5 Emerging Benefits of D-Ribose (2024)

D-ribose supplements can offer health benefits for those with certain conditions like heart disease, fibromyalgia, or myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD). More research is needed, but emerging studies look promising.

D-ribose is a critically important sugar molecule.

It’s part of your DNA — the genetic material that contains information for all the proteins produced in your body — and also makes up part of your cells’ primary energy source, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Though your body naturally produces ribose, some believe that D-ribose supplements can improve health or exercise performance.

Here are 5 emerging benefits of D-ribose supplements.

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1. May Help Recovery of Energy Stores in Your Cells

D-ribose is a component of the structure of ATP, the main energy source for your cells.

For this reason, research has examined whether ATP supplements can help improve energy stores in muscle cells.

One study had participants complete an intense exercise program consisting of 15 all-out cycling sprints twice per day for one week.

After the program, participants took approximately 17 grams of D-ribose or a placebo three times per day for three days.

Researchers assessed ATP levels in the muscle over these three days and then performed an exercise test consisting of cycling sprints.

The study found that after three days of supplementing, ATP was recovered to normal levels in the D-ribose group, but not in those taking the placebo.

However, during the exercise test, there was no difference in performance between the D-ribose and placebo groups.

As a result, the significance of the improved ATP recovery with D-ribose supplements is not entirely clear (1).


After periods of intense exercise, D-ribose supplements may help recover stores of ATP in muscle cells. However, this may not directly translate into improved exercise performance.

2. May Improve Heart Function in People With Heart Disease

Evidence suggests that D-ribose may improve energy production in heart muscle, as it’s essential for ATP production (2, 3).

Several studies have examined whether D-ribose supplements improve heart function in people with heart disease.

One study found that 60 grams per day of D-ribose improved the heart’s ability to tolerate low blood flow during exercise in people with coronary artery disease (4).

Another study found that 15 grams daily of the supplement enhanced the function of some of the chambers of the heart and improved quality of life in those with the same disease (5).

Overall, studies demonstrate the potential of D-ribose for improving heart metabolism and function in people with heart disease (3, 6, 7).


Some evidence shows benefits of D-ribose supplements for those with low blood flow to the heart muscle, as seen in conditions like coronary artery disease. This is likely due to the role of D-ribose in producing cellular energy.

3. May Improve Symptoms of Certain Pain Disorders

Due to the association between some pain disorders and problems with energy metabolism, certain studies focus on whether D-ribose supplements can reduce pain (8).

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).

However, a noteworthy limitation of this study is that it did not include a placebo group and participants knew ahead of time that they were receiving D-ribose.

Consequently, the improvements could have been due to a placebo effect (9).

One other case study reported similar pain-reducing benefits of D-ribose supplements in a woman with fibromyalgia, but research in this area remains limited (10).

While some results are positive, the existing research on D-ribose supplements in pain disorders is insufficient to draw any definite conclusions. Additional high-quality research is needed.


D-ribose could be beneficial for treating certain pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia. However, research in this area is limited.

4. May Benefit Exercise Performance

Due to its important role in ATP, your cells’ source of energy, D-ribose has been examined as a supplement to improve exercise performance.

Some research supports the possible benefits of D-ribose in relation to exercise and energy production in those with specific diseases (4, 11, 12).

Other research has demonstrated possible performance-enhancing benefits in healthy individuals but only in those with low fitness levels.

Researchers particularly saw enhanced power output and lower perceived exertion during exercise when participants with lower fitness levels took 10 grams per day of D-ribose compared to a placebo (13).

Despite these findings, the majority of research in healthy populations has not shown improvements in performance (11, 14, 15, 16).

One study even showed that the group that consumed D-ribose showed less improvement than the group that consumed a different type of sugar (dextrose) as the placebo treatment (17).

Overall, the performance-enhancing effects of D-ribose are likely only seen in certain disease states and possibly those with low fitness levels.

For healthy, active individuals, evidence to support this supplement’s ability to improve exercise performance is weak.


Some studies have shown that D-ribose may enhance exercise performance in those with low fitness levels or specific diseases. However, research does not support these benefits in healthy individuals.

5. May Improve Muscle Function

While D-ribose may help recover ATP levels in muscle tissue, this may not translate to improved performance in healthy people (1, 11).

However, those with particular genetic conditions that affect muscle function may benefit from D-ribose supplements.

