In the study, researchers examined the length of telomeres, which are specialized structures at the ends of chromosomes that deal with replication and stability of genetic material. Telomeres shorten over time and thus are regarded as a marker of the aging process.
When comparing telomeres from women with fibromyalgia to those of healthy women, researchers discovered that the fibromyalgia telomeres tended to be slightly shorter, but not to a significant degree. However, they said high pain levels were associated with shorter telomere length. Those with high pain and high depression scores had the shortest ones, with the difference being approximately equal to six years of aging.
Additionally, shorter telomeres were linked to higher pain sensitivity and lower gray-matter volume in brain regions dealing with pain.
Researchers concluded that premature cellular aging appears to be linked to chronic pain, which implies that chronic pain is a more serious condition than has typically been recognized.
What Can We Do About It?
Because of the high interest in slowing the aging process, a fair bit of research has gone into which nutrients help keep your telomeres long. (We don't yet know for certain if this slows the aging process, or whether it would slow premature aging due to illness.)
Nutrients that appear to affect telomere length include:
Omega-3, B12 and D3 are among the most commonly recommended supplements for fibromyalgia.