D-Ribose Review

What is ribose?

D-Ribose (or simply ribose) is a simple, 5-carbon monosaccharide, or pentose sugar. It is used by all the cells of the body and is an essential compound in energy metabolism. Ribose also provides the structural backbone of our genetic material, DNA and RNA, certain vitamins and other important cellular compounds.

Who needs supplemental ribose?

Everyone needs ribose. It is an essential ingredient in stimulating natural energy production. Research has shown that ribose promotes cardiovascular health, reduces cardiac stress associated with strenuous activity and helps athletes reach new heights. Ribose helps hearts and muscles maintain healthy energy levels, and it accelerates energy recovery when tissues are stressed by strenuous exercise, overwork, or disease. Whether you are a trained athlete, a weekend warrior or are concerned about your cardiovascular health, ribose may help give the energy boost your body needs.

How is ribose made in the body?

All the necessary compounds for life are made in the body through a series of complicated biochemical metabolic pathways. Ribose is no different. In the body, ribose is made from glucose (a simple 6-carbon sugar) through a metabolic pathway called the Pentose Phosphate Pathway (PPP) or Hexose Monophosphate Shunt (HMS). Unfortunately, in heart and muscle cells important enzymes that regulate the activity of this pathway are lacking. As such, forming ribose in heart and muscle cells is a slow process. This delay in ribose synthesis in heart and muscle tissues also delays energy recovery when energy pools have been depleted by disease or exercise.

How does the body derive cellular energy from ribose?

The physiologically functional form of ribose, called 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP), regulates the metabolic pathway that synthesizes energy compounds in all living tissue. This pathway is called the Purine Nucleotide Pathway (PNP). If PRPP is not available in sufficient quantity, energy synthesis slows and tissue recovery is delayed.

How does taking supplemental ribose aid in increasing cellular energy?

If the cellular energy pool is depleted by disease, overwork, or exercise it must be replaced. PRPP is required to stimulate the metabolic pathway used by the body to replenish these energy pools. Supplemental ribose bypasses the slow and rate limiting Pentose Phosphate Pathway, forms PRPP very quickly, and accelerates the process of energy synthesis.

What will ribose do for someone concerned about cardiovascular health?
Numerous medical studies conducted in the U.S. and Europe have shown that energy levels in the heart can be dramatically lowered by exercise, decreased blood flow associated with certain cardiac diseases, or by changes in normal cellular energy metabolism. Depleted cardiac energy stores may be associated with increased cardiac stress, reduced blood flow to the periphery of the body, fatigue, and decreased exercise tolerance. Ribose is the key nutrient for quickly restoring cardiac energy.

What is the recommended daily dosage of ribose?

For energy enhancement, ½ to 1 teaspoon (about 2 – 5 grams) is generally adequate. Ribose is mildly sweet and completely soluble. It mixes easily with your favorite juice, milk or other cold foods to maximize athletic performance, or to keep energy pools high during strenuous activity, slightly larger doses may be required. Ribose should be taken just before and just after exercise or activity. For extended exercise, an additional 1 – 2 grams per hour of exercise or activity may be helpful.

Are there any side effects associated with taking ribose?

There are two known side effects of taking ribose in doses of 10 grams or more on an empty stomach. 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. This side effect has only been reported when very large doses, greater than 10 grams, are taken. Total daily intake of ribose should be limited to 20 grams, or approximately 4 rounded teaspoonfuls. Ribose should be taken in doses up to 5 grams (approximately 1 rounded teaspoon) at a time. Multiple 5- gram doses separated by 30 – 45 minutes can be taken without side effects.

What will ribose do for someone who exercises on a regular basis?

Scientific research shows that three or four workouts per week may not allow enough rest time between sessions for heart and muscle energy pools to return to normal levels. Taking ribose shortens the time needed by heart and muscle tissue to replace energy that is lost through vigorous exercise. Keeping energy pools full helps to keep hearts and muscles in good physiological condition, increase power and endurance, and reduce fatigue. Recent research has also shown that ribose supplementation during exercise reduces free radical formation and lowers cardiac stress associated with hypoxia.

Does ribose work with creatine or other supplements?

Ribose can increase the effect of creatine and other energy supplements by keeping the energy pool at full capacity. Creatine works by recycling energy that is already present in the tissue. Another supplement, carnitine, aids in fatty acid metabolism. Others, such as pyruvate and coenzyme Q10, also help to recycle energy. None of these other supplements, however, help to actually make the energy compounds the cell needs to maintain a healthy energy pool. Only ribose performs this important metabolic function. Unless there are adequate levels of energy to work with, no other supplement can be fully effective. Keep this in mind: Ribose helps the body actually make energy, while other supplements may help the body use energy more efficiently.

Why is the use of ribose on the rise?

Traditionally, ribose has been very expensive to produce making it difficult to offer as a nutritional supplement. New technology has brought production costs down. Ribose is safe and proven effective by many clinical and laboratory studies. Over 70 scientific publications describe the beneficial effects of ribose in hearts and muscles.

Energy Claims

• Ribose speeds energy recovery.
• Ribose increases energy reserves.
• Ribose builds ATP in heart and muscle.
• Ribose maintains healthy energy levels in heart and muscle.

