Fight your fatigue with French oak wood extract

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About 20% of us do not feel energized throughout the day. So much so that it interferes with normal life. (1) Despite adequate sleep and nutrition, this feeling of fatigue results in complaints ranging from depression to physical weakness, and body pain. 

Are you tired of being tired? In human studies oak wood extract reduced symptoms of fatigue, including weakness and exhaustion. (2-4) 

More energy, less pain and better mood

Scientists have found that an  extract of French oak wood contains compounds that can fight fatigue by working at the cellular level. This extract has been shown to help people with chronic fatigue syndrome or with less severe symptoms of fatigue. 

A team of Italian scientists conducted a study to assess the effects of oak wood extract in people with fatigue. (5 ) One group of patients was treated with 200 mg daily of French oak wood extract for at least six months. A second group received no treatment.

The oak wood extract group experienced a: (5)

  • 44% reduction in un-refreshing sleep
  • 18% reduction in weakness and exhaustion
  • 29% reduction in short-term memory impairment
  • 63% reduction in muscle pain
  • 51% reduction in joint pain
  • 33% reduction in headaches
  • 47% reduction in tender lymph nodes in the armpit and neck

Untreated patients showed no significant changes.

The patients taking the oak wood extract were also found to have a: (5)

  • 51% reduction in sensitivity to noise, foods, medications, and chemicals
  • 38% reduction in dizziness
  • 58% reduction in depression
  • 49% reduction in mood swings
  • 40% reduction in weight fluctuation
  • 24% reduction in alcohol intolerance
  • 39% reduction in allergies
  • 29% reduction in visual disturbances

The participants were then evaluated using a standardized mood scale. Patients taking oak wood extract had significant reductions in negative items such as feeling gloomy, fed-up, grouchy, sad, or tired. 

These patients also reported significant increases in positive items, like feeling active, happy, peppy, caring, calm, and loving. (5)

On this scale, average overall mood scores in treated subjects rose from -6.93 at baseline to +4.32 after six months. For the untreated group, the average score only rose from -6.5 to -3.4. (5)

How does oak wood works?

Oak trees are known for their strength and durability. They can live for centuries. Their resilience comes, in part, from their production of compounds called roburins. These are protective tannins found only in oak trees. (6)

Researchers have studied how roburins affect human cells, and roburins from oak wood is foundt boost production of ribosomes needed for cellular protein synthesis. They discovered that roburins modulate genes involved in the production of ribosomes, (7) tiny cellular structures that create proteins and are closely involved in the functioning of every tissue, organ, and system. (8-10)

Alleviating mononucleosis-related fatigue

It’s often difficult to pin point a cause of fatigue. But a common one is infectious mononucleosis, or “mono.” Though it’s most widespread among teenagers, it can strike at any age, and affects older adults with intense symptoms such as fatigue and body pain. (11)

Scientists designed a clinical study to specifically evaluate the impact of oak wood on these symptoms. (12) All enrolled patients had recently experienced an episode of infectious mononucleosis that led to fatigue, high levels of oxidative stress, feelings of unwellness, and diffuse body pain. 

For four weeks, all patients received a program of diet and sleep hygiene counselling, along with a multivitamin supplement. One group also received 300 mg of oak wood extract daily. (12)

After four weeks, reductions in fatigue, malaise, body aches, and swollen neck lymph nodes were all significantly higher in the oak wood extract group compared to controls. Additionally, participants who received oak wood extract were able to return to normal activities 44% sooner than controls. 

Also, after four weeks, high levels of oxidative stress were present in over 50% of controls but in only 16.6% of oak wood extract recipients. Importantly, levels of inflammation-related white blood cells were significantly lower after four weeks in the oak wood extract group, and fewer in the oak wood group had excessive numbers of leukocytes, a specific type of white blood cell. (12)

Targeting burnout

Fatigue and exhaustion are characteristic symptoms of burnout, a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. (13)

To evaluate the effects of oak wood extract on this condition, scientists selected 108 people with burnout syndrome. For four weeks, half of them received 300 mg of the extract daily, while the others did not.

All 108 received dietary counselling, one gram of vitamin C per day, supplemental minerals including magnesium, and electrolyte drinks. (14)

The groups taking French oak wood extract had improved symptoms. 

Compared to the untreated group, they showed: (14)

  • Reduced strain from interactions at work
  • More effectiveness in their work and work relationships
  • Decreased emotional drain and intolerance
  • Decreased need for giving up
  • Higher levels of satisfaction
  • Greater enthusiasm and interest

Oxidative stress was also significantly reduced in the treated group. (14)

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (now called the National Academy of Medicine) proposed an updated set of diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. (15)

Three symptoms are required for diagnosis:

  • A significant loss of the ability to engage in pre-illness levels of regular activities, that lasts for more than six months and occurs with serious and new-onset fatigue that isn’t a result of exertion, and that is not resolved after rest.
  • Post-exertional malaise* (PEM) – symptoms get worse after physical, mental, or emotional exertion at levels that, before the illness, would not have been a problem. PEM often causes relapses that can last days, weeks, or longer. In some patients, something as simple as sensory overload (light and sound) can cause PEM. PEM symptoms typically get worse 12 to 48 hours after the activity or exposure.
  • Unrefreshing sleep* – patients with CFS may not feel rested or better even after a full night of sleep.

At least one of the following two manifestations must also be present:

  • Cognitive impairment – problems with thinking, memory, attention, coordination, and information processing. Cognitive problems can be made worse by exertion, effort, prolonged upright posture, stress, or time pressure, and may seriously compromise a patient’s ability to work or attend school full-time.
  • Intolerance of upright posture – certain symptoms get worse with upright posture, which can be measured with vital signs (heart rate and blood pressure, for instance), or head-up tilt testing. These symptoms include lightheadedness, fainting, increased fatigue, worsening of cognitive symptoms, headaches, or nausea. These symptoms improve, not necessarily completely, when lying down.
  • These symptoms must be present at least half the time and be of moderate to severe intensity.

Additional common symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain without swelling or redness
  • Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
  • A sore throat that is frequent or recurring
  • Chills and night sweats
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea
  • Allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, or medications

Many patients have difficulty working, attending school, exercising, and carrying out daily activities. Too often, doctors tend to overlook this condition, and up to 80% of those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome may not receive an accurate diagnosis. 

Some physicians even regard its symptoms as largely psychological or imagined.2 No effective drug exists to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. But French oak wood extract can provide a safe way to relieve a number of these symptoms, without a prescription. (16)

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1. Available at: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/fatigue/article_em.htm. Accessed July 16, 2020.
2. Ippolito E, Belcaro G, Luzzi R, et al. Robuvit(R): improvement of fatigue in medical convalescence. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 May;58(5):678-83.
3. Belcaro G, Saggino A, Cornelli U, et al. Improvement in mood, oxidative stress, fatigue, and insomnia following supplementary management with Robuvit(R). J Neurosurg Sci. 2018 Aug;62(4):423-7.
4. Orszaghova Z, Waczulikova I, Burki C, et al. An Effect of Oak-Wood Extract (Robuvit(R)) on Energy State of Healthy Adults-A Pilot Study. Phytother Res. 2015 Aug;29(8):1219-24.
5. Belcaro G, Cornelli U, Luzzi R, et al. Improved management of primary chronic fatigue syndrome with the supplement French oak wood extract (Robuvit(R)): a pilot, registry evaluation. Panminerva Med. 2014 Mar;56(1):63-72.
6. Available at: https://www.robuvit.com/fileadmin/robuvit/robuvit_brochure_EN_161_WEB.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2020.
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10. Yamashita D, Sano Y, Adachi Y, et al. hDREF regulates cell proliferation and expression of ribosomal protein genes. Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Mar;27(6):2003-13.
11. Available at: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/infectious-mononucleosis. Accessed July 23, 2020.
12. Hu S, Belcaro G, Ledda A, et al. Mononucleosis-related fatigue: supplementary management with Robuvit(R). Minerva Pediatr. 2018 Oct;70(5):425-9.
13. Available at: https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/. Accessed July 17, 2020.
14. Belcaro G, Hosoi M, Feragalli B, et al. Supplementation with Robuvit(R) in subjects with burnout associated to high oxidative stress. Minerva Med. 2018 Jun;109(3):211-7.
15. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/healthcare-providers/diagnosis/iom-2015-diagnostic-criteria.html. Accessed July 23, 2020.
16. https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2020/10/constantly-tired-oak-wood-fights-fatigue