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D-Ribose

Muscle energy

D-Ribose

  • Is a 5 carbon monosaccharide [sugar]
  • D-ribose is a part of the adenosine triphosphate molecule which is the energy currency of cells.
  • The body can manufacture ribose from glucose in the Pentose Phosphate Pathway [PPP]--- this is a slow process which requires an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G- 6-PDH), an enzyme that is typically in short supply.
  • The Pentose Phosphate Pathway is variable between organs and Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G- 6-PDH) is an enzyme that has limited expression in the heart with significant delay in the production of ribose via glucose if there is injury to the heart12.
  • Supplemental ribose by-passes this enzymatic step to rapidly replenish ATP levels in heart and muscle.

Energy from ATP

  • When cells need energy, hydrolysis of ATP occurs to either ADP [adenosine diphosphate] or AMP [adenosine monophosphate]

Increasing ATP using Ribose

  • Strenuously exercised muscle may have lowered levels of ATP by 20%1,2
  • It may take 3 - 4 days to replenish these ATP levels1,2
  • Supplementing with ribose can increase the store of ATP by up to 4 times3

D-ribose a 'Conditionally Essential' Nutrient?

  • Human cells can manufacture D-ribose.
  • However, when muscle has been stressed by injury or due to high energy demands, the cells may not be able to produce enough D-ribose for ATP production. In other words, the cells have trouble keeping up with the demand for this simple sugar.
  • Some nutritional scientists thus classify D-ribose  as “conditionally essential” --- the body needs D-ribose to be supplied in the diet in conditions of acute stress such as a heart attack, angina or heart failure or severe muscle stress and injury4.

D-ribose in heart disease

  • Numerous studies have shown increased ATP levels in heart muscle on supplementing with D-ribose5, 6,7,8,9,12.
  • A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology stated:
    'Ribose, a pentose monosaccharide, has shown to replenish low myocardial energy levels, improving cardiac dysfunction following ischemia, and improving ventilation efficiency in patients with heart failure10.'
  • After a heart attack the loss of blood supply [ischaemia] and the reperfusion that follows is accompanied by a significant drop in ATP levels.
  • Damaged heart muscle may in fact go into a 'hibernated' state awaiting a time when energy levels are high enough to allow the tissue to function normally again. An amazing study showed how D-ribose infusion may 'awaken' areas of ischaemic heart11.

Use in exercise

  • D-ribose can be taken before, during or after high-intensity exercises.
  • This will accelerate replenishment of ATP that can become depleted during intense exercise.
  • This may help you prevent that muscle ache or marked tiredness felt after exercise.

Dosage

  • 5 grams two to three times a day can be used for heart conditions or peripheral vascular disease.
  • 5 grams pre and post-exercise can also be used to help supply and restore ATP levels.

What you should know

  • D-ribose can mildly lower blood glucose levels.
  • Care should thus be taken by insulin-dependent diabetics. 
  • Always discuss any supplementation with your doctor
  • To offset the glucose lowering effect, you can take D-ribose with meals, or mixed into juice, milk, or added to fruit or cereals.

Link to references

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ATP 3D Model