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    4 Benefits of D-Ribose Supplements

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    Many people use Ribose to treat conditions such as heart disease, mental health, athletic performance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and more. D-Ribose is a molecule of essential sugar. It is part of your DNA, the genetic material that contains information about all the proteins in your body, and it is also part of the primary energy source of your cells, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). While your body can produce ribose, some claim that supplementing with D-Ribose can improve exercise performance. Here are 4 crucial functions of D-ribose.

    1. May Improve Muscle Function

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    Although D-Ribose may help recover muscle ATP levels, this may not result in improved performance in healthy people [1], [2]. Supplementing with D-Ribose may benefit those with specific genetic conditions that affect muscle functions. After physical activity, the genetic disorder called myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD) or adenosine monophosphate (AMP) deaminase deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle pain, or cramps [3], [4]. Interestingly, MAD’s prevalence varies depending on race. It is the most common Caucasian genetic muscle disease, but much less common in populations [3].

    Some studies have investigated D-Ribose in people with this condition [5]. Several case studies in people with this disorder have reported improvements in muscle function and well-being [6], [7]. Similarly, after taking D-Ribose, a small study found that people with MAD had less stiffness and cramps after exercise [8]. However, other studies found no benefit from the ribose supplement [9]. Because the information was limited and mixed with results. Individuals with MAD who consider ribose supplements should consult with their health care providers. 

    D-Ribose supplementation may aid in the recovery of ATP levels, however, it may not result in increased performance in healthy people.

    2. May Improve Heart Function

    Evidence suggests that D-Ribose may improve heart health, as it is essential for the production of ATP [10], [11]. Several studies have examined it in people with heart disease. One study found that 60 grams of ribose per day in people with coronary artery disease increased the capacity of the heart to withstand low blood flow during exercise [12]. Another study found that 15 grams per day enhanced the function of the heart chambers and increased the quality of a life in those with the same disease [13]. Overall, studies show D-Ribose’s potential to improve heart function and metabolism in people with heart disease [11], [14], [15].

    According to some studies, D-Ribose, which is required for the production of ATP, may boost heart health.

    3. May Boost Exercise Performance

    D-Ribose has been studied as a supplement to improve exercise performance because of its important role in ATP, the energy source of your cells. Some studies support the benefits of ribose in those with specific diseases in relation to exercise and energy production [12], [2], [8]. Other studies have shown potential performance-enhancing benefits in healthy people, but only in those with low levels of energy [16]. Despite these findings, they have not showed performance improvements in most studies [2], [17], [18], [19].

    According to one study [20], the group consuming D-Ribose showed less improvement than the group consuming a different sugar (dextrose) as a placebo. D-Ribose’s performance-enhancing effects are only seen in some types of disease and probably those with low fitness levels. Evidence to support the ability of this supplement to improve exercise performance is limited. 

    D-ribose may increase athletic performance. Some research suggests that ribose may be beneficial to people suffering from certain conditions.

    4. May Help in Energy Recovery

    D-Ribose is a part of ATP’s structure, the cell’s key source of energy. Research has examined whether ATP supplements in muscle cells can help improve energy stores. In one study [1], participants completed an extreme training programme comprising 15 all-out cycling sprints twice per day for one week. Participants took about 17 grams of ribose or placebo three days three times a day. Researchers measured muscle ATP levels over these three days and then conducted a cycling sprint exercise test.

    The study shows that ATP restored to normal levels in the ribose group after three days of supplementation, but not in those taking a placebo. There was, however, no difference in performance between the D-Ribose and placebo groups during the exercise test. As a result, it is not clear whether ribose supplements improved ATP recovery.

    D-ribose may help with ATP recovery, which is the primary source of energy.

    Dosage and Side Effects

    D-Ribose supplements have reported very few side effects in particular. Single doses of 10 grams of ribose are safe and well-tolerated by healthy adults [21]. Most of these researches have used higher doses [1], [12], [13], [7], [22]. Many of these studies provided multiple times a day, with 15–60 grams of total daily doses. Although several of these studies did not report side effects. 

    D-ribose supplements are less likely to cause side effects in healthy people.

    Conclusion

    D-Ribose is a sugar molecule that is part of your DNA and the main fragment that supplies energy in your cells. People with certain medical conditions can benefit from D-Ribose supplements, such as improved exercise performance and recovery of energy stores after an intense exercise. Science does not support these benefits in healthy people. Consider D-Ribose supplements if you fall into one of the specific groups discussed in this article. If not, it is likely that this supplement will not provide any additional benefits.

    References

    1. Hellsten Y, Skadhauge L, Bangsbo J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Jan;286(1):R182-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00286.2003. PMID: 14660478.
    2. Kerksick CM, Wilborn CD, Roberts MD, Smith-Ryan A, Kleiner SM, Jäger R, Collins R, Cooke M, Davis JN, Galvan E, Greenwood M, Lowery LM, Wildman R, Antonio J, Kreider RB. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Aug 1;15(1):38. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y. PMID: 30068354; PMCID: PMC6090881.
    3. Goebel, H.H., Bardosi, A. Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency. Klin Wochenschr 65, 1023–1033 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01726321
    4. Patten BM. Beneficial effect of D-ribose in patient with myoadenylate deaminase deficiency. Lancet. 1982 May 8;1(8280):1071. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(82)92124-9. PMID: 6122873.
    5. Zöllner N, Reiter S, Gross M, Pongratz D, Reimers CD, Gerbitz K, Paetzke I, Deufel T, Hübner G. Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency: successful symptomatic therapy by high dose oral administration of ribose. Klin Wochenschr. 1986 Dec 15;64(24):1281-90. doi: 10.1007/BF01785710. PMID: 3102830.
    6. Wagner DR, Gresser U, Zöllner N. Effects of oral ribose on muscle metabolism during bicycle ergometer in AMPD-deficient patients. Ann Nutr Metab. 1991;35(5):297-302. doi: 10.1159/000177660. PMID: 1776826.
    7. Lecky BR. Failure of D-ribose in myoadenylate deaminase deficiency. Lancet. 1983 Jan 22;1(8317):193. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(83)92801-5. PMID: 6130241.
    8. Shecterle LM, Terry KR, St Cyr JA. The patented uses of D-ribose in cardiovascular diseases. Recent Pat Cardiovasc Drug Discov. 2010 Jun;5(2):138-42. doi: 10.2174/157489010791515241. PMID: 20236088.
    9. 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.
    10. W. Pliml, MD, T. von Arnim, MD, A. Stablein, MD, Prof E. Erdmann, MD, Prof H-G. Zimmer, MD, Prof H. Hofmann, MD, Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. August 29, 1992DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(92)91709-H
    11. 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.
    12. Pauly DF, Pepine CJ. Ischemic heart disease: metabolic approaches to management. Clin Cardiol. 2004 Aug;27(8):439-41. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960270802. PMID: 15346837; PMCID: PMC6654505.
    13. Bayram M, St Cyr JA, Abraham WT. D-ribose aids heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction and diastolic dysfunction: a pilot study. Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Jun;9(3):56-65. doi: 10.1177/1753944715572752. Epub 2015 Feb 19. PMID: 25701016; PMCID: PMC4439313.
    14. 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.
    15. Peveler WW, Bishop PA, Whitehorn EJ. Effects of ribose as an ergogenic aid. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Aug;20(3):519-22. doi: 10.1519/17355.1. PMID: 16937963.
    16. Kreider RB, Melton C, Greenwood M, Rasmussen C, Lundberg J, Earnest C, Almada A. Effects of oral D-ribose supplementation on anaerobic capacity and selected metabolic markers in healthy males. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Mar;13(1):76-86. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.13.1.76. PMID: 12660407.
    17. Kerksick C, Rasmussen C, Bowden R, Leutholtz B, Harvey T, Earnest C, Greenwood M, Almada A, Kreider R. Effects of ribose supplementation prior to and during intense exercise on anaerobic capacity and metabolic markers. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005 Dec;15(6):653-64. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.15.6.653. PMID: 16521849.
    18. Dunne L, Worley S, Macknin M. Ribose versus dextrose supplementation, association with rowing performance: a double-blind study. Clin J Sport Med. 2006 Jan;16(1):68-71. doi: 10.1097/01.jsm.0000180022.44889.94. PMID: 16377979.
    19. Thompson J, Neutel J, Homer K, Tempero K, Shah A, Khankari R. Evaluation of D-ribose pharmacokinetics, dose proportionality, food effect, and pharmacodynamics after oral solution administration in healthy male and female subjects. J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 May;54(5):546-54. doi: 10.1002/jcph.241. Epub 2013 Dec 16. PMID: 24272966.
    20. Teitelbaum JE, Johnson C, St Cyr J. The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.857. PMID: 17109576.
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    Naeem Durrani BSchttps://defatx.com/
    I am a retired pharmacist, nutrition expert, journalist, and more. My interests include medical research, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices, which empower people to transform their lives.
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