Using d-ribose for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

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Note: This blog post is targeted to those who may be interested in using D-Ribose for fibromyalgia or ME/CFS, but anyone suffering from general fatigue might find D-Ribose to be helpful. 

D-ribose has been shown to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue in those with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, according to early research studies.I was scrolling through my Facebook feed a few days ago, and I noticed a post from a woman on one of the fibromyalgia/ME/CFS support groups, asking fellow members if they’d ever used prescription stimulants to relieve fatigue. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen this same question asked a number of times, and every time, it makes me feel worried and sad for the person who is posting it.

I’ve never used prescription stimulants myself, and I do not judge people who do, but my gut tells me that adding stimulants to a person who is already experiencing sleep disturbances may not be a good mix. My prediction is that she’ll end up on a rollercoaster of taking stimulants to get through the day and then tranquilizers at night in order to bring herself down so she can sleep.

That can’t be a good combo.

When I saw her comment, I made sure to share with her a new supplement that I added to my regime about six weeks ago, and now I’m also sharing it with you. Without a doubt, D-Ribose, a form of sugar produced naturally by the body, has been the best supplement I’ve taken since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia (and I’ve tried lots of them).

I learned about using D-Ribose for fibromyalgia after reading Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s book, “The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.”

D-Ribose helps the body to create more cellular energy by producing adenosine triphosphate (also known as ATP). Research has shown that fibromyalgia and ME/CFS patients are often low in ATP.

Using D-Ribose for fibromyalgia and ME/CFS …

In 2006, Teitelbaum conducted a small study with 41 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. They were given 5 grams of D-Ribose, three times a day, over a period of three weeks to see if there would be improvements in energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity and overall well-being.

At the end of the study, approximately 66 percent of patients reported significant improvement while taking D-Ribose, with an average improvement in overall well-being of 30 percent and an average increase in energy of 45 percent.

What could you do with 45 percent more energy? I know that would make a big difference in my life!

Teitelbaum followed up this pilot study with a larger multicenter study in 2012, involving 257 people who were given D-Ribose for fibromyalgia and/or ME/CFS. Like the pilot study, patients took 5 grams of D-Ribose, three times a day, over three weeks. The result was an average energy boost of 61 percent among patients. Patients reported improvements in sleep (29 percent), pain (15 percent), mental clarity (30 percent) and overall well-being (37 percent), as well.

In addition to fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, D-Ribose has been found to be helpful in the treatment of coronary artery disease and is frequently used by athletes to increase performance.

My experience with D-Ribose …

Teitelbaum has shared his D-Ribose protocol in online articles, and I have been following that for about six weeks now. I am now on two doses a day, which I take with breakfast and lunch. I’ve seen a noticeable difference in my energy levels during the day. I don’t feel revved up or jittery; I just feel like I have a little more gas in my tank, and I’m able to get a few more things crossed off of my to-do list before I run out of energy each day.  Before taking D-Ribose, I would usually crash in the mid to late afternoon and take a nap to get through the rest of the day. My napping has been cut by at least 75 percent.

The most exciting thing about D-Ribose is how quickly it seemed to work. I started to feel the effects after about two weeks of following the initial three times a day dosage. I have experienced no side effects from taking it.

The downsides …

So now for the negatives: I take the chewable tablets of D-Ribose sold on Amazon. As supplements go, it’s not super expensive, but having to take so many tablets per day definitely adds up. D-Ribose also comes in a powder form, which is less expensive.

Another downside is the taste. It’s super sweet, which probably won’t bother most people, but it took a few days for my taste buds to adjust.

Caution: Diabetics or anyone with blood sugar issues will want to research D-Ribose carefully since it is a form of sugar and may affect your levels. I’m hypoglycemic myself, and I always take D-Ribose with a meal.

So, have you used D-Ribose for fibromyalgia or ME/CFS? How did it work for you? Do you have an inexpensive source for D-Ribose? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. All content on FedUpwithFatigue.com is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like…

I think I’m getting better (and here’s how I’m doing it)

How one fibromyalgia sufferer is improving her symptoms.

