Archive for the 'Suppliments' Category

Starting New IBS Probiotic – Saccharomyces Boulardii

I’ve been taking a probiotic with every meal for my IBS for 2 years (thank goodness for so I can keep track of these things more easily now!). I’ve been using Higher Nature’s Probio Daily which is lactobacillus sporogenes.

Lactobacillus sporogenes, acts as a ‘transient’ bacterium, helping to maintain intestinal and immune system health, a balance of good bacteria over bad, and regular bowel movement… One tablet contains 150 million bacteria.

To be honest I’m not really sure if it’s helped with IBS or not. It’s not as though if I don’t take it or I miss a day I notice any dramatic difference. But I figured it didn’t do any harm to take it either.

A friend reminded me about Florastor which she takes and which is a different kind of probiotic. It’s saccharomyces boulardii which is supposed to be good for IBS and IBD like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

Florastor has limited availability in the UK but it’s very expensive so I started searching for saccharomyces boulardii and came across Optibac for Bowel Calm. It used to be called DiarSafe thank goodness Optibac sounds so much better!

It’s still expensive but I got some on special offer to try and they arrived today so my saccharomyces boulardii experiment begins this evening.  I can’t say saccharomyces boulardii but notice how much I like copying and pasting it!

OptiBac Probiotics For bowel calm contains pure Saccharomyces boulardii, a natural and safe probiotic yeast with vast scientific research and documentation on its benefits in supporting bowel health, comfort and function.

S. boulardii has been internationally acclaimed as the number one probiotic for diarrhoea – to reduce discomfort and urgency and to restore control and regular bowel movements. For bowel calm Saccharomyces boulardii is a natural probiotic food supplement and not a medicine. It is a completely natural probiotic offering support for fast acting bowel calm, comfort and control when you need it most.

How does For bowel calm work?

Saccharomyces boulardii – a unique probiotic yeast which is sold widely in the US, Scandinavia, Germany & France. S. boulardii has undergone extensive clinical research demonstrating its ability to flush out pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, in order to work against diarrhoea.

For IBS it’s 1 tablet a day which does it make somewhat more cost effective (it’s about £6 for 16 tablets and £25 for a box of 80 tablets) and it’s not the most expensive suppliment I’ve tried. Optibac is also much more widely available in the UK including direct from the company but shopping around you may get a good deal.

But if it does prove effective (fingers crossed) I’ll look to buy another brand of saccharomyces boulardii through I think – there’s quite a few available.

So fingers crossed and I’ll see what happens with the old guts overt the coming weeks!



Making My Own Tummy Remedy

I’ve been buying supplies today to make my own tummy medicine which I’m basing on Resolve but without the paracetamol.

Resolve is the most effective medicine I’ve found when I’ve got gassy, crampy discomfort from IBS and a sensitive stomach.  The problem with is it also contains a dose of paracetamol which often I don’t really need.  Or I’d rather take a co-codamol at another time in the day for something else.

I searched for an off the shelf solution – a stomach medicine that was similar without the pain killer.  I found Eno Salts which are similiar and do offer some relief.  But they’re not as good. Studying the ingredients I found that they don’t have Potassium Bircarbonate where Resolve does.

So the only way I was going to get what I needed was to make my own.

I realised that the Potassium Bicarb is indeed the missing element when I was searching for supplies and found this suppliment for soothing digestion. I’m also going to be adding some citric acid to make it fizz.

“Carbonates assist the small intestine in maintaining an alkaline pH. Carbonates may help improv…e tolerance to foods by improving digestive enzyme hydrolysis of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.”

I can buy Potassium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate and Citric Acid (food grades) from ebay inexpensively.  (I could also add Vitamin C if I wanted like Resolve has but I don’t think I’ll need it.)  I’ve also bought some digital scales that measure tiny amounts (from 0.01g) and some small ziplock bags so I can make up ready doses for ease. 

I hope to find someway of measuring a single dose out so I can keep a large mix of it in a food container. The difficulty will be finding a spoon/scoop measure that happens to be the right volume for the weight I need for single dose.

I’ll share a recipe when and if I’ve mixed it successfully once I’ve gotten all my supplies.