The genetic disorder myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD) — or AMP deaminase deficiency — causes fatigue, muscle pain, or cramps after physical activity (18, 19).

Interestingly, the prevalence of MAD varies substantially by race. It’s the most common genetic muscular disorder in Caucasians but much less common in other groups (18).

Some research has examined whether D-ribose can improve function in people with this condition (20).

Moreover, several case studies have reported improvements in muscle function and well-being in people with this disorder (21, 22).

Similarly, a small study found that people with MAD experienced less post-exercise stiffness and cramps after taking D-ribose (12).

However, other case studies have failed to find any benefit of the supplement in people with this condition (23).

Given the limited information and mixed results, people with MAD who are considering D-ribose supplements should consult with their healthcare provider.


Limited research has reported mixed results regarding the ability of D-ribose supplements to improve muscle function and well-being in people with the genetic disorder myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD).

Dosage and Side Effects

In general, very few side effects have been reported in studies of D-ribose supplements.

It’s been determined that single doses of 10 grams of D-ribose are safe and generally well-tolerated by healthy adults (24).

However, higher doses were used in most of the studies discussed in this article.

Many of these studies provided D-ribose multiple times per day, with total daily doses of 15–60 grams (1, 4, 5, 8, 22).

Although several of these studies did not report whether side effects occurred, those that did stated that D-ribose was well tolerated without side effects (8, 21, 22).

Other reputable sources have also reported no known adverse effects (25).


Daily intakes of 10–60 grams per day of D-ribose, often split into separate doses, do not appear to cause notable side effects or safety concerns.

The Bottom Line

D-ribose is a sugar molecule that makes up part of your DNA and the major molecule used for providing your cells with energy, ATP.

People with certain medical conditions may experience benefits from D-ribose supplements, including improved exercise performance and recovery of muscle cell energy stores after intense exercise.

However, benefits in healthy, active individuals are unsupported by science, and more research is needed.

If you fall into one of the specific groups discussed in this article, you may want to consider D-ribose supplements. If not, this supplement probably won’t offer substantial benefits.

5 Emerging Benefits of D-Ribose (2024)


5 Emerging Benefits of D-Ribose? ›

May Improve Symptoms of Certain Pain Disorders

What are the benefits of D-ribose? ›

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.

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.

What is the function of D-ribose? ›

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.

How can I get D-ribose naturally? ›

Ribose can be found in both plants and animals, including:
  1. Mushrooms.
  2. Beef and poultry.
  3. Cheddar cheese and cream cheese.
  4. Milk.
  5. Eggs.
  6. Caviar.
  7. Anchovies, herring, and sardines.
  8. Yogurt.
Apr 28, 2023

Is D-ribose hard on the kidneys? ›

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

Who should not 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.

Can D-ribose be taken long term? ›

It is likely safe for most people when taken for up to 12 weeks as medicine. 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.

How much D-ribose can I take a day? ›

Many of these studies provided D-ribose multiple times per day, with total daily doses of 15–60 grams (1, 4, 5 , 8, 22). Although several of these studies did not report whether side effects occurred, those that did stated that D-ribose was well tolerated without side effects (8, 21, 22).

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.

What are two functions of ribose? ›

Ribose is a kind of sugar that is produced by the body. It's a monosaccharide containing 5 carbon atoms. Very well known function of ribose is the synthesis of nucleic acids, particularly RNA. It's also used to improve athletic performance and the ability to exercise by boosting muscle energy💪.

Should I take D-ribose on an empty stomach? ›

One should be aware that taking d-ribose on an empty stomach may cause blood-sugar swings, and it is advised to consult a healthcare practitioner prior to starting the use of this supplement if there is proneness to blood-sugar problems.

Can I take D-ribose at night? ›

Most makers of these supplements recommend doses between one to 10 grams per day. When should I take D-ribose? If you're taking it for an exercise boost, a common recommendation is to take it with morning and evening meals or right before and right after physical activity.

What does D-ribose do for the heart? ›

D-Ribose helps myocardial cells, restoring ATP, increasing contractions and increasing the amount of blood flow into the heart, thus preventing “reperfusion injury” and free-radical damage to the tissue.

Can D-ribose cause anxiety? ›

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

Does ribose help your skin? ›

Ribose Description

They purport using ribose topically as a cell-energizer helps slow the development of signs of aging, including wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and dull complexion when used within the recommended amount between 0.5-1%.

What is the main function of ribose? ›

Ribose is