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Chronic Pain Health — 17 July 2012

A daily dose of a sugar-like supplement can significantly boost the energy levels of patients suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a new study published in The Open Pain Journal.  Sleep, pain, mental clarity and overall well-being also improved by taking D-ribose supplements.

Millions of Americans suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and some of their symptoms overlap. Many patients complain of low energy levels and an inability to sleep.

“Today we’re facing a human energy crisis of major proportions. Reflecting this, the prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome and its painful cousin fibromyalgia has grown dramatically in recent years,” said lead researcher Jacob Teitelbaum, MD.

Teitelbaum’s study included 257 patients around the country who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. They were given 5 grams of D-ribose three times a day for three weeks.

Patients reported significant improvement in a number of areas:

  • 61% increase in energy
  • 37% increase in overall well-being
  • 29% improvement in sleep
  • 30% improvement in mental clarity
  • 16% decrease in pain

The findings confirm results of a small pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which also found that D-ribose boosts energy levels and improves a sense of well-being.

“Our hypothesis all along has been that giving D-ribose to people with CFS and Fibromyalgia will jump-start their mitochondrial energy furnaces. We’re pleased that the larger multicenter trial corroborated our earlier study, showing the same benefits for fibromyalgia and CFS patients from multiple locations,” said Dr. Teitelbaum.

D-ribose is a simple carbohydrate made by the body that sparks production of an “energy molecule” called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. ATP levels have been found to be 80 percent higher in healthy individuals vs. chronic fatigue patients. Many athletes take D-ribose in supplement form to boost their energy levels and shorten their recovery time.

Teitelbaum sells ribose and other supplements on his website. According to Teitelbaum, all of the royalties for products he designs or works with go to charity, including the Teitelbaum Family Foundation.

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Mary Krasn

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