It’s a little worrying to be ordering the scales, ziplock bags and citric acid used by shifty druggie types, not to mention the idea of potentially carrying little bags of white powder around (hmmmm) but I might only take Resolve and Enos sachets out in public to be safer.

The initial outlay is a little pricey but it works out around 15p a dose instead of 26p a dose for Resolve – plus of course I get what I need without the stuff I don’t.

I’m quite excited about it.  I hope it works!

D-Ribose Free for 10 Days

Ten days ago I stopped taking my twice daily 5mg 5g doses of D-Ribose to see if it had any impact on tummy troubles I get. After reading my post about possible side effects and contraindications of D-Ribose fellow blogger and ME-ite Ashy decided to stop taking it too for a few weeks to see what, if any the effect was.

After ten days the most noticeable thing is how much of a boost it seems to give me. Something I had been taking for granted.

My recovery time from even the smallest exertions is much worse and as the days have passed I’m feeling worse generally.  I’ve had aches and gland pain.  I’ve felt more sluggish in the mornings and it’s taken a 2-3 hoursfrom waking  to feel half human.  I’ve had a lot of pain in my neck, shoulders and jaw from tensing in my sleep and when I get tired.  In the evenings I am often counting down to when I can go to bed rather than enjoying the time I am up.

These are all things that I get from time to time but have not been so frequent or having such an impact in this last year whilst I have been using D-Ribose.

Despite having the desire and mindset to work on my art my reserves have been too low.  I effectively lost all of last week and am struggling through this week.  This usually happens when I am very run down, fighting a virus or have had a significant major exertion (pushing beyond my limits).

20070516_waiting_in_the_carI did have a large exertion 13 days ago but it was not beyond my limits. With that level of effort typically I would be over that in 2-3 days, maybe 4.  So by the time I stopped D-Ribose I was pretty much over the worst of it.  I suspect stopping the D-Ribose when I did meant the last part of recovery from it was hindered.

As for the experiment to see if D-Ribose is the cause of tummy troubles (gas, cramps, spasms, constipation, loose bowels and so on) I haven’t noticed any change.  I haven’t had tummy troubles every day, but neither have I been trouble free.  My gastric problems are so far about the same as before.

I realise it’s difficult to know how long to allow for problems/possible side effects like that to settle after stopping a suppliment or medication.  But I am certain the positive effects of D-Ribose have ceased.

My problem now is whether to keep with these conclusions after 10 days and get back to D-Ribose tomorrow.  Going back on it would possibly prove the benefits if my reserves pick up quickly after this fug filled week plus.  But it may not be conclusive about the tummy side effects.

If it does give me the boost I suspect then even if it does cause some gastric side effects it’s looking like a price that’s worth paying.

Can D-Ribose Make You Sick?

I started taking 10mg 10g of D-Ribose daily around a year ago.

I’ve had quite a few people find my blogs about D-Ribose and reporting to me problems they’ve experienced:

  • “a definite small but significant energy boost, but also had tummy pains”
  • “a tiny energy boost, but terrible constipation and migraines by the third day”
  • “just starting d-ribose and seem to be having reflux/chest pain”
  • “started the D-ribose over a week ago, and I’ve had abdominal pain, constipation, and now increased pulse and blood pressure”
  • “when I take the D-ribose it makes me feel dizzy.”

I myself have gastric discomfort which although I had experiences before I used D-Ribose it has been persistent throughout this last year.

pic by HckySo on Flickr

pic by HckySo on Flickr

The question is can D-Ribose be causing migraine, dizziness and gastric problems for some people?

The majority of references readily available on the internet, particularly with reference to it’s use with CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia, suggest it is relatively safe and harmless.

The only “reported side effects” I found when I started taking D-Ribose were a risk of hypoglycemia and possibly loose bowels.

I don’t think that gives the whole picture!

Once other people started commenting on my blog with their side effects, particularly gastric flare ups, I did some more research.  Then today I had a comment which told me that D-Ribose can cause increased levels of uric acid.  I’ve done some more reading.

I’m not an expert.  This post is a summary of what I’ve discovered so far.

Hypoglycemia & loose stools:

D-Ribose can cause transiet hypoglycemia and loose stools  in reference to large doses (10mg or over).  Dr Teitelbaum’s recommended dose is 3 x 5mg 5g daily for the first 4 weeks, then 2 x 5mg 5g daily after that.

“The first is a transient hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that can be eliminated by taking larger doses of ribose with other carbohydrates (such as in juice). The second side effect that may occur in some individuals is loose stools. Again, this side effect has only been reported in very large doses, greater than 10 grams.”

Herx reaction theory:

pic by coldways on flickr

pic by coldways on flickr

There are some people who say that the D-Ribose gives your body and your cells the energy they need to function more efficiently and thus fight hidden/chronic/stealth infection in the body. It fuels your mitochondria.

When fighting this/these infection(s) the theory is it is possible you may get a Herx reaction.

It’s also possible that if the D-Ribose is fuelling your body properly you may be better absorbing other suppliments/nutritional elements that are fighting the infection and thus, ironically, feeling worse.

Typically the death of these bacteria and the associated release of endotoxins occurs faster than the body can remove the toxins via the natural detoxification process performed by the kidneys and liver. It is manifested by fever, chills, headache, myalgia (muscle pain), and exacerbation of skin lesions.

From Wikipedia entry on Herxheimer_reaction

More reading on Herx reaction includes suggestions for treatment

And a mention about “die-off” and Herx reactions when de-toxing

In addition to possibly promoting a Herx reaction it could in itself cause an antioxidant effect:

“Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own.”

From 15 May – Almost Random Research

Uric acid:
pic by lunar caustic on flickr

pic by lunar caustic on flickr

Research has found that D-Ribose can contribute to the levels of uric acid in your body.

High levels of uric acid can cause gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis which usually effects the joints.  As the uric acid forms into crystals and settles around the body the immune system then attacks the crystals which causes inflammation.

Deposits of these crystals can also develop into kidney stones.

Read more about how uric acid can cause gout pain and kidney stones.

Research has shown that D-Ribose can contribute to uric acid levels and should therefore by avoided by those with gout or exisiting high levels of uric acid.

However, I am not clear whether the D-Ribose dosing for ME/CFS (typically 10mg 10g daily) can cause levels of uric acid to become dangerously high in individuals who do not already have gout or pre-exisiting high levels of uric acid.

Also high levels of uric acid in the blood does not always mean that a person will develop gout.

“Actually most people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout. Therefore it is not necessarily the high level of uric acid causing gout but perhaps a rapid change in its level.”

From Gout Prevention & Treatment on About Arthritis

Other factors  can contribute like dehydration, injury  fever, heavy eating, heavy drinking of alcohol , recent surgery, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function and certain medications.

So it doesn’t neccessarily follow that D-Ribose can cause gout or kidney stones but caution should be exercised and it’s sensible that any new symptoms should be discussed with a doctor.

Warnings for use of D-Ribose:

pic by stewf on Flickr

pic by stewf on Flickr

Those with gout or high levels of uric acid should avoid using D-Ribose.

Diabetics should use D-Ribose only under a doctor’s supervision.

Hypoglycemics should exercise extreme caution in the use of D-Ribose.

Pregnant and nursing mothers should avoid using D-Ribose.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid supplemental D-ribose.

Supplemental D-ribose may cause hypoglycemia and elevation in uric acid levels. Those with gout should avoid supplemental D-ribose, and those with elevated uric acid levels and hypoglycemics should exercise extreme caution in its use. Those with diabetes should also exercise extreme caution in its use. And those diabetics who decide to try D-ribose must be under a physician’s supervision and have their blood glucose levels closely monitored and their antidiabetic medications appropriately adjusted, if necessary.

Reported adverse reactions include hypoglycemia, hyperuricemia, hyperuricosuria, diarrhea, nausea and headache.”

From guidance on vitmaker D-Ribose product

Typically persons with ME/CFS are sensitive to drugs and stimulants like caffeine and alcohol.  It’s not impossible to imagine that they can also be sensitive to D-ribose.

It may be “just a simple five-carbon sugar” but it seems the possible side effects, particularly for persons with ME/CFS, can be more than reported by some suppliers.

Like any drug or suppliment caution should be used.

