If you keep up with news from the supplement world, you might have noticed a new name cropping up with increasing frequency: D-ribose. It sounds very scientific, but what is it exactly, and why are so many athletes singing its praises? Here, we’ll take a look at what D-ribose is, where it comes from, and its potential benefits.
What is D-Ribose?
The short answer is that D-ribose is a type of sugar molecule, and it is vital to our health. The longer answer is that it is a naturally occurring five-carbon sugar, which is so important that it actually makes up part of our genetic material: RNA, the “messenger” that carries instructions for DNA.
What’s more, it is also a key component in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound that delivers energy to our cells, muscles and nerves. D-ribose is even sometimes known as the “molecular currency” because of its crucial role in transferring energy between cells.
Where Does D-Ribose Come From?
Our bodies naturally produce D-ribose through a metabolic process called the PPP (pentose phosphate pathway). However, the PPP is a slow process, and requires a specific enzyme (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) that is often in short supply at a cellular level. As a result, the production of D-ribose can often be delayed, leading to reduced levels of ATP, which can affect any number of systems and processes in the body.
As a result, supplemental D-ribose has grown in popularity recently, because it bypasses the PPP and thus the first few steps in the process of producing ATP. Think of it like using canned tomatoes in a recipe rather than peeling, chopping, and cooking them from scratch. Taken in this way, D-ribose has been seen to improve ATP availability at a cellular level.
Supplemental D-ribose is becoming increasingly popular in the supplement world among athletes who value its potential to fight fatigue, boost energy and improve blood flow.
What Are the Potential Benefits of D-ribose?
As D-ribose is relatively new on the supplement scene, we need more scientific research into its potential health benefits. However, initial studies have been promising, showing that D-ribose could have
Improved cell energy stores
In a study where participants took part in an intensive exercise program of cycling sprints, those who took D-ribose maintained normal levels of ATP, while those who took the placebo had reduced levels. However, there was no difference in athletic performance between those who took D-ribose and those who took the placebo.
Better athletic performance
A number of scientific studies have shown that, thanks to its important role in creating ATP, D-ribose can help to improve performance during exercise. However, most of these studies were among people with low fitness levels or certain diseases.
Reduced muscle soreness and improved recovery
Initial research suggests that D-ribose could help to reduce stiffness in muscles and speed up recovery post-exercise among people with a rare disorder known as myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD). While we need more studies to see how this would transfer to people without this condition, anecdotal evidence from athletes has been promising.
How to Take D-ribose
D-ribose occurs naturally in some mushrooms, such as cordyceps, as well as in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt, and in eggs and certain oily fish. However, it does not occur in very large quantities in these foods, which is why some people choose to supplement it instead.
We love D-ribose for its ability to replenish the cells with energy, which is why we’ve included it in our Power Up product as part of our proprietary Inside-Out Energy Complex along with green tea leaf, cordyceps, rhodiola, and full-spectrum, water-soluble hemp, along with lots of other adaptogenic goodness.