Sugars, particularly glucose, are used by the body to produce energy, but some sugars have other functions within the body. D-ribose is a critically important sugar molecule produced in the body and used as a component of the nucleosides that make up DNA and RNA as well a component in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the nucleotide that acts as the body’s primary energy storage and transfer molecule. ATP provides the energy cells, and thus the body, requires for normal function, from biochemical reactions to muscle contractions.

Supplemental D-ribose can improve energy recovery in cells, which improves cellular function. This includes reduced post-exertional fatigue and recovery time, improved heart function, improved muscle recovery after exercise, and reduced muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

Side-effects may include gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, and low blood glucose levels. Contraindications include gout, kidney disorders, pregnancy and lactation, and sensitivity to sugars. Those taking anti-diabetes medications may experience hypoglycemia and should use caution when taking D-ribose.

Standard dosing is 1-5 grams 2-3 times daily. Dosages as high as 60 grams per day have been studied short-term without major side-effects. In most clinical trials, a loading dose of 5 grams three times daily was given for 5-7 days before decreasing the dosage to a lower maintenance dose; I prefer starting at a lower dose and slowly increasing to a maintenance dose. D-ribose powder can be added to beverages as a sweetener; capsules and chewable tablets are also available.

Disclaimer: The content herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is not meant to diagnosis, cure, or treat any medical condition. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding a medical condition and before starting new diets and dietary supplements. Not all diets or supplements are appropriate for all people or all health conditions.

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