My experience:

I’ve been taking D-Ribose for a year.  I take two doses of 5mg 5g (one scoop) daily. I have mistakenly said I take 10mg 10g doses on my blog in the past.  It is in fact 5mg 5g doses.

pic by pckux on flickr

pic by pckux on flickr

I find D-Ribose gives me a small but beneficial energy boost.

My condition has improved in the last year but only a few percentage points of the ability scale.  My concentration has improved a great deal and my cognitive disfunction is not as big a problem.  I recover from exertions faster than before I started D-Ribose.  An exertion that used to take me 4-5 days to recover from now takes more like 1 or 2 days.

I am still ill with ME.  I am still pretty much housebound and unable to attend to routine personal care tasks on my own.  D-Ribose has not been a miracle suppliment for me.

I found taking D-Ribose in the evening (after 5pm) can cause me problem with getting to sleep.  I take 5mg in the morning and 5mg in the afternoon around 3pm.

I have had gastric problems persistently for the year I have been using D-Ribose including constipation, lots of gas, pain beneath my rib cage (possibly gas, possibly gallbladder), stomach and bowel cramping and spasms.  An IBS friendly diet and lately probiotics (Lactobacillus) seem to be helping with gastric disturbances but neither is a cure.  I did have similar bowel and stomach problems before I started D-Ribose although it feels different to before.

I have no way of knowing whether D-Ribose is responsible for any improvement or any side effect like gastric problems.

I cannot know whether these are a co-incidence, directly related to D-Ribose use, or indirectly from D-Ribose allowing an slight increase in activity promoting it’s own improvement and/or it triggering unwanted side effects.

What does alarm me slightly on a personal level about the uric acid link with D-Ribose is that I have gout and kidney stones in my immediate family.  That and there’s reasearch which suggests you can have an inherited problem with processing uric acid and thus be prone to complications.

D-Ribose is an expensive suppliment.  I think it’s worth experimenting by stopping taking it for a month or so to see what effect this has.


I am not an expert or a doctor. This post collates information I have read on the internet.

D-Ribose hasn’t been scientifically proven to help persons with ME/CFS but research has shown persons with ME/CFS have disfunction in the cells which D-Ribose has been shown to aid.

Dr Teitelbaum conducted a survey in 2006 which found it was effective for treatment of CFS and FM but it was  not placebo controlled and was conducted on a small group.

66% of the 41 participants found the supplement helpful and it produced improvement in all the areas tested: energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity and well-being

D-Ribose can have side effects especillay in large doses (10mg or over).

You should avoid taking D-Ribose if:

  • you are diabetic
  • you have gout
  • you have high levels of uric acid
  • you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • you are hypoglycemic use only with extreme caution

Side effects can include:

  • hypoglycemia or transient hypoglycemia
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • headache
  • high levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia) which could possibly leading to gout
  • high levels of uric acid excreted in the urine (hyperuricosuria) which could possibly lead to kidney stone

Anectdotally reported side effects also include:

  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • migraine
  • abdominal pain
  • difficulty getting to sleep
  • increased pulse and blood pressure
  • detoxing or antioxidant reaction
  • herx reactions (fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, skin problems)
pic by -lif- on flickr

pic by -lif- on flickr

Persons with ME/CFS or FM may find D-Ribose to be beneficial.  Caution should be exercised and you should check the warnings.  If you take D-Ribose and experience any new symptoms you should consult with a doctor.

My previous posts on D-Ribose can be found here:

D-Ribose – Week 14

Time for an update on how the D-Ribose plan is going. 

I’ve been taking D-Ribose for 14 weeks, along with 200mg of Q10 and around 500mg of L-Carnitine. I started on 3 x 10g a day for the first 4 weeks and ever since 2 x 10mg.

I take the first D-Ribose dose first thing in the morning and the second dose around 3pm.  Any later and it seems to add to my trouble with getting off to sleep.

After 14 weeks I can say that D-Ribose is not a miracle worker – at least it’s not an instant solution.  But I certainly feel a benefit.

