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
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!