Feel Like You Could Use More Energy?
One of the consequences of our stressful modern life is an increased need for energy. With less sleep and the depletion of nutrients in our food supply, however, it is getting harder and harder for our bodies to keep up.
There is a lot out there about how competitive athletes can up their energy. Although the approach we’ll discuss below is also excellent for athletes, it was developed, and is outstanding, for the rest of us. Whether you are a mom trying to juggle a fast paced hectic life, a student on a fast food diet, or just trying to optimize your day to day energy, here’s how to get from being fatigued to feeling fantastic!
Having spent the last 30 plus years specializing in treating chronic fatigue and chronic pain, we have learned about the keys to energy production. As an unexpected fringe benefit, these treatments have also offered enormous benefits to those suffering from heart disease.
Optimize energy production with the “SHINE Protocol” Ribose (and our overall approach to treating fatigue) has been highlighted by Dr. Oz, “America’s Doctor” on Oprah, in his wonderful new book YOU: Being Beautiful—The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty.
In addition, our research has shown that severely fatigued people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia can increase their energy by an average of 90 percent (see the published study at www.Vitality101.com) by treating with “SHINE”: Sleep, Hormonal support, Infections, Nutrition and Exercise. For mild fatigue, the physical keys to optimizing energy are Nutrition, Sleep and Exercise, while the emotional key is to start paying attention to what feels good—while letting go of things that don’t.
How Do I Start?
Given my hectic schedule as an educator and physician, people often ask me what I do to keep my energy turbo charged. I like to keep it simple, so here is what I do personally. All of the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients are important to health, and the American diet is so highly processed that people have widespread deficiencies. Because of this, I like to use vitamins that make supplementation simple.
Why Ribose—And What Is Ribose?
Ribose, also called D-Ribose, is the key to your body’s energy production. Ribose is a special, 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 become toxic— acting as energy loan sharks.
Ribose, on the other hand, is special. When we consume ribose, the body recognizes it is different from other sugars and preserves it for the vital work of actually making the special “energy molecules” (called ATP, NADH, and FADH) that power our hearts, muscles, brains, and every other tissue in the body. 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 improve energy 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 two other key components-adenine and ribose. Adenine is plentiful in the body and supplementing with adenine did not help energy production. 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 severe fatigue and stress 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 energy furnaces working again even after the other problems were treated.
This was 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 fatigue and even CFS would jumpstart their energy furnaces. The answer was a resounding yes! Our recently published study (see the study abstract at www. Vitality101.com) showed an average 44.7 percent increase in energy after only three weeks (improvement began at 12 days) and an average overall improvement in quality of life of 30 percent. Two-thirds of the study patients felt they had improved. Usually a 10 percent improvement for a single nutrient is considered excellent. A 44.7 percent increase left us amazed, and I am now recommending Ribose for all of my chronic fatigue, chronic pain and fibromyalgia patients, for athletes, and for any one with fatigue or heart problems. Ribose recently became available (over the counter) to physicians, and is one of the few natural products actually starting with physicians and then moving out into supplement companies and health food stores. It is critical to use the proper dose for the first three weeks, which is five grams (5000 mg) three times a day. It can then be dropped to twice a day (and often even once a day in the morning with the vitamin powder to maintain optimized energy for those that are otherwise healthy).
Normal, healthy heart and muscle tissue has the capacity to make the ribose it needs. But when we are chronically stressed by life or illness, it helps to have extra ribose to help boost energy production.
The Scientific Link Between Ribose, Energy, And Fatigue
Clinical and scientific research has repeatedly shown giving ribose to energy deficient hearts and muscles stimulates energy recovery. Research in Ribose and fatigue 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
Several of the patients participating in the study have contacted me regarding the relief they found with ribose therapy. Most importantly, they speak to the profound joy they feel when they are able to begin living normal, active lives after sometimes years of fatigue, pain, and suffering. Here is a sample of what one patient, Julie (Minnesota), an elementary teacher, wrote: “I had so much pain and fatigue I thought I was going to have to quit teaching. When I take [ribose], I feel like a huge weight is being lifted from my chest, and I’m ready to take on those kids again!” The relief patients feel with ribose therapy is heartwarming, and goes directly to the dramatic impact ribose has on increasing energy, overcoming fatigue, enhancing exercise tolerance, and raising the patient’s quality of life.
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 a larger study in patients with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome which I began to discuss earlier. Our study included 41 patients with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome who were given ribose at a dose of five grams three times per day for 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 percent experienced significant improvement while on ribose, with an average increase in energy of 44.7 percent and overall well being of 30 percent- remarkable results from a single nutrient! The only significant side effects were two 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.
The good news is that we now have a wonderful tool to increase energy naturally. Take five grams of ribose three times per day for three weeks, then twice a day (can be mixed with any liquid or food) for two to three weeks, and then one to two times per day to see what it will do for you. You’ll be amazed!
Jacob E Teitelbaum, MD
Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z," and author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery/Penguin Group), Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill), Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press 2003), Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), and his newest book Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press, July 15, 2011). Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatment.