Ribose is a natural sugar found in all living cells, which begins the process by which cellular energy, or adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced. Ribose
and its related compound, deoxyribose, are the carbohydrates used to form DNA and RNA (ribose is used in RNA and deoxyribose is used in DNA).
Ribose provides every cell in the body with energy. It is one of the more popular supplements
among serious athletes, who take it to increase stamina and endurance and to help them recover from workouts more quickly. The theory is that ribose helps athletic performance by supplying cells in the muscle tissue with a continuous supply of ATP (energy). While there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from body builders and other athletes concerning the positive effects of ribose, clinical research in this area is still inconclusive. However, research has shown that ribose does indeed help speed recovery of the heart muscle after a heart attack, and improve blood flow to the heart in those affected by ischemia. Ribose supplementation has been used to support heart function and rejuvenate cardiac tissue after both heart attack and heart surgery.
Preliminary research indicates that ribose may also help promote recovery in those with illnesses characterized by ATP depletion, such as Huntington’s Disease (HD) and fibromyalgia. Part of its effectiveness may stem from the fact that it is a small molecule, and easily crosses the blood brain barrier.
Ribose is available in bulk powder, capsule, and tablet, and chewable tablet forms. It is also sometimes combined or “stacked” with creatine, another substance that helps keep the muscles supplied with ATP, in formulations marketed to professional body builders.
Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging. Although their have been no reports of overdose connected with ribose supplementation, there have been some reports of adverse reactions in some individuals taking ribose, including symptoms of hypoglycemia, hyperuricemia, hyperuricosuria, diarrhea, nausea, and headache. Diabetics must consult a physician about adjusting their medications before taking ribose supplements.