3 Health Benefits of D-Ribose + Side Effects - SelfDecode Supplements (2024)

3 Health Benefits of D-Ribose + Side Effects - SelfDecode Supplements (1)

D-ribose is a sugar involved in producing energy in the body and is also the structural basis of DNA and RNA. As a supplement, it is commonly used to help with heart disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. Read on to see how this sugar may be an effective treatment for these conditions and others.

What Is D-Ribose?

D-ribose is a naturally occurring sugar present in all living cells. It is a key component in many biological pathways but is most active in glycation (bonding between a sugar and a protein or fat molecule) [1].

D-ribose, together with adenine, makes the adenosine molecule of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main storage and transportation unit of energy [2].

D-ribose is also used to make nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), two important molecules involved in cellular respiration.

D-ribose is also the key structural basis of RNA and DNA [3, 4, 5].

Health Benefits of D-Ribose Supplementation

There are many commercial D-ribose supplements, especially to increase athletic performance. However, the FDA hasn’t approved them for any conditions due to the lack of solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for supplements but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing with D-ribose.

Insufficient Evidence for:

1) Athletic Performance

D-ribose may enhance the recovery of energy reserves following inadequate blood supply to organs and tissues after high-intensity exercise [6].

In a study of 24 bodybuilders 10 grams/day of D-ribose for 4 weeks significantly increased bench press strength [7].

In another trial on 26 healthy people, the same amount of D-ribose improved power output while reducing perceived exertion and creatine kinase level (which are normally high after strenuous exercise) [8].

A multi-herbal supplement with D-ribose failed to improve performance in a small trial on 17 cyclists, but it supplied a much lower dose (2.4 – 4.8 grams/day of a blend also containing other ingredients) [9].

Despite its widespread use to increase athletic performance, only 2 small clinical trials back it up. The evidence to support this use is insufficient until larger, more robust clinical trials are conducted.

2) Heart Disease

Several studies found that D-ribose increases ATP levels in heart cells and improves heart function [10, 11, 12].

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which heart muscles don’t pump blood as well as they should. In a clinical trial of 15 congestive heart failure patients, D-ribose improved heart function [13].

D-ribose helped 20 men with stable heart disease to exercise longer without developing chest pains (angina) or ECG changes in another trial [14].

In mice, D-ribose and L-cysteine supplementation lowered blood LDL and other oxidized fat. It also reduced oxidative stress in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart [15].

However, D-ribose showed no benefits in treating chronic heart failure in healthy mice or in mice with elevated myocardial creatine [16].

The results are promising, but the evidence is insufficient to claim that D-ribose helps with heart disease. Further clinical research is needed.

3) Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A pilot study of 41 patients with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome found that 5 grams of D-ribose daily improved energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity, and well-being [17].

A case study found that 5 grams of D-ribose taken twice daily with other medications reduced fibromyalgia symptoms, which returned after one week of stopping D-ribose supplementation [18].

A single clinical trial and a case study are clearly insufficient evidence to support the benefits of D-ribose in people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. More clinical trials on larger populations are required.

Case Studies (Very Low to Lacking Evidence)

A few case studies document improvement of the following conditions with D-ribose supplementation:

  • Restless leg syndrome [19]
  • A rare genetic disorder with severe dexterity and motor retardation (adenylosuccinase deficiency) [20, 21]
  • Another genetic disorder in which the muscles cannot process the energy molecule ATP (myoadenylate deaminase deficiency) [22, 23]

Case studies can only be considered anecdotes with a much lower level of evidence than any clinical studies. Additionally, two of these conditions failed to respond to D-ribose therapy in some cases [24, 25].

Animal Studies (Lack of Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of D-ribose for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

Kidney Protection

D-ribose reduced kidney dysfunction and tissue damage caused by the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin in mice [26].

D-ribose also reduced kidney damage caused by lack of blood supply and decreased neutrophil activation in rats [27].

Brain Protection

D-ribose prevents the activation of pro-apoptotic (programmed cell death) genes in the hippocampus, demonstrating a neuroprotective effect in mice with irregular heartbeat [28].

Weight Loss

D-ribose increased gut motility in mice and increased energy expenditure, which decreases body weight [29].

Testicular Toxicity Caused by Aluminum

D-ribose (in combination with L-cysteine) reduced aluminum-induced testicular toxicity in rats [30].

User Experiences

The opinions expressed in this section are solely those of D-ribose users, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfHacked. SelfHacked does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers because of something you have read on SelfHacked. We understand that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

Most users reported taking D-ribose supplements for increasing their energy levels and athletic performance. A few took it to improve heart palpitations and muscle pain. Many of the users were happy with the results and reported less fatigue.

Dissatisfied users mainly reported that the supplement was less effective than they had expected or didn’t work at all. Others complained about its high price. A diabetic user reported experiencing adverse effects similar to those of sugar spikes and suspected these were due to D-ribose being obtained from corn sugar.

