Ribose

View the Heart Disease Slideshow

What other names is Ribose known by?

Beta-D-ribofuranose, D-ribosa, D-ribose, Ribosa.

What is Ribose?

Ribose is a kind of sugar that is produced by the body. It is used as a medicine.

Ribose is used to improve athletic performance and the ability to exercise by boosting muscle energy. It has also been used to improve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and coronary artery disease. Ribose has been used to prevent symptoms such as cramping, pain, and stiffness after exercise in people with an inherited disorder called myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD) or AMP deaminase deficiency (AMPD deficiency). Ribose has also been used to improve exercise ability in people with another inherited disorder called McArdle's disease.

Healthcare providers sometimes give ribose intravenously (by IV) as part of an imaging procedure used to measure the extent of damaged heart muscle in people with coronary artery disease. Ribose has also been used intravenously in patients with MAD to prevent symptoms such as cramping, pain, and stiffness.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Clogged heart arteries (coronary artery disease). Taking ribose by mouth seems to be effective for improving the heart's ability to manage low blood flow in people with coronary artery disease.
  • Myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD). Taking ribose by mouth or intravenously seems to be effective for preventing symptoms such as cramping, pain, and stiffness after exercise in people with MAD, also known as AMP deaminase deficiency (AMPD deficiency).

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Athletic performance. Research suggests that taking ribose supplements by mouth, alone or with other supplements, does not increase power or improve muscle strength in trained or untrained individuals.

Likely Ineffective for...

  • McArdle's disease (a genetic metabolic disorder). Research shows that taking ribose by mouth does not improve exercise ability in people with McArdle's disease.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Early research suggests that taking a ribose supplement (CORvalen, Valen Labs) by mouth might improve energy, sleep, and sense of well-being in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Mental function. Early research suggests that taking ribose by mouth for 8 days does not improve performance during tasks that cause mental fatigue.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). Early research suggests that people with congestive heart failure who take a ribose by mouth for 3 weeks have better heart function and improved quality of life.
  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Early research shows that people who take a ribose supplement by mouth immediately before surgery have better heart function after surgery.
  • Fibromyalgia. Early research suggests that taking a specific ribose supplement (CORvalen, Valen Labs) by mouth can improve energy, sleep, and sense of well-being and decrease pain in people with fibromyalgia.
  • A disorder that causes a strong urge to move ones legs (restless legs syndrome; RLS). Limited evidence suggests that taking ribose by mouth with meals improves symptoms in people with restless legs syndrome.
  • Seizures. Early research suggests that taking ribose by mouth might improve behavior and reduce seizure frequency in people with seizures caused by a deficiency of the chemical adenylosuccinase.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ribose for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuideHeart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes

Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes

How does Ribose work?

Ribose is an energy source that the body makes from food. There is some evidence that supplemental ribose might prevent muscle fatigue in people with genetic disorders that prevent sufficient energy production by the body. It might provide extra energy to the heart during exercise in people with heart disease.

Are there safety concerns?

Ribose seems to be LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for short-term use or when given intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare provider. It can cause some side effects including diarrhea, stomach discomfort, nausea, headache, and low blood sugar.

There isn't enough information about the safety of long-term use.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking ribose if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Ribose might lower blood sugar. When used along with diabetes medications that lower blood sugar, it might make blood sugar drop too low. It's best not to use ribose if you have diabetes.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Ribose might lower blood sugar. If you already have blood sugar that is too low, don't take ribose.

Surgery: Since ribose might lower blood sugar, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking ribose at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Insulin
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Ribose might decrease blood sugar. Insulin is also used to decrease blood sugar. Taking ribose along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Ribose might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking ribose along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Alcohol
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Alcohol might decrease your blood sugar. Ribose might also decrease your blood sugar. Taking ribose along with alcohol might cause your blood sugar to go too low.



Aspirin
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Ribose might decrease blood sugar. Large amounts of aspirin might also decrease blood sugar. Taking ribose along with large amounts of aspirin might cause your blood sugar to go too low. But this interaction probably isn't a big concern for most people that take 81 mg of aspirin a day.



Choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate)
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate) might decrease your blood sugar. Ribose might also decrease blood sugar. Taking ribose along with choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate) might cause your blood sugar to be too low. But it is not clear if this interaction is a big concern.



Propranolol (Inderal)
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Propranolol (Inderal) might decrease blood sugar. Ribose might also decrease blood sugar. Taking ribose along with propranolol (Inderal) might cause your blood sugar to go too low.



Salsalate (Disalcid)
Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Large amounts of salsalate (Disalcid) can cause blood sugar to become low. Taking salsalate along with ribose might cause blood sugar to become too low.

Dosing considerations for Ribose.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • To improve the ability of people with coronary artery disease to exercise: 15 grams four times daily. Beginning 1 hour before exercise until the end of the exercise session, 3 grams every 10 minutes has been used to reduce muscle stiffness and cramps caused by exercising.
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors