New Insights in Fibromyalgia

Published: February 20, 2014

Is Adenosine Deficiency a Key Trigger for Insomnia in CFS and Fibromyalgia?

It may well be. We have discussed adenosine in the past, being a combination of ribose plus vitamin B 4 (adenine) and a key building block for our energy molecules. But you won't find vitamin B 4 in any multivitamins any more. It lost its "vitamin status" once it was realized that the body makes it on its own.

For years, it was thought that the body makes plenty of adenine, with it being a key component of both DNA (called a "nucleotide," one of the key building blocks of DNA and RNA) as well as energy molecules such as ATP and NADH. As we have gained more experience with CFS and fibromyalgia, it has been clear that ribose deficiency has been playing a role. For example, our recently published study showed that supplementing with ribose (Corvalen) increased energy a remarkable average of 61% after 3 weeks, and I routinely supplement ribose in everyone with CFS or fibromyalgia and in anybody who wants more energy. The ribose then combines with adenine to make adenosine, the key building block for energy.

So one would think that taking adenosine would stimulate energy production, and maybe even keep you up at night if you took it late in the day. Interestingly, in our ribose study, sleep quality improved along with energy. Although familiar with the importance of ribose and adenosine for making energy molecules such as ATP, I had forgotten one important and ironic piece of biochemistry.

Just like serotonin is the "happiness molecule" and dopamine is the "reward molecule," adenosine (that has not been turned into ATP energy) is the "sleep molecule." There are actually specific adenosine receptors that are critical for sleep. If adenosine is low in energy molecules, it's likely low in the body in general. In addition to the hypothalamic dysfunction and other sleep disorders, it would make sense that adenosine deficiency could play a key role in the disordered sleep of CFS and fibromyalgia.

What jogged my memory about this? I live in Kona Hawaii which is well-known for its coffee. I was in a small town coffee shop where they had a little sign about how coffee works by blocking the adenosine sleep receptors. That's why coffee wakes us up. I don't remember if it felt more like a "light bulb going on" or a "Duh, I should've thought of that earlier" moment, but it strikes me as something that simply makes a lot of sense and ties together a lot of diverse information.

Bottom line? We are now going to be offering adenosine to 12 of fibro folks at wholesale ($25/bottle) to see if it helps sleep. If it does, this could be one more helpful sleep tool for people with fibro! ;-)

So have fibromyalgia and trouble sleeping? Want to try the adenosine at the $25/bottle wholesale price in exchange for letting us know how it works for you?  E-mail Cheryl at and she'll arrange it for you. The dose is 25 mg tabs 1-3 under the tongue immediately before bedtime. It can be taken with any other sleep aids and medications, and may take a few weeks to "fill the tank" to begin working in some while acting immediately in others.

P.S. — Don't go online to a chemical company and try to get the adenosine. If you get the wrong form it can cause cyanide poisoning and membrane irritation while also stopping your heart. The right form, however, is very safe and reasonably priced. Once we have a bit more experience with it, we'll let people know the details of how to get it and use it :-)

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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