D-Ribose Dosage, Side Effects, Supplements


Because D-ribose supplements are not approved by the FDA for any conditions, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error.

Clinical studies have used between 5 – 15 g daily. When supplementing with 15 g it is advised to separate into three 5 g doses.

Side Effects

Keep in mind that the safety profile of D-ribose is relatively unknown given the lack of well-designed clinical studies. The list of side effects below is not a definite one, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side effects based on your health condition and possible drug or supplement interactions. Seek medical attention if you notice any severe or mild, persistent adverse effects after supplementing with D-ribose.

By inducing protein aggregation and rapidly producing AGEs (advanced glycation end products), D-ribose may be involved in cell dysfunction and cognitive impairments [31, 32].

Long-term oral administration of D-Ribose induced memory loss with anxiety-like behavior and also elevated Aβ-like deposition and Tau hyperphosphorylation associated with Alzheimer’s in mice [33].

3 Health Benefits of D-Ribose + Side Effects - SelfDecode Supplements (2024)


What are the benefits of taking D-ribose supplements? ›

ATP also supports muscle contraction (the tightening, shortening, and lengthening of muscles) and your body's nerve signals. 1 Also known as D-ribose, it is marketed as a nutritional supplement to reduce fatigue and improve athletic performance. It's also been studied for people with heart failure.

What are the side effects of taking D-ribose? ›

It can cause some side effects including diarrhea, stomach discomfort, nausea, headache, and low blood sugar. There isn't enough reliable information to know if ribose is safe to use long-term.

What does ribose do in the body? ›

D-ribose is a naturally occurring monosaccharide found in the cells and particularly in the mitochondria is essential in energy production. Without sufficient energy, cells cannot maintain integrity and function. Supplemental D-ribose has been shown to improve cellular processes when there is mitochondrial dysfunction.

Is D-ribose good for the kidneys? ›

Increasing D-ribose concentrations may also lead to increased ROS and cytokine levels, leading to podocyte inflammation and renal fibrosis.

Does D-ribose affect sleep? ›

In one study in 41 people with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, improvements in subjective pain intensity, well-being, energy, mental clarity, and sleep were reported after receiving 15 grams of D-ribose daily for 17–35 days (8).

Are D-ribose supplements safe? ›

Ribose may cause low blood sugar when combined with diabetes drugs. People who have or are at risk of low blood sugar levels should probably avoid ribose. Also, ribose should likely be avoided for at least two weeks before surgery.

What is the difference between ribose and ribose? ›

Ribose sugar has a hydroxyl (OH) group at position 2, whereas deoxyribose sugar has a hydrogen (H) atom at position 2. Due to this, deoxyribose sugar is more stable than ribose sugar.

Is ribose positive or negative? ›

Ribose is a monosaccharide and a carbohydrate and therefore will show a positive result when tested with Benedict's solution. Benedict's solution is blue in colour and will turn either green or yellow therefore indicating a positive test.

What is the use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia? ›

Conclusions: D-ribose significantly reduced clinical symptoms in patients suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

How long does it take for D-ribose to start working? ›

Effects should be seen within a few days. Whilst levels of energy improve and continue to improve then I recommend staying on 15 grams daily. At the point at which it levels off, experiment with lower maintenance doses.

Can D-ribose cause anxiety? ›

In summary, oral administration of D-Ribose leads to the impairment of cognitive ability and anxious behavior in mice.

Is ribose good for chronic fatigue? ›

D-ribose is a supplement sometimes recommended as a treatment for people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Also called ribose or Beta-D-ribofuranose, it's a type of sugar that your body produces naturally and is readily available in supplement form.

Who shouldn't take D-ribose? ›

D-ribose should not be used if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or if your blood sugar is sensitive to variations. If you use any prescription medications or other supplements that lower blood sugar levels, you should be extra cautious while taking both medications and D-ribose supplements.

What supplements are hardest on the kidneys? ›

You may need to avoid some vitamins and minerals if you have kidney disease. Some of these include vitamins A, E and K. These vitamins are more likely to build up in your body and can cause harm if you have too much. Over time, they can cause dizziness, nausea, and even death.

How often can you take D-ribose? ›

To improve the ability of people with coronary artery disease to exercise, the following D-ribose dosage by mouth has been studied: 15 grams four times daily taken one hour prior to exercise until the end of the exercise session. In other words, take three grams every 10 minutes during exercises.

What is 2 deoxy d-ribose used for? ›

Used in synthetic organic chemistry and natural product synthesis. Induces apoptosis by inhibiting the synthesis and increasing the efflux of glutathione. It is used for synthesis of optically active dipyrrolyl alkanols from pyrroles on the surface of montmorillonite KSF clay.

What is the most vitamin Di should take? ›

Unless your doctor recommends it, avoid taking more than 4,000 IU per day, which is considered the safe upper limit.

What's the most vitamin Di can take in a day? ›

4,000 IU

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