The Story of D-Ribose

In the Fall of 2010, my supply of D-Ribose lapsed for a few days. I’d been taking it every day since July 2008 and was surprised to see how much I deteriorated without it. My mental stamina tanked, I began to feel increasingly disoriented, and my body was hurting and stiffening, more and more. I’d forgotten how bad, bad used to be!

Then I remembered what I had read about D-Ribose and realized I needed to ask for help. A very kind friend drove to Whole Foods and got me an expensive jar of the white powder to tide me over until my online order arrived. Here’s the story, extracted from an article by Dr. Teitelbaum, that led to my trying D-Ribose in the first place. It may seem a little technical at first but it gets really good.

D-Ribose – A Very Powerful and Natural Body Energizer

by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.

In looking at energy production, it helps to look at the “energy molecules” such as ATP, NADH, and FADH. These represent the energy currency in your body, and are like the paper that money is printed on. You can have all the fuel you want, but if it cannot be converted to these molecules, it is useless!

For years, I talked about the importance of B vitamins, which are a key component of these molecules. These helped to a degree, but it was clear that a key component was missing. In looking at the biochemistry of these energy molecules, they are also made of 2 other key components—adenine and Ribose. Adenine is plentiful in the body and supplementing with adenine did not help CFS. We then turned our attention to Ribose. Ribose is made in your body in a slow, laborious process and cannot be found in food. We knew that CFS/FMS causes your body to dump other key energy molecules like Acetyl-L-Carnitine. We then found that the body did the same with Ribose, making it hard to get your furnaces working again even after the other problems were treated.

This was like one of those “Eureka!” moments where things came together. Not having Ribose would be like trying to build a fire without kindling – nothing would happen. We wondered if giving Ribose to people with CFS would jump-start their energy furnaces. The answer was a resounding yes!

D-Ribose (which is what I am referring to when I say Ribose) is a simple, five-carbon sugar (known as a pentose by biochemists) that is found naturally in our bodies. But Ribose is not like any other sugar. Sugars we are all familiar with, such as table sugar (sucrose), corn sugar (glucose), milk sugar (lactose), honey (predominantly fructose), and others are used by the body as fuel. These sugars are consumed and, with the help of the oxygen we breathe, are “burned” by the body to recycle energy. Because they are used excessively, they can also be toxic. Ribose, on the other hand, is special. When we consume Ribose, the body recognizes that it is different from other sugars and preserves it for the vital work of actually making the energy molecule [ATP] that powers our hearts, muscles, brains, and every other tissue in the body.

The Link between Ribose, Energy and Fatigue

Research in Ribose and CFS/FMS began with a case study that was published in the prestigious journal Pharmacotherapy in 2004. This case study told the story of a veterinary surgeon diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For months, this dedicated doctor found herself becoming more and more fatigued, with pain becoming so profound she was finally unable to stand during surgery. As a result, she was forced to all but give up the practice she loved.

Upon hearing that a clinical study on Ribose in congestive heart failure was underway in the university where she worked, she asked if she could try the Ribose to see if it might help her overcome the mind-numbing fatigue she experienced from her disease. After three weeks of Ribose therapy she was back in the operating room, practicing normally with no muscle pain or stiffness, and without the fatigue that had kept her bedridden for many months.

Being a doctor, she was skeptical, not believing that a simple sugar could have such a dramatic effect on her condition. Within two weeks of stopping the Ribose therapy, however, she was out of the operating room and back in bed. So, to again test the theory, she began Ribose therapy a second time. The result was similar to her first experience, and she was back doing surgery in days. After yet a third round of stopping (with the return of symptoms) and starting (with the reduction of symptoms) the Ribose therapy, she was convinced, and has been on Ribose therapy since that time.

I found this report intriguing and decided to design the larger study in patients with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Along with two research collaborators, I recently published a scientific paper describing the results of this research. The study we designed was intended to determine whether or not Ribose would be effective in relieving the overwhelming fatigue, pain, soreness, and stiffness suffered by patients having this debilitating condition. Our study included patients with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome who were given Ribose at a dose of 5 grams three times per day for an average of three weeks. We found the Ribose treatment led to significant improvement in energy levels, sleep patterns, mental clarity, pain intensity, and well being. Of the patients participating in the study, 65.7 % experienced significant improvement while on Ribose, with an average increase in energy of 44.7% and overall well being of 30%—remarkable results from a single nutrient! The only significant side effects were that 2 people felt too energized and hyper/anxious on the Ribose. This is simply dealt with by lowering the dose and/or taking it with food.

There are very few nutritional therapies that can legitimately boast of having this profound of an effect on the tissues they target. None, other than Ribose, can claim such an effect in cell or tissue energy metabolism. Ribose is a unique and powerful addition to our complement of metabolic therapies in that it is completely safe, proven by strong, well designed clinical and scientific evidence, natural, and fundamental to a vital metabolic process in the body

Ribose regulates how much energy we have in our bodies, and for those suffering from fatigue, muscle soreness, stiffness, and a host of related medical complications, the relief found in energy restoration can be life changing. This is why I recommend that all CFS/FMS patients begin with D-Ribose 5 grams (1 scoop of Corvalen) 3x day for 2-3 weeks then twice a day. It is critical to take the 3 scoops a day for the first few weeks to see the optimal effects. You’ll be glad you did!

Reprinted from the full article on EndFatigue.com with permission of Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.

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