Ribose

tickPart of the Amino Acid group
tickBoosts energy
tickMuscle Builder
How does it work?
Ribose is found naturally in the cells of your body. It's used to quickly restore energy levels in muscles, leading to improved exercise performance and reduced muscle fatigue during high-intensity exercise, such as sprinting or weight training. Supplemental ribose has the potential to reduce the time it takes to recover from a bout of intense exercise from 1-4 days to 6-24 hours.
Who is it used for?
Competitive athletes training once or more per day could notice benefits such as greater sprinting speed, increased time to exhaustion, and faster recovery with regular ribose supplementation.
How does it work?
Ribose has been shown to increase levels of ATP, which is the bodies' energy 'currency' [4]. When you train hard on a regular basis, ATP levels become depleted - a little like taking money from your bank account. This is one of the reasons why you need to schedule sufficient rest in your programme. Researchers have found that ribose can help ATP 'rebuild' itself more quickly, leading to an improved rate of recovery between training sessions [2, 3].

Regular supplementation with ribose maximises ATP stores and increases cellular energy stores, improving exercise performance and preventing fatigue [1]. A recent trial shows that ribose supplementation increases power during repeated sprints [5]. Eight men were given four doses of ribose over a 36-hour period. The final dose was taken two hours before the subjects took part in an exercise test, which involved six 10-second sprints with 60 seconds of rest. Ribose supplementation led to performance improvements in four of the six sprints.

Similar results were shown in a study on cyclists carried out at Ball State University [1]. A group of 17 subjects were given ribose for three days prior to and during a series of exercise tests involving 15 10-second sprints twice daily for five days. Ribose improved performance during the last sprint session. The same research group also shows that daily supplementation with ribose prevents the decline in the total adenine nucleotide pool during recovery from exercise [6].

Ribose also accelerates recovery between workouts. During a hard training session, muscles can use oxygen faster than your bloodstream can supply it (scientists call this anoxia). When this happens, energy levels in your muscles drop quickly. It can take several days to restore them fully. Ribose rapidly rebuilds the energy levels in your muscles, allowing for faster recovery and growth.

Ribose has been studied as a therapy for cardiac ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart) for a number of years. The data indicate that ribose significantly improves heart function. Under conditions of restricted oxygen supply to heart and muscle tissue, ATP levels drop by as much as 50%. In patients with heart disease, supplemental ribose allows subjects to exercise for longer compared to subjects using a placebo supplement.

During intense exercise, ATP levels are reduced 10-20% and may be attributed to the loss of adenosine and inadequate resynthesis of ATP. In some muscle fibers, ATP may require 1-4 days to fully recover from exhaustive exercise. Supplemental ribose has the potential to increase the rate of adenosine production and ATP synthesis by approximately 3-4 fold, meaning that recovery of ATP stores can be reduced from 1-4 days to 6-24 hours. Because ribose is found in all cells of the body, it is considered to be safe. At supplemental doses, as much as 60 grams per day have been given with no significant side effects.
How do I use it?
The amount of Ribose used in the research to date varies widely. Most researchers believe that approximately 2 grams of Ribose daily is enough to boost muscle power, reduce fatigue and improve recovery.
What results can I expect?
Competitive athletes using ribose often report increased power output and increased time to exhaustion. The ability of the body to recover between workouts will also be significantly increased.
What can it be combined with?
The combination of ribose with other recovery-promoting supplements such as HMB and Glutamine may provide additional benefits in terms of improving speed and recovery.

1. Raue, U., Gallagher, P.M., Williamson, D.L., Godard, M.P., & Trappe, S.W. (2001). Effects of ribose supplementation on performance during repeated high-intensity cycle sprints. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 33, S44
2. Hellsten-Westing, Y., Norman, B., Balsom, P.D., & Sjodin, B. (1993). Decreased resting levels of adenine nucleotides in human skeletal muscle after high-intensity training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 74, 2523-2528
3. Tullson, P.C., & Terjung, R.L. (1991). Adenine nucleotide synthesis in exercising and endurance-trained skeletal muscle. American Journal of Physiology, 261, C342-C347
4. Muller, C., Zimmer, H., Gross, M., Gresser, U., Brotsack, I., Wehling, M., & Pliml, W. (1998). Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. European Journal of Medical Research, 3, 554-558
5. Berardi, J.M., Ziegenfuss, T.N., & Hall, B.T. (2000). Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance: a pilot study. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 32, S60
6. Gallagher, P.M., Williamson, D.L., Godard, M.P., Witter, J.R., & Trappe, S.W. (2001). Effects of ribose supplementation on adenine nucleotide concentration in skeletal muscle following high-intensity exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 33, S167

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