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Do you ever feel rundown, exhausted, or just plain tired? If so, you're not alone. Fatigue is a common issue these days, impacting millions of people. And often, it's caused by a deficiency in a vital nutrient called D-ribose.
D-ribose is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the body and plays an important role in cellular energy production. It's essential for the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is responsible for providing energy to cells. But when levels of D-ribose are low, ATP production can suffer, leading to fatigue.
That's where supplements comes in. D-ribose supplements can help to fight fatigue by raising levels of this important nutrient and supporting ATP production. As a result, you'll feel more energetic, alert, and able to handle whatever life throws your way.
D-Ribose – The sugar molecule D-ribose plays a critical role in the body. DNA is the genetic material that contains information about all the proteins your body makes, as well as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), your cells' primary energy source. Although your body naturally produces ribose, some believe that taking D-ribose supplements can improve health or exercise performance.
Energy Stores and Your Cells
The main energy source for your cells is ATP, which is made up of D-ribose. Therefore, researchers have investigated whether ATP supplements can improve muscle energy stores. For one week, participants completed 15 all-out cycling sprints twice a day as part of an intense exercise program. For three days after the program, participants took approximately 17 grams of D-ribose or a placebo. Following these three days, researchers performed an exercise test consisting of cycling sprints to assess ATP levels in the muscles. The D-ribose group recovered to normal ATP levels after three days of supplementation, but the placebo group did not. (1)
D-Ribose, ATP and Your Heart
D-ribose is essential to the production of ATP in heart muscle, so it may improve energy production there. In several studies, D-ribose supplements have been found to improve heart function in people with heart disease. A study found that people with coronary artery disease who consumed 60 grams of D-ribose daily were better able to tolerate low blood flow during exercise. The same supplement was found to enhance the function of some heart chambers and improve quality of life in another study. In general, D-ribose appears to improve heart function and metabolism in people with heart disease. (2)(3)(4)(5)
D-Ribose and Physical Performance
D-ribose has been investigated as a supplement to improve exercise performance because of its role in ATP, the cells' source of energy. In those with specific diseases, D-ribose has been shown to be beneficial for exercise and energy production. Some studies have shown that performance-enhancing effects are possible for healthy individuals, but only for those with low fitness levels. (6)(7)
Participants with lower fitness levels took 10 grams of D-ribose per day compared to a placebo and experienced an increase in power output and less perceived exertion during exercise. The majority of research in healthy populations has not shown improvements in performance, despite these findings. In one study, the group that consumed D-ribose showed less improvement than the group that consumed dextrose as a placebo. Accordingly, D-ribose's performance-enhancing effects are likely to be limited in patients with certain diseases and low fitness levels. (8)
D-Ribose and Body Function
Healthy people may not benefit from D-ribose's ability to recover ATP levels in muscle tissue.
There are, however, some individuals who may benefit from D-ribose supplements due to genetic conditions that affect muscle function. Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD) or AMP deaminase deficiency causes fatigue, muscle pain, or cramps after physical activity. MAD prevalence varies substantially by race. Caucasians are more likely to suffer from this genetic muscular disorder than people from other ethnic groups. (9)(10)
The effects of D-ribose on people with this disease have been studied in some studies. People with this disorder have also reported improvements in muscle function and well-being in several case studies. People with MAD experienced less post-exercise stiffness and cramps after taking D-ribose, according to a small study. (11)
A daily intake of 10-60 grams of D-ribose, often divided into separate doses, does not appear to cause significant side effects.