I’ve described before how most mornings I feel quite wiped out when I wake up (not uncommon for ME/CFS). Half an hour to an hour after that first D-Ribose dose I feel less heavy, less exhausted.  Very slowly I am doing a tiny bit more as the weeks pass.  It’s very hard to measure and it’s such a tiny improvement I am sure only people who have experienced debilitating fatigue will recognise it as a cause for note at all!

I’m sorry I can’t quantify the effect for you. I know that sounds like a cop out.

But on days when everything feels heavy often the D-Ribose takes the edge off that.  By my second dose around 3pm on those heavy days I feel ready for the dose and it’s enough to keep the edge off until late evening. 

When I have done perhaps a little too much the D-Ribose offers little respite.  But the ‘payback’ for such exertions seems to last for a shorter time than before D-Ribose.  Perhaps a day or two to recover from seeing a friend on a better day instead of 3 or 4 days (or longer) as before.

So I also seem to have more frequent better days.  At least better in terms of feeling reasonably OK at rest during the main part of the day.

I have another 2-3 weeks of taking the high dose Q10. Or at least deciding whether I need to continue with this (rather costly!) suppliment for more than 4 months.  I do not know if the current problems with IBS, constipation (and adverse reactions to foods which previously in my ME/CFS have not been a problem) are connected to taking Q10 or L-Carnitine or even my body healing – OR if these symptoms are merely a new phase of my illness that co-incide.

So, as always, I am rather inconclusive!  But I thought I had better report where I am at – good, bad or difficult to quantify!

In case you did a search and arrived here other posts of mine on this that might interest you:

D-Ribose – Week 1

D-Ribose – Week 2

D-Ribose – Week 3

Around 1 month – Dangerous Days

Suppliments I am currently taking

The Vitamins and Supplements Quandry

I’ve just restocked on most of my regular vitamins and suppliments.  A change to my regular immune focused multi-vitamin (a new formula) has meant I’ve needed to double check I’m taking safe doses of everything.

Isn’t the internet (and world) full of contrasting information?  Or should that be opinion?

I am either:

  • optimising my nutrition and immune system
  • not taking high enough doses of stuff to have an impact
  • taking too high or too regular a dose of stuff and so setting myself up for toxic levels of substances, comprimising my immune system, and possibly other health complications
  • or I am making very expensive wee because we can’t absorb tablet supplements anyway

Sigh.  Even my books on CFS/ME by doctors disagree on which to take and even if to bother at all.

So I am shuffling striding boldly forwards, taking safe doses of various supplements because they haven’t given me any ill effects in the last 18 months and because I’ve just bought another 3 months supply! 

Oh and because when I stopped taking them last year I caught my first ME cold which developed into a chest infection which took me 3-4 months to get over.

This post is about me the suppliments I which  choose to take.  It’s not plucked out of thin air – I have done research and there are reasons why I do and don’t take certain things (right now).  I’m not an expert.  I’m just sharing my list for interest only.  Ok then.

Here’s my current list of pills and potions I take daily:

  • Immune supporting Multi-vitamin (including selenium, vitamin E, K, B1, B2, B6, folic acid, cystine, chromium and bioflavanoids amongst others) – Vitabiotics Immunance from ChemistDirect
  • L-Carnitine – 500mg (+30mg from muti-vit) – Lifeplan L-Carnitine 500mg from Lifeplan
  • Vitamin D (D3 cholecaliferol) – 500iu (+400iu from multi-vit) – Higher Nature Vitamin D 500 iu from GoodnessDirect
  • B12 – 1000ug (+14ug from multi-vit) – Lifeplan High Strength B12 1000ug from Lifeplan or GoodnessDirect
  • Magnesium with calcium – 66mg (+50mg from multi-vit) – I can take more if nauseous. Lifeplan Magnesium with calcium 500mg from Lifeplan


  • Zinc – I’m now getting 15mg from my multi-vit so will only suppliment additional 15mg if I am fighting a virus – Lifeplan Zinc Amino Acid Chelate 15mg  from Lifeplan
  • Vitamin C – 1000mg (+ 150mg from multi-vit) – Natures Aid Low Acid Vitamin C 1000mg from SimplyNatural. I may start taking this every few days as some suggest it can have a bad effect having it daily.  This is the one brand that doesn’t irritate my stomach when taken at high doses.

