Okay, so I've only been taking it for three days, which means that its dramatic effects may be too good to be true. A supplement that can transform a person from a slug into a high-powered hare overnight surely has some problems, but nothing I have read in the literature so far indicates that D-ribose is bad for you. In fact, Dr. Titelbaum, in the updated version of his book, "From Fatigued to Fantastic", advocates D-ribose as a solution for fatigue, citing it as dramatically beneficial to more than sixty-six percent of patients, providing an average of a 30% improvement in quality of life, and a 45% increase in energy.
Normally, when I read statistics like that, I think, Yeah, right. Magic bullet, I don't think so!
I must admit though, I was amazed (if not a little freaked out) yesterday, when I cleaned out my closet and organized four years' worth of vitamin supplements in less than two hours flat...and still had energy to do half a dozen other tasks. I didn't even go to bed wasted tired, as I sometimes do when I hit the fast forward button on my body. (Although I really should learn to be a better steward of my energy!)
So what is D-ribose?
It's a sugar made by the body (don't think glucose, sucrose or fructose) and the primary building block of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). ATP is the body's energy currency; without it, cells cannot function. It is the molecule that powers the heart, brain and every other tissue and organ in the body. In chronic illness, the cells become energy-starved, and replacing ribose can help them to function properly again.
In Lyme disease and chronic fatigue, it is thought that the body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of ribose. Supplementing with D-ribose can jump start the body's energy furnaces, so that metabolism becomes more efficient. In Lyme disease and CFS, it enables the body to recover more quickly from exercise, restoring energy in the muscles that have been fatigued by exertion. It promotes sleep and mental clarity, and clears up brain fog and depression. It also dramatically improves heart function, by allowing the heart to more fully relax, fill and pump blood throughout the body. The increased blood circulation results in greater oxygenation from your brain, all the way down to your toes. A multitude of clinical research has also shown D-ribose to be helpful for congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle) and coronary artery disease. Being that Lyme disease affects the heart in a multitude of ways, this supplement seems like it would be an asset to any protocol, and also because of the effects that it has upon other symptoms.
Dr. Titelbaum, in his book, From Fatigued To Fantastic, advocates a product called Corvalen (made by Bioenergy), which contains the highest-quality D-ribose, along with malate and magnesium to facilitate uptake and utilization by the body.
Optimum effects of this powder are felt within a few weeks, although I have taken it only for a few days now and already noticed a significant difference in the way I feel.
Finally, I am an optimist but like all treatments, I have to wonder if this super speed substance is a good thing that can be used long-term. For the chronically fatigued, a little extra ATP is probably a good thing, but can ribose help to heal the body, or are its effects only temporary? Can taking too much of the stuff place extra demands upon the body for other nutrients or hormones?
I don't have the answer to those questions, as I have not extensively researched this nutrient. From the little that I have read, the literature and preliminary results are promising, and perhaps D-ribose can help to jump-start other processes in the body that have gone awry due to Lyme disease. If this is true, then I would consider its effects upon the body in chronic Lyme disease to be nothing short of miraculous.