Have you ever felt your energy go down the drain? One minute you’re living your life; the next, the bottom drops out, leaving nothing in the tank. If you have Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), these energy dips may feel like they’re sapping every single cell in your body.
This apparent "cell energy drain" is why one nutrient - D-Ribose - may hold special promise for FM and CFS sufferers: It has been shown in well-designed clinical trials to help restore peak vitality to those struggling with physical and mental fatigue related to both conditions. Researchers have attributed the nutrient’s success to a fundamental biological activity: D-Ribose boosts cell energy production.1
In doing so, D-Ribose’s energizing biological action appears to directly address a major contributing factor to both FM and CFS.
What is D-Ribose?
A monosaccharide (a simple form of sugar) that the body naturally synthesizes, D-Ribose is a key player in a range of life-sustaining metabolic functions; among them, it serves as a building block for the DNA and RNA that comprise our very genetic code.2
D-Ribose may be most highly regarded, however, for its role in the creation and regeneration of cellular ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the "energy currency" that serves as the human body’s primary energy storage unit and energy wellspring molecule.3
Because of its key role in ATP synthesis, D-Ribose has become a popular supplement to help supply steady energy.
The ATP-FM-CFS Connection
So how does an energy supplement for athletes cross over into FM/CFS territory? D-Ribose may help because at their core, both fibromyalgia and CFS are linked to diminished cellular energy metabolism:
Fibromyalgia and ATP: Patients who are diagnosed with FM are commonly found to have diminished ATP levels.4 Some experts suggest this ATP depletion may be linked to fibromyalgia symptoms, with some suggesting deficiency of ATP-supportive nutrients may exacerbate some symtpoms.5
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ATP: While its exact cause is yet unknown, CFS has been hypothesized to be linked to a dysfunction of mitochondria: The cells’ "power plants" that generate energy in the form of ATP. As a result, during physical exertion, when ATP production should be "turned on," by the mitochondria, it is instead "turned down."6 This dysfunction has been theorized to impair ATP synthesis and aggravate CFS symptoms.7
When mitochondria misfire and ATP is diminished to "moderately low" levels, fatigue may set in - especially during exercise and exertion. When ATP is depleted even further, cells may die - and symptoms may worsen, leading to ongoing fatigue and malaise.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers are all too familiar with these feelings of low physical energy, sapped motivation and mental fatigue - all of which may be traced back to problems maintaining ATP production and peak cellular energy metabolism.8
As increasing evidence suggests mitochondrial dysfunction appears to be linked to both FM and CFS, the mitochondria have been targeted as a possible therapeutic pathway in helping to manage both conditions.9
Evidence suggests that D-Ribose supplementation may prove to significantly enhance energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain control and well-being in FM patients.
Based on the knowledge that D-Ribose boosts cell energy production in muscle tissues, researchers in one study evaluated how D-Ribose supplementation might help two groups who both appear to suffer from apparent impaired cell energy metabolism: Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferers.
In this study, 41 patients with either FMS or CFS were administered D-Ribose supplements at a dosage of 5 g, three times per day, until they reached 280 g total. During the study, patients completed questionnaires designed to measure their progress across five symptomatic categories: Energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity and overall well-being. At study’s end, researchers found that D-Ribose supplementation appeared to significantly improve all five of these symptoms in 66% of the patients. Further, average increase in energy was 45%, while feelings of overall well-being improved by 30%.
Researchers in this study concluded that D-Ribose "…significantly reduced clinical symptoms in patients suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome." 10
D-Ribose Supercharges Heart Energy
D-Ribose may also help by supporting a driving force behind our day-to-day vitality: The heart. The heart is an energy-intensive organ, and heart failure is almost always characterized by energy depletion within cardiac tissue cells - a problem that has been tied to the degradation of ATP within the heart. With its key role in cellular energy production, including in the energy-intensive heart, Ribose has been suggested to help rejuvenate myocardial energy levels.