Each week, FedUpwithFatigue.com covers the latest news, research and practical tips to help you live better with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. If you liked this post, please sign up for updates below.

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  1. I have struggled with CFS for the last 3+ years. It seems to come and go. First episode lasted almost 6 months. The last episode only lasted about 4 months. Very debilitating, exhausted and weak all day long. I researched diets that help with CFS and made some significant changes there. I discovered the benefits of D-Ribose with continued investigation into CFS. I have been taking it for about 3 months now, and have noticed my energy level increase, and a better quality of life. I take a little under 5 grams daily with my yogurt and blueberries every morning. Give it a try!

  2. Atlanta Girl says:

    I have struggled with fatigue from MS/CFS for more than a decade. I have been taking Ritalin/Adderall, which I hated bc it caused anxiety and I take absolutely no other “drugs”. (I don’t even take Advil and eat a more rigid form,of Paleo)

    I do a fair amount of research and got the thumbs up from a holistic pharmacist I bounce things off. I definitely noticed an improvement in less than 2 wks – it was subtle at first, I just attributed it having a few days of good sleep, but it continued. I usually start “wilting” energy-wise about noon, and I’m toast by 3pm. It gave me a little more boost without interfering with sleep or causing anxiety. I log all my food/activity (for nutritional purposes) and didn’t gain weight or have any appetite changes or cravings. (I consume very little sugar, so I was concerned about this triggering sugar cravings- but nope.)

    For anyone having issues, worth a try, but make sure you are getting a quality organic product without fillers. I didn’t use the expensive brand mentioned in the studies, but have used 2 different organic powder brands that run less than $30/mo.

  3. ShyestOfFlies says:

    I tried it for a few days and ended up having an allergic reaction. I had added in about five new supplements to my diet, upped a dose of one med, added one new one, and switched to the generic of another from name brand. I don’t believe the d-ribose did it, if it was- it was a filler in my powder and not the d-ribose itself. The culprit(s) were actually the generic plaquenil I had switched to and possibly the new AD I had been put on on- Fetzima, a relative of Savella but not a true fibro drug. I’m still a little scared to take the d-ribose because of this, and also hearing it caused weight gain in some. I have gained over 50 pounds since my fibro diagnosis two years ago. The main culprit in the weight gain for me was antidepressants, specifically abilify.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I gained 40 pounds in the year after my diagnosis from Lyrica and Amitriptyline. Sometimes it makes you wonder if the drugs are worth it. I know they weren’t for me, but they do help some people, and I’m grateful for any relief people receive.

      I doubt it was the d-ribose causing your reaction. Your body naturally makes d-ribose, so you’re essentially supplementing what the body lacks. Let me know how it goes if you decide to try it again.

  4. gems41 says:

    All D-Ribose did for me was make me gain 40 pounds over 6 months! I felt NO better at all.
    The ONE and ONLY supplement that’s done me any good at all is Nitric Oxide (an amino acid) …
    not to be confused with Nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

    It’s so hard to find things that work, and what works for one person might not work for another, but isn’t it that way with all FMS patients. I’m SO exhausted ALL the time, and in pain all the time – I’m not old, but I have less energy than my parents in their 80’s. I can’t make any plans in advance, and don’t have much of a life because I hurt all the time, and I never know when even the slightest things will completely wipe me out.

    I also have CFS/ME, Osteoarthritis of the spine and both knees, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Interstitial Cystitis, Hypothyroidism, Pituitary Tumor, low HGH, low Vit. D, MTHFR gene mutation, Anemia, Sjogren’s, Ankylosing Spondylitis,

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Thanks for the tip about nitric oxide. I’ll have to check that out. It’s a new one that I haven’t heard of before for fibro.

    • May I ask what form of nitric oxide you are taking?

