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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Ribose for Sports & Fitness
Some athletes say that ribose helps improve recovery from intense exercise.
Ribose is used in the body to make adenine nucleotides, which are important components of the high energy compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Intense exercise depletes ATP and adenine nucleotides, and ribose supplementation can help restore normal levels of these components more quickly.
Ribose is a type of sugar used by the body to make the energy-containing substance adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Intense exercise depletes muscle cells of ATP as well as the ATP precursors made from ribose,1, 2 though these deficits are typically replaced within minutes.3 Unpublished reports suggested that ribose supplementation might increase power during short, intense bouts of exercise.4, 5 However, in a double-blind study, exercisers took 4 grams of ribose four times per day during a six-day strength-training regimen, and no effects on muscle power or ATP recovery in exercised muscles were found.6 In two other controlled studies, either 10 grams of ribose per day for five days or 8 grams every 12 hours for 36 hours resulted in only minor improvements in some measures of performance during repetitive sprint cycling.7, 8
No known side effects have been reported from the use of ribose when consumed in amounts of less than 10 grams per day. Larger amounts may cause gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea,9 and may lower glucose levels,10 although it is not known whether symptoms of hypoglycemia might result.
Ribose is present in small amounts in many foods of plant or animal origin.
Last Review: 03-18-2015
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