References:?

1. Pauly DF, CJ Pepine. D-ribose as a supplement for cardiac energy metabolism. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Therapeut, 5(4):249-258, 2000.?
2. Wagner DR, U Gresser, N Zollner. Effects of oral ribose on muscle metabolism during bicycle ergometer in AMPD-deficient patients. Ann Nutr Metab, 35:297-302, 1991.?
3. Zarzeczny R, JJ Brault, KA Abraham, CR Hancock, RL Terjung. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Appl Physiol, 91:1775-1781, 2001.
4. Brault JJ, RL Terjung. Purine salvage to adenine nucleotides in different skeletal muscle fiber types. J Appl Physiol, 91:231-238, 2001.?
5. Gallagher PM, DL Williamson, MP Godard, J Witter, SW Trappe. Effects of ribose supplementation on adenine nucleotide concentration in skeletal muscle following high-intensity exercise. Med Sci Sport Exc, 33(5 suppl), 2001.?
6. Skadhauge-Jensen L, J Bangsbo, Y Hellsten. Availability of ribose is limiting for ATP reynsthesis in human skeletal muscle after high-intensity training. Med Sci Sport Exc, 33(5 suppl), 2001.?
7. Wagner DR, N Zollner. McArdle's disease: Successful symptomatic therapy by high dose oral administration of ribose. Klin Wochenschr 69:92, 1991.?
8. Zollner N, S Reiter, M Gross, D Pongratz, CD Reimers, K Gerbitz, I Paetzke, T Deufel, G Hubner. Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency: Successful symptomatic therapy by high dose oral administration of ribose. Klin Wochenschr 64:1281-1290, 1986.?
9. Patten BM. Beneficial effect of D-ribose in patient with myoadenylate deaminase deficiency. The Lancet, May:1071, 1982.

Cramping and Soreness Claims

• Ribose relieves post-exertional muscle cramping and soreness.

References:

1. Wagner DR, N Zollner. McArdle's disease: Successful symptomatic therapy by high dose oral administration of ribose. Klin Wochenschr 69:92, 1991.?
2. Zollner N, S Reiter, M Gross, D Pongratz, CD Reimers, K Gerbitz, I Paetzke, T Deufel, G Hubner. Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency: Successful symptomatic therapy by high dose oral administration of ribose. Klin Wochenschr 64:1281-1290, 1986.?
3. Wagner DR, U Gresser, N Zollner. Effects of oral ribose on muscle metabolism during bicycle ergometer in AMPD-deficient patients. Ann Nutr Metab, 35:297-302, 1991.

Heart and Quality of Life Claims

• Quality of life is enhanced by taking ribose.?• Ribose increases tolerance to cardiac stress.?• Ribose improves exercise tolerance and physical function.
• Ribose provides healthy levels of cardiac energy needed to maintain normal heart function.

References:

1. Omran H, S Illien. Ribose improves myocardial function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients. J Mol Cell Cardiol, 33(6):A173, 2001.?
2. Pauly DF, CJ Pepine. D-ribose as a supplement for cardiac energy metabolism. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Therapeut, 5(4):249-258, 2000.?
3. Illien S, H Omran, D MacCarter, JA St. Cyr. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB J, 15(5):A1142, 2001.
4. Pliml W, T von Arnim, A Stablein, H Hofmann, H-G Zimmer, E Erdmann. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet, 340:507-510, 1992.?
5. Grant GF, RW Gracy. Therapeutic nutraceutical treatments for osteoarthritis and ischemia. Exp Opin Ther Patents, 10(1):1-10, 2000.

Physical Performance Claims

• Ribose improves physical performance.?• Ribose increases athletic performance.

References:

1. Williamson DL, MP Goddard, SW Trappe. Effects of ribose supplementation on performance during repeated high-intensity cycle sprints. Med Sci Sport Exc, 33(5 suppl), 2001?
2. Van Gammeren D, D Falk, J Antonio. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: A double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Cur Therapeut Res, 63(8):486-495. 2002.?
3. Patten BM. Beneficial effect of D-ribose in patient with myoadenylate deaminase deficiency. The Lancet, May:1071, 1982.

Metabolic Stress Claims

• Ribose decreases free radical formation during exercise.
• Ribose increases the hypoxic threshold of tissue.
• Ribose increases cardiac efficiency and lowers stress during exercise.

References:?

1. Seifert JG, A Subudhi, M-X Fu, KL Riska, JC John. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med, 33(Suppl 1):S269, 2002.
2. Segal S, J Foley. The metabolism of D-ribose in man. J Clin Invest, 37: 719-735, 1958.?
3. Bierman EL, EM Baker, IC Plough, WH Hall. Metabolism of D-ribose in diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, 8(6):455-458, 1959.
4. Steinberg T, RL Poucher, RK Sarin, RB Rees, G Gwinup. Oran administration of D-ribose in diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, 19(10):11-16, 1970.?
5. Zimmer H-G, H Ibel. Ribose accelerates the repletion of the ATP pool during recovery from reversible ischemia of the rat myocardium. J Mol Cell Cardiol, 16:863-866, 1984