Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia: D-Ribose The Most Promising Natural Remedy

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition many people struggle to come to terms with. Since there are no specific diagnostic tests, it remains a largely intangible and misunderstood illness. Many sufferers find it hard to explain their condition to family and friends. Responses ‘it’s just in your head’ are common and make things even harder for CFS patients whose tiredness and mental and physical pain is a real experience. Many doctors are not aware of D-Ribose which is a natural body energizer that can be used to jump start and sustain energy production in CFS & Fibromyalgia.

In this article I am going to present you the exciting findings related to D-Ribose and how it can be used to treat CFS & Fibromyalgia. This article is based on the research work of Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum.

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum is a clinical expert on chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia (a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues). He has dedicated over 30 years of his professional life to studying these conditions. Dr. Teitelbaum believes he now has some scientifically backed answers that can help explain and treat CFS.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – The Main Symptoms

As I mentioned earlier, there are no tests for CFS. The diagnosis is usually made after eliminating all other possible causes for fatigue (which is also one of the 13 signs of a thyroid disorder).

The main symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness that makes people unable to perform even simple, everyday tasks. Other symptoms may include:

  • Problems sleeping; waking up after a night’s sleep and feeling exhausted and unable to get up.
  • Brain fog and inability to think clearly, concentrate and memorize things.
  • Headaches, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, tender glands in your armpits and neck.
  • Symptoms can flare up after a physical or mental activity.

Depression is also a common occurrence, and can be brought on by the unexplained symptoms, fatigue and social rejection. Feeling depressed makes the symptoms even worse, closing the vicious cycle and isolating the person further.

Many doctors and GPs have little knowledge of CFS and might not be up to date with current research efforts. The symptoms are often treated in an isolated way, while the core of the problem remains unaddressed.

In his book, From Fatigue to Fantastic, Jack Teitelbaum looks into some of the eluding questions of CFS. Here is a short summary of his findings.

Chronic Fatigue – The Reason For This Problem

Most likely, the problem lies in insufficient energy production.

Imagine an athlete who had an intense couple of days of very strenuous training. Before his body is ready for extreme physical activity again, he will need to rest a bit.

In CFS, this much needed recuperation doesn’t happen. Cells and tissues perpetually don’t get enough energy, so they can’t function properly. It is a bit like trying to run a marathon day after day. The body can’t do it; it has exhausted its energy reserves and no new fuel is coming in.

Each cell has a tiny structure that acts like a furnace, producing energy that the body can use. This structure is called mitochondria. When there is a malfunction in the way mitochondria works, this can result in energy depletion. Most CFS symptoms can be explained by this mitochondrial failure:

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction lowers the levels of brain neurotransmitters (dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin), which makes thinking processes harder and causes the dreaded brain fog.
  • Low energy production and lactic acid accumulation make recovery after exercise harder and result in muscle fatigue.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction also influences digestion, immune system function and heart function.

These are just a few examples that show mitochondrial dysfunction might be at the root of it all and needs to be tackled if you want to recover.

How To Improve Energy Production

The logical question that follows this explanation for CFS is:

How can we improve mitochondrial function and boost energy production?

There are natural treatments that can improve the function of our cellular energy furnaces. D-ribose seems to be the key in energy production and is receiving more and more scientific attention.

D-Ribose – The role of a simple sugar in CFS

D-ribose is a five carbon sugar, naturally found in our bodies. It is unlike any other sugar and works like kindling for our precious internal furnaces. It is the key building block of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the main energy molecule in the body. You need ribose to make ATP and keep the fire going.

In normal circumstances, healthy heart and muscles can make enough ribose to meet their needs. But sometimes tissues can get over-exhausted and the vital production starts legging behind. This can result in persistent pain, fatigue and stiffness that just don’t want to go away.

D-ribose as a supplement

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum started using this knowledge to help his CFS and fibromyalgia patients. He also performed scientific studies to link ribose, fatigue and energy production.

Dr. Teitelbaum developed a treatment protocol that proved to be efficient. His patients take 5 grams (5000 milligrams) of D-ribose, 3 times a day, for 3 weeks. After that, the dose can be reduced to twice a day. He recommends using the Corvalen form of ribose as it is the least expensive and of highest quality. It’s also conveniently packaged with a 5 gm dosing scoop in it.

Ribose is now available over the counter and many health shops stock it.

Ribose and CFS – The Research

A study done by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and his team included 41 patients with a diagnosis of CFS or fibromyalgia. The patients were given a 280 g container of D-ribose. Each patient was instructed to take one scoop (5 g) of D-ribose 3 times per day mixed with food, water or another beverage until the container was empty.

The patients were assessed pre and post ribose administration. 66% of patients experienced significant improvement while on D-ribose. There was a 45% improvement in energy levels, and 30% improvement in general health and well being. Dr. Teitelbaum points out that usually an improvement of 10% for a single nutrient is seen as excellent, so D-ribose’s potential might be truly remarkable.

Other studies that looked into the use of D-ribose were performed, both on animals and humans, and came to a similar conclusion. An exciting case study was published in the journal Pharmacotherapy in 2004 and described a case of a veterinary surgeon who was able to fully recover from fibromyalgia when taking ribose.

These new findings bring some practical solutions for CFS patients and might help them understand their illness better, as well as restore their lives.

I wrote other articles on how to beat fatigue and you can use the advice in the following articles in conjunction with the consumption of D-Ribose:
6 Reasons You’re Tired All The Time & How To Beat Fatigue
Best 8 Secrets for Endless Energy

Resources:
http://www.endfatigue.com/tools-support/d-ribose.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17109576
http://www.webmd.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/chronic-
fatigue-syndrome-topic-overview
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