Plus currently:

  • D-Ribose – 10g twice daily – ATP Pure D-Ribose 250g from MuscleForm
  • Co-Enzeyme Q10 – 200mg daily – Natures Aid Q10 100mg from QuickVit
  • Probiotic (lactobacillus sporogenes) – 3 times daily – Higher Nature Lactogest 90 tablets from GoodnessDirect
  • AllicinMax – 1 a day – Allicin International (not, I repeat not Health Perception) from QuickVit

I have also tried in the past:

  • N-Acetyl Cysteine 600mg daily
  • Astragalus (I will start taking this again soon)
  • Omega 3, 6 and 9 (fish and flax seed derived)
  • High doses of AllicinMax/Allimax

I shop around for deals on the vitamins/brands I use and have used UK based suppliers including

My preferred brands are:

  • Lifeplan
  • Nature’s Aid
  • Higher Nature

I find generic supermarket and Holland & Barratt can make me feel bloated, sluggish or irritate my stomach.

I eat daily fresh fruit, vegetables and protein.  Drink water, peppermint tea, fennel tea and a small glass of grape juice.  Take very little and only occasional dairy, wheat, sugar, deep fried anything. No alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, red or dark meat,  eggs.  Avoiding MSG and artificial sweeteners wherever possible.

Here I am being as careful as possible, being as healthy as possible and still stuck at being at my lowest health ebb of my life. 

It used to frustrate me when I read about what CFS people took to help when they were clearly still very ill.  But I know without being careful and without taking control of my nutrition things would be much worse.  There’s always going to be someone who tells me I should be taking x suppliment and someone else telling me I shouldn’t.  I think this is more of an art than a science.

I do know that whenver I write “nutrition” my brain always thinks “nuture” instead.

D-Ribose – Week 3

According to Dr Teitlebaum in his “From Fatigued to Fantastic” book you should know within 2-3 weeks whether D-Ribose is going to be of any benefit to you.  That means that although it’s an expensive suppliment you only need buy one standard tub in order to find out if it works.

I’m not doing star jumps.  I’m not suddenly feeling 10% better than I was before D-Ribose.  BUT I can definately feel a benefit.

This last week I’ve felt really wiped out, like someone has wrung me out of all my energy.  I wake in the morning feel more exhausted than ever.  I look at my arms and wonder how I’m going to get them to do anything today.  Then Growler asks if I want a cup of tea (peppermint of course) and I suddenly remember II’m about to get my first D-Ribose of the day.

WIll it work today?  Surely not because my arms are so weak and I feel so utterly devoid of energy.

I reckon within half an hour of that first cuppa with my 5 mg 5g D-Ribose dose in the limp arms are doing what I ask of them and I’ve forgotten how utterly rubbish I felt when I woke up.  It doesn’t give me enough energy to get up and do anything different to my normal routine but it definately lifts some of the weight pressing down on me – it definately gives my battery a little trickle of a charge.

I figure that hopefully this means it’s also giving my body a little boost to fight whatever infection, inflammation or thingymabob that ravages my body under this CFS label.

So I’ve ordered more and I plan to continue using it for the forseeable future.  I’m reluctant to move the dosage down to two 5mg doses a day just yet especially as I’ve introduced additonal nutritional suppliments slowly after icky gastric problems a month ago.  So I’ll bend the rules and stick with three daily doses for the next week and then go to two a day.

The only bad side effect seems to have been I’m not sleeping very well.  It’s taking me around an hour on average to get off to sleep, I’m having vivid dreams and am restless through the night. then wake up feeling heavy and dozey and actuallly – ready for bed!

This could be a side effect of the D-Ribose or could be another new/revisited symptom in my ME/CFS wheel-of-symptoms.  I seem to also have faulty cognitives this week (mainly showing in mixing up words and mumbling internal thoughts out loud).  Plus my glands are aching for the first time in months and months.  Sigh.   Tender glands in my neck where one of my most prominent symptoms back when this bout of moderate/severe ME kicked in.

Anyway – good news about the D-Ribose so far.  Hoping to see more progress over the coming weeks but even the tiniest of boosts feels significant to me!


Push It 11 Sep 2011

for ME Research

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