Ribose is a natural monosaccharide in the body and cannot be directly found in foods. On average, a person has 1.5 mg of ribose per deciliter of blood at any given time. Ribose is a part of the structure of the vitamin B2 (riboflavin). So, foods high in vitamin B2 may increase ribose level in the body (see “Vitamin B2” under the section of “Vitamins”).
Athletic Benefits of Ribose:
Ribose is highly important to maintain ATP pool in the body at its highest possible level. ATP pool is a vital factor for the skeletal muscles and heart to function optimally and keep their maximum performance.
During intense exercise and cardiac ischemia (poor blood flow to the heart), the muscles and heart use ATP for contraction. ATP breaks down into ADP, generating energy. The body use ribose and phosphate to make ATP from ADP.
As high-intensity exercise and ischemia continue, the creatine kinase system fails to maintain ATP requirements, because ribose production is a slow process and cannot keep up with the energy lost during high intensity exercise and ischemia. Under normal circumstances, the skeletal muscles may need several days to replace completely the ribose lost during an intense exercise. Therefore, an external ribose supplementation helps replace ribose quickly, which yields to a quick ATP production.
To produce ATP, ribose functions in collaboration with phosphate. Thus, supplementing ribose along with creatine monohydrate results in a good outcome.
Potential athletic benefits are:
- Increases ATP re-synthesis.
- Enhances muscle power and strength.
- Elevates muscle tolerance to high intensity exercise.
- Improves recovery.
- Delays exhaustion time and post - exercise exhaustion.
- Improves endurance.
Non- Athletic Benefits of Ribose:
Ribose is used in the following conditions:
Dosage, Side Effects, and Interactions:
Ribose is available in the market as powder, tablet, and capsule. The powder form is more cost effective, as higher dose is required as a sport – performance enhancer. It is recommended to start with 5 grams a day, and you could increase 2 – 3 grams a day until the maximum dose of 20 grams a day is achieved. You can start taking ribose from about 10 minutes before exercise to 30 minutes after exercise.
In case of experiencing muscle soreness and cramps after exercise, take ribose 5 – 10 grams before exercise and continue taking additional 3 – 4 grams every 20 – 30 minutes.
Ribose seems to be a safe product, as it is a natural sugar in the body and can be easily excreted via urine if there is too much of it in the body. Though up to 50 – 60 grams of ribose per day could be well tolerated, it may cause some side effects including diarrhea, stomach discomfort, nausea, headache, and low blood sugar level in some users.
Ribose has interactions with anti – diabetic medications (including insulin) and beta – blockers. Taking ribose along with them may cause blood sugar level to drop too low.