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D-Ribose: Your Muscle-Energy Switch

“Cells cannot function or survive without energy, and energy cannot be produced without ribose to make ATP and other nucleotides.”

—Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D., University of Colorado


No matter what supplements you take or how intense your workout is, without enough energy, everything you attempt can be quickly derailed. D-Ribose is a naturally occurring sugar that kick-starts energy production and it’s found in all cells. It jump-starts the inborn metabolic processes that produce adenosine triphosphate, the major fuel that your cells use to carry out physical work and sustain life’s processes. D-ribose is ATP’s energy ignition switch and continually reignites that process.

Muscle cells tend to have a problem making and regenerating ribose fast enough to keep up with demand during high-intensity exertion. Current data show that no specific food sources can assist in replenishing D-ribose stores the way carbohydrates replenish glycogen. If you don’t supplement D-ribose, your ability to make sufficient ATP is severely compromised.

The importance of that fact cannot be understated. Clinical studies demonstrate that the recovery and resynthesis of the adenine-ribose component of ATP speeds up muscle recovery by 300 to 600 percent.

Researchers have conducted more than 300 studies on D-ribose, and apparently, it regenerates very slowly. Stephen Sinatra, M.D., C.N.S, a nationally known cardiologist who integrates conventional medicine with complementary nutritional, psychological and supplemental programs, reminds us that athletes place an enormous burden on their muscle-energy metabolism during high-intensity workouts. In the process of repeated hypoxic episodes of exercise, the energy reserves of the muscle are depleted, which compromises the muscle’s health. The correlating factor between heart patients and athletes is the ability to speed up muscle recovery, which centers on the long, drawn-out process the body uses to make ribose. Supplement with D-ribose, and you can get the process started almost immediately.

In a recent study reported in The Journal of Current Therapeutic Research, bodybuilders who supplemented with 10 grams of ribose for four weeks dramatically improved their muscle strength and overall workout performance. In a related study, 16 bodybuilders were randomly given 10 grams of ribose a day for four weeks. At the beginning of the trial researchers recorded the ability of the ribose group and the group not supplementing with ribose to do 10 consecutive sets of lifts before muscle fatigue set in. At the end of four weeks the bodybuilders who were taking D-ribose had a 29.8 percent increase in maximum lift capacity vs. 7.4 percent for the placebo group.

Suggested dose: Take three to five grams of D-ribose before and after exercise every day to maintain constant ATP production and regeneration.

Ribose also can improve heart health. Sinatra mentions that ischemia causes hearts to lose up to 50 percent of their ATP, and even when blood flow and oxygen are restored to normal, it would take otherwise healthy hearts about 10 days to rebuild energy stores. In cases where ribose was supplemented, however, replenishment of heart muscle energy reserves occurred in one to two days.




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