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Sports Supplements - Ribose and Athletic Performance

Does Ribose Improve Athletic Performance?

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Updated October 15, 2007

Ribose has many important roles in physiology. Among them, ribose is a necessary substrate for synthesis of nucleotides, and it is part of the building blocks that form DNA and RNA molecules. The role that is most focused on in the supplement crazed performance enhancement world is that ribose is essential to regenerate ATP, the energy of the body.

Ribose Claims

  • Increases the synthesis and reformation of ATP
  • Improves high power performance
  • Improves recovery and muscle growth
  • Quickly restores energy levels in heart and skeletal muscles

Research Shows

  • Ribose does improve the heart's tolerance to ischemia in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • There is no evidence of an ergogenic effect in healthy individuals
  • There is no research published in peer-reviewed journals that shows an athletic performance benefit

Tips and Cautions

  • The only research that supports a ribose supplement comes from research on patients with heart conditions who lack the ability to synthesis ribose in the first place.

The bottom line on ribose is that there is still a great deal of research to be done before any claims of athletic performance benefits can be made unequivocally. You'd be wise to save your money and put in some time at the gym rather than relying on this supplement just yet.

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