Forgot password?

Join NutriDesk


Muscle energy


  • 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.


  • 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

Please register it's quick and easy.

There is no obligation. Just click on the following link: Join NutriDesk then you can access the references through the link below.

QuickGuide Topic References


ATP 3D Model