Researchers have found that D-Ribose, administered to heart failure patients in 5 g doses, three times daily for 8 weeks, appeared to be linked to a significant improvement in respiration. Researchers also noted a 44% improvement in Weber Classification, a system of measure for functional physical capacity as defined by cardiac performance. Researchers concluded D-Ribose seemed to improve the exercise status of heart failure patients - results which may suggest a revitalization of heart energy levels.11
With evidence like this, D-Ribose has been suggested to be a "Conditionally Essential Nutrient" (CEN) to be included in therapies for cardiovascular health concerns.12
Why BioEnergy D-Ribose By ProHealth?
One new D-Ribose formulation, manufactured in clinically-tested dosages and designed specifically for FM and CFS sufferers, may now optimize this energy-boosting nutrient’s therapeutic potential. Named BioEnergy D-Ribose, this new formulation is designed to revitalize the cell energy metabolism that translates to whole-body vitality and enhanced quality of life for FM and CFS sufferers.
Bioenergy D-Ribose is manufactured by ProHealth, a supplement formulator that focuses exclusively on the unique nutritional needs of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. For this reason, BioEnergy D-Ribose supplies the same dosage used in the most positive research studies on D-Ribose benefits for those with FM and CFS. A neutral-flavored powder supplement, each scoop of BioEnergy D-Ribose supplies 5 g of D-Ribose, which can be added to juice, water, shakes, smoothies or other liquids.
Bonus Benefit: D-Ribose May Ease Restless Leg Syndrome
CFS/FM sufferers often face sleep challenges which can worsen their daytime vitality. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) -a neurological condition that triggers uncomfortable muscle twitches, tingles and uncontrollable urges to kick - may be part of the reason why. One study found that FM sufferers were 10X as likely to have RLS.13 The good news: Early evidence suggests that D-Ribose may not only boost vitality during the day, but help ease RLS symptoms at night… promoting restful sleep that may further boost energy.
In one small study, a father and son with a strong family history of RLS were given 5-gram doses of D-Ribose for a period of three weeks in three stages: 1X, 2X, and finally 3X daily. Researchers reported that as dosages increased, RLS symptoms seemed to improve, with the full 3X daily dosage achieving the best benefits: Complete elimination of daytime symptoms, significant reduction of nightly symptoms, and a substantial improvement in quality of life.14
E Fenstad, O Gazal, L Shecterle, J St. Cyr, J Seifert. Dose Effects of D-Ribose on Glucose and Purine Metabolites. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness, Volume 5, Number 1
Wagner S, Herrick J, Shecterle LM, St Cyr JA. D-ribose, a metabolic substrate for congestive heart failure. Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009 Jun;24(2):59-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7117.2009.00033.x.
Bazzichi L, Giannaccini G. et al. ATP, calcium and magnesium levels in platelets of patients with primary fibromyalgia. Clin Biochem. 2008 Sep;41(13):1084-90. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2008.06.012. Epub 2008 Jul 2.
Myhill S, Booth N, McLaren-Howard J. Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2009; 2(1): 1–16. Published online 2009 Jan 15.
Gilula MF. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation and fibromyalgia. Expert Rev Med Devices. 2007 Jul;4(4):489-95.
Castro-Marrero J, Cordero MD, et al. Could mitochondrial dysfunction be a differentiating marker between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia? Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Nov 20;19(15):1855-60. doi: 10.1089/ars.2013.5346. Epub 2013 May 29.
Teitelbaum JE, Johnson C, St Cyr J. The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
MacCarter D, Vijay N, et al. D-ribose aids advanced ischemic heart failure patients. Int J Cardiol. 2009 Sep 11;137(1):79-80. doi: 1016/j.ijcard.2008.05.025. Epub 2008 Jul 31.
Kendler BS. Supplemental conditionally essential nutrients in cardiovascular disease therapy. J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2006 Jan-Feb;21(1):9-16.
Shecterle L, Kasubick R, St Cyr J. D-ribose benefits restless legs syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Nov;14(9):1165-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0227.