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What is ribose? Why do we need it?

Ribose is a monosaccharide, a type of sugar which is produced naturally in the body and is derived from glucose. Along with a related compound, deoxyribose, it helps form one of the building blocks of various nucleic acids.

Ribose plays an important role in the synthesis of many substances, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA), and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Preliminary research conducted in both animals and humans has shown that ribose supplements can speed up the regeneration of ATP in muscle cells and cells that have been deprived of oxygen. As a result, ribose may be of use to endurance athletes or bodybuilders in that it can reduce instances of fatigue and stimulate performance. There is also anecdotal evidence that ribose can reduce the severity of angina and other forms of chest pain.

How much ribose should I take?

Many manufacturers recommend between 1-10 grams of ribose per day to increase athletic performance and reduce fatigue. Make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider about recommended daily doses of ribose.

What forms of ribose are available?

Ribose is present in various foods and plants. It can also be found as a supplement at some health food stores.

What can happen if I take too much ribose? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

No adverse side-effects have been reported in individuals consuming up to 10 grams of ribose per day. However, larger doses may cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and intestinal gas. High daily intake of ribose may also reduce blood glucose levels. If this occurs, discontinue use and consult with a licensed health care provider.

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions associated with ribose. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking ribose or any other dietary supplement or herbal remedy.


  • Berardi JM, Ziegenfuss TN. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res Feb 2003;17(1):47-52.
  • Falk DJ, Heelan KA, Thyfault JP, et al. Effects of effervescent creatine, ribose, and glutamine supplementation on muscular strength, muscular endurance, and body composition. J Strength Cond Res Nov 2003;17(4):810-6.
  • 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 Jan 2004;286(1):R182-8.
  • Kavazis AN, Sobota JS, Kivipelto J, et al. Ribose supplementation in maximally exercising thoroughbreds. Equine Vet J Suppl 2002;34:191-6.
  • Pauly DF, Pepine CJ. D-Ribose as a supplement for cardiac energy metabolism. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther 2000;5:249-58.
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