  5. My son sent me the link to your website about a week ago. I was already knee deep in the book From Fatigued to Fantastic, you mentioned in this article. I am curious now, not having finished the book, what is controversial about it or the author? I do know that when I eat breads I experience the bloating and discomfort you mentioned in the gluten article. I had also read Grain Brain and am concurrently reading Foods That Fight Fibromyalgia. I have learned enough about my body to know that I need a solid night’s sleep to function and healthy foods to feel good. Stress sets me off, as well has other infections or viruses. Thank you for posting and for sending me current information on Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed 2001. I have taken many of the Rx subscribed for FM and the roller coaster of weight gain. I prefer to not take anything labeled for FM; instead Aspercream helps with some of the pain, I am learning about essential oils, and I do take ibuprofen when I have to. I have a newer doctor and think to change again, because when I brought up the pain and weight gain he just looked at me with that glass eyed look of well, lose weight and sorry for your pain and closed my file and ended the exam. It is one of those things that you learn to live with. I think learning from other sufferers of FM in a setting like this is best. You try what you want, see if it works, if it does you keep doing it. If it doesn’t, you drop it. Thank you.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hi Dawn, some people have made negative comments about Dr. Teitelbaum b/c they feel he’s just trying to sell them supplements and books. I don’t agree with that; people have the choice to buy supplements from wherever or from whomever they like, and they can always checkout books for free from their local library. Everyone has to make a living, so I don’t begrudge him for selling supplements or books.

      I agree with you … I have learned more from my fellow fibro warriors than from most of my doctors. We tend to be more educated about what works than most doctors. I’ve seen that glassy eyed look more than I care to. 🙂

  6. Terri Brown says:

    Hi, I just found your blog through Pinterest. I haven’t tried any supplements yet, mostly because I hadn’t found a reliable resource to know what to try and how much. This really interests me as fatigue is usually my biggest problem (when I’m not having a flare). Do I need to talk to my rheumy before trying D-Ribose?

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      It’s a good idea to list all supplements for your doctor so he/she knows what you’re taking. But don’t be surprised if he/she has never heard of d-ribose. It’s not a very commonly known supplement.

      • Atlanta Girl says:

        I have a list on my phone along with the strength, dosage.

        I asked my MD about D-Ribose, but she is clueless about anything but pharmaceuticals. But, I found a pharmacist who is more holistically focused and he said it was worth a try. Works for me.

  7. This is interesting. I’ve heard of the positives of d-ribose and I guess the only reason I have yet to try it is due to cost (I already spend a lot on supplements as it is) but I think it might be worth a try. Thanks for sharing

    • admin says:

      Happy to share. I know what you mean about the cost of supplements. I spend a small fortune every month myself. I hope it helps, if you decide to give it a try.

  8. great post! I did try D-ribose around the same time I first changed my whole diet and I did not really find any improvement with it.

    I totally agree with you tho about taking prescription stimulants. When I was at my worst I ended up in the office of a Psychiatrist that prescribed one med for sleep and a prescription stimulant in the morning. WHOA! What a mess that made. The sleep med had me waking up unable to move a muscle, I felt like a mummy wrapped up. It was crazy. Then the stimulant had me jittery. I didn’t stick with those meds or that Psychiatrist for long.

    • admin says:

      Yeah, it’s hard for me to understand how drs think prescribing both will be helpful. It seems like it would be common sense that putting them together would wreck havoc on the body. I’m sorry D-ribose didn’t work for you. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on this post, and it seems like D-ribose is like everything else for fibromyalgia: It either works great for people, or it does nothing. There really isn’t an in-between.

  9. Jeanne Baker says:

    I have tried DRibose, along with many other supplements.
    Unfortunately, I have not found it to make a noticeable difference in how I feel or my functionality.
    Nor have any of the other many supplements and herbs that I have tried. I wish I
    Could say that they have made a difference.

    • I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. Fibro and ME/CFS are such weird conditions – what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. Hopefully one day they will figure out how these conditions work and develop some better treatments for us.

  10. I use the powder form twice a day. I add it to a smoothie in the morning and to iced tea at lunch time. I think it makes a huge difference.

    • admin says:

      Hi Sue,
      I’m so glad it has worked for you! It’s worked great for me, too. By the way, I really like your blog! I read it regularly. Thank you for sharing your experience.


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