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D-Ribose Supplements: The Energy Booster

This dietary supplement works at the cellular level to combat fatigue and increase energy.
d-ribose supplements for energy boost

Overview

In order for our bodies to produce energy, ribose, carbohydrate, or sugar, is a critical component. Made from blood glucose, it is a key component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy compound.

Key Benefits

  • Supports ATP production
  • Supports athletic performance
  • Helps reduce chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Supports stamina and endurance
  • Supports heart health
  • Patients with congestive heart failure benefit from an improvement in diastolic function and overall well-being.
  • May reduce muscle soreness after exercise

History of Usage

Ribose was discovered in 1909 by Walter Jacobs and Phoebus Levene, who also discovered DNA (1929). Ribose has only been commercially available as a nutritional supplement in the past two decades. Supplementation with D-ribose improves ATP recovery and reduces cellular damage in humans and other animals, respectively. Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and myocardial dysfunction have all been successfully treated with D-Ribose. It is also used to improve athletic performance and to alleviate post-exercise symptoms such as cramping, pain, stiffness, etc.

Biochemistry

For ATP production, the pentose pathway uses D-ribose, a naturally occurring monosaccharide. DNA, ribonucleic acid (RNA), acetyl coenzyme A, and ATP are all based on this 5-carbon chain (also known as aldopentose). As ATP production is essential for cell survival, D-ribose is produced by the pentose-phosphate pathway (PPP). D-Ribose is also a key component of riboflavin, deoxyribonucleic acid, and ribonucleic acid. It is rapidly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. 

It’s possible that D-ribose supplementation could help to improve cellular bioenergetics in many diseases or conditions.

D-ribose can be obtained by eating mushrooms, beef and poultry, cheddar and cream cheese, milk, eggs, caviar, anchovies, herring, sardines, and yogurt. However, it’s difficult to get the amount needed from food sources to meet the doses recommended by nutritional supplement companies.

Recent Trends

D-ribose supplement is especially popular in powder form, single-serve packets, chewables, and capsules and tablets for athletes who wish to have energy boost, muscular strength, and performance.

Precautions

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with a healthcare practitioner before taking D-ribose.
  • Possible side effects include stomach issues, headache, and low blood sugar.
  • Individuals who take blood glucose-lowering medications should not take D-ribose.
  • Stop taking D-ribose at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
References
  1. Teitelbaum JE, Johnson C, St Cyr J. Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, Dallas, TX, USA. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  2. ​​Cao W, Qiu J, Cai T, Yi L, Benardot D, Zou M. Effect of D-ribose supplementation on delayed onset muscle soreness induced by plyometric exercise in college students. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2020 Aug 10;17(1):42. 
  3. Seifert JG, Brumet A, St Cyr JA. The influence of D-ribose ingestion and fitness level on performance and recovery. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Dec 20;14:47. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0205-8. PMID: 29296106; PMCID: PMC5738882.
  4. Mahoney DE, Hiebert JB, Thimmesch A, Pierce JT, Vacek JL, Clancy RL, Sauer AJ, Pierce JD. Understanding D-Ribose and Mitochondrial Function. Adv Biosci Clin Med. 2018;6(1):1-5. 
  5. Pauly DF, Pepine CJ. D-Ribose as a supplement for cardiac energy metabolism. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Oct;5(4):249-58. doi: 10.1054/JCPT.2000.18011. PMID: 11150394.
  6. Omran H, McCarter D, St Cyr J, Lüderitz B. D-ribose aids congestive heart failure patients. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004;9(2):117-118.
  7. Omran H, Illien S, MacCarter D, St Cyr J, Lüderitz B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. Eur J Heart Fail. 2003 Oct;5(5):615-9. doi: 10.1016/s1388-9842(03)00060-6. PMID: 14607200.
  8. Herrick J, St Cyr J. Ribose in the heart. J Diet Suppl. 2008;5:213–217. doi: 10.1080/19390210802332752. 
  9. Teitelbaum, Jacob E.; Johnson, Clarence; St Cyr, John (26 November 2006). “The use of ᴅ-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study”. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 12 (9): 857–862.