What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Ribose?

Ribose is a carbohydrate vital for the body's manufacture of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the major source of energy used by our cells.

Quite a few studies have been done on ribose, mostly relating to its potential usefulness for individuals with heart disease. When the heart is starved for oxygen, as can occur with a heart attack or angina , it loses much of its ATP, and its ATP levels remain low for several days, even after blood flow is resumed. 1 Scientists have found that supplying extra ribose in the blood helps restore the heart's normal ATP levels more quickly. This finding has raised hopes that ribose supplements might improve heart functioning and increase exercise capacity.

Ribose is better known as a sports supplement . However, current evidence indicates that...

Ribose may be of benefit in improving exercise tolerance in people with angina by helping the heart regenerate its ATP, but the evidence that it works remains highly preliminary. 2 One small study found evidence that ribose supplements might improve heart function in people with congestive heart failure . 3 Sports enthusiasts are more interested in ATP's effects on regular muscles than on the heart muscle. At least one animal study seems to show that skeletal muscle, like heart muscle, replenishes ATP more quickly when ribose is added to the blood. 4 In theory, this could lead to enhanced performance in high intensity anaerobic exercise, such as sprinting. However, six small double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in humans failed to find any benefit. 5 In one of these...

Safety Issues

There are no reports of lasting or damaging side effects from ribose, but formal safety studies have not yet been conducted. Reported minor side effects include diarrhea, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, and headache. 6