionally, the sum of essential amino acids, which are amino acids required in the diet, was also significantly lower in the fibromyalgia patients. The study also showed that tyrosine competing amino acids (CAA), which are amino acids that compete for the same cerebral uptake mechanism, were lower in patients with fibromyalgia. This study suggests that there may be deficient absorption of certain amino acids from the gastrointestinal tract in patients with fibromyalgia. As tyrosine is the precursor to the synthesis of catecholamines (stress hormones), the study authors also concluded, "given the reduced tyrosine CAA ratio in fibromyalgia patients, a possible impairment of cathecolaminergic system in the fibromyalgia syndrome may be suggested."

Altered Amino Acid Homeostasis in Subjects Affected by Fibromyalgia

Clin Biochem. 2009 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]; PMID:19281806
Bazzichi L, Palego L, Giannaccini G, Rossi A, De Feo F, Giacomelli C, Betti L, Giusti L, Bombardieri S, Lucacchini A.
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56126 Pisa, Italy. PMID: 19281806



To evaluate plasma amino acids (AA) concentrations in patients affected by fibromyalgia (FM) and to study the relationships between their levels and FM clinical parameters.

Design and Methods

20 AA were assessed in 34 FM patients and in 18 healthy volunteers by means of a modified version of the Waters picotag method.


Significant lower plasma taurine, alanine, tyrosine (Tyr), valine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine concentrations and sum of essential AAs were observed in FM patients vs healthy controls (P<0.05). Tyr CAAs ratio and the sum of AAs competing with tryptophan for brain uptake resulted significantly reduced in FM (p<0.05). Significant correlation were found between FM clinical parameters and certain AAs.


Our results suggest a probable defects of gut malabsorption of certain AAs in FM patients. Moreover, given the reduced Tyr CAAs ratio in FM patients, a possible impairment of cathecolaminergic system in the FM syndrome may be suggested.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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