Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ribose in CFS, ME, and Fibromyalgia

Posted by Douglaslabs (I'll look up their background in a future post), uploaded Feb 2011.

Online presentation from Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigue to Fantastic, and an M.E. sufferer in 1975, is Director of National Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, and titles himself as a "vitality expert".

Dr. Teitelbaum continually refers to a 'treatment' for CFS (the label 'M.E.' doesn't appear in this lecture). Although you can 'treat' a wound, it is quite different from 'curing' a wound, so I am cautious whenever anyone uses the word 'treatment' in the context of ME.

The 'treatment' that he refers to comes in the form of RIBOSE, a naturally occuring pentose carbohydrate. Before going on to talk about ribose, Dr. Teitelbaum explains what he believes are the areas that lie behind CFS and Fibromyalgia (FMS).

"CFS represents and energy crisis in the body."

Dr. Teitelbaum goes off on several threads, which are referred to here.

Thread 1: Reasons for an energy crisis:


Many people are victims of "high-calorie nutrition". Some 18% of calories in the average American diet come from sugar, and 18% from white flour. There are NO NUTRIENTS in these foods. Nutrients are critical for healthy cell development.

In thinking more about nutrition (an area I will go on to explore in later posts, since the area of nutrition was the catalyst to resuming this blog), it strikes me for the first time how I now recall that the only thing that marks my childhood in terms of health issues was my diet. I was one of the world's most fussiest eaters in my early years, and during my teens, had a very limited range of foods, partly owing to the fact that our school dinners were dire, and partly owing to the fact that we were not very well off, so even the amount of butter in the bread and butter sandwiches was heavily restricted. Could there be a link to an impoverished diet in my childhood to what I am experiencing now? Would my chances of recovery have been better had I have received better nutrition in my earlier life? That is the only area that I can think of that distinguishes my former health. In all other aspects, from allergies, skin conditions, to diseases, I had nothing other than measles and the cyclical colds during the whole of my childhood.

Nutritional advice from Dr. Teitelbaum: Increase water intake, decrease sugar intake, high-protein-low-carb diet. For 3-9 months, consider:
Acetyl-L-Carnitine 1000mg/day (energy & weight)
D-Ribose for energy production (Corvalen)
CoEnzyme Q10-200 mg/day for energy (Vitaline)
Fish oil if you have dry eyes and mouth (Vectomega)
Malic acid - important for mitochondrial function


Oh so important! Ironically, the body needs energy to sleep, hence why many ME sufferers can't fall asleep even though feeling absolutely exhausted. And hell, don't I know this!!!


Just like nutrients, the body needs a balance of hormones.

Most blood tests will MISS accurate hormonal readings, such as thyroid testing.

Adrenal burnout can be another cause of fatigue. This is caused by too much time spent in a state of high stress. It results in low blood pressure. Licorice and drinking more water was recommended as a good remedy.

Hormone deficiencies can be treated, but treat with natural, bioidentical hormones, not synthetic hormones.


The body needs energy to heal and fight infection. One key infection that Dr. Teitelbaum repeatedly mentions is CANDIDA. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends that ALL ME-suspect patients be treated for candida regardless, since tests are not reliable at picking it up. Markers of candida are sinusitis and spastic colon (gas, bloating, constipation)

Treat with: Acidophilus Pearls, low sugar (stevia plant), natural antifungals, Diflucan.


Doing too much.

Overall, though, CFS is likely to be a combination of factors, and each symptom of CFS may trigger other problems ("multiple hitchhikers"), so multiple treatments are advisable.

Thread 2: Hypothalamic dysfunction - a common denominator for many problems caused by low energy. The hypothalamus uses more energy for its size than any other area of the body. Because of this, it malfunctions first during energy depletion. In addition, the hypothalamus controls SLEEP. And hormones are produced by glands which are controlled by the hypothalamus.

Thread 3: Pain in relation to fibromyalgia - muscles need more energy to relax than to contract. When you run out of energy, they get stuck in the shortened, rigid position and hurt.

Thread 4: Discussion of a study involving RIBOSE. 91% of the people who were treated with ribose 'markedly improve' within 100 days. [Study published in The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, Volume 12, 2006. The Use of D-Ribose in CFS and Fibromyalgia: A Pilot Study, by Teitelbaum, Johnson, Cyr.] [Note, a follow-up study with 36 CFS patients was done for secondary evidence. 36 is not many people!]

DNA and RNA have ribose as key components.

ATP, the ENERGY CURRENCY of the cell, is composed of ribose, adenine, and phosphates. Ribose deficiency in energy deficient states can therefore be a critical piece of the puzzle. Ribose is the fundamental energy-regulating compound.

Studies involving ribose were initially conducted with junior post-op heart surgery patients. There was a faster recovery rate with patients who had ribose intervention. Ribose is also therefore promising for heart disease patients who need to get energy functions efficiently on track. Ribose can improve exercise tolerance, and can help not only heart patients, but also people such as athletes to maximize their energy production and restoration process.

Thread 5: Introduces another speaker, who focuses on explaining ATP. ATP is a molecule comprised of ribose, phosphates, and adenine. As the phosphates break off the chain, energy is produced. Under normal circumstances, the phosphates get restored to make a normal ATP molecule again. But if this process is not restoring ATP molecules quickly enough, AMP gets produced, which is a toxin, and needs to be expelled. To restore a damaged process, it takes ribose. Thus, the distinction between ATP concentration and ATP turnover rate is central to our understanding of molecular bioenergetics. This breakdown in energy transfer process is totally what I believe to be at the root of ME.

Unlike other medications, D-ribose has not shown to have any severe side effects, although it does warn that there is insufficient testing to give it to pregnant women, suggesting that some caution should still be exercised when considering this drug. The only side effect observed was that it could cause diarrhea in mild doses because it pulls water into the gut. In addition, because it causes a blood sugar lowering rather than a spike, diabetics are advised to take D-ribose with meals.

I certainly would be interested to know more about D-ribose. It really does sound very promising, particularly since it seems to have less potential side effects than valganciclovir (discussed below), and Dr. Teitelbaum cites that results are noticed within as short a period as just 3 weeks. D-ribose is quite a contrasting approach to Valganciclovir. Valganciclovir is an ANTIVIRAL drug. It is presumably designed to kill a viral agent in the cells. D-ribose, from what it sounds like from this initial presentation, is 'simply' adding more ribose into the energy-producing cycle in the cells to re-activate the process. If we crossed between the two theories of a viral cause and an energy-generating procedural breakdown, that could lead to a combined treatment with something like ribose PLUS valganciclovir. I will try to get some more info posted here about D-ribose later on.

Meanwhile, for further info, including a free 'Symptoms Analysis', go to Dr. Teitelbaum's site:

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