A type of sugar your body uses for fuel, D-ribose is marketed for sports performance and commonly found in powder form. The powder is typically mixed with water or another beverage. Aside from athletic enhancement claims, D-ribose may have therapeutic benefits for patients with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
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What It Is
D-ribose is a form of carbohydrate that plays a critical role in adenosine triphosphate production. ATP is a high-energy molecule and a major source of energy for all the body's cells. Its role in helping the body produce energy led to its use as a sports supplement. While this carbohydrate is present in plants and animals, the amount in food is too low for proposed benefits. The typical recommended dose for sports performance is between 1 and 10 grams daily, according to New York University Langone Medical Center.
Not Effective for Sports Performance
Even though D-ribose helps your body produce energy, this may not translate into improved athletic performance, according to a December 2005 study in the "International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism." Researchers examined the effect of D-ribose before and during intense exercise on healthy male cyclists. The study found D-ribose supplementation failed to influence exercise capacity or metabolic markers.
Benefits Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
D-ribose may not improve sports performance, but data suggests it has benefits if you have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Jacob Teitelbaum and his colleagues performed a study involving participants diagnosed with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia who took 5 grams of D-ribose three times daily for three weeks. D-ribose supplementation led to a 61 percent increase in energy, a 37 percent increase in well being, a 29 percent improvement in sleep, better mental clarity and decreased pain. The results were published in the 2012 edition of "The Open Pain Journal."
No serious adverse effects have been reported from taking D-ribose, reports NYU Langone Medical Center. Formal safety studies are currently lacking, however. D-ribose may cause minor side effects. These include nausea, headache, stomach discomfort, diarrhea and nausea, according to NYU Langone. Discontinue use if you experience worrisome symptoms you suspect are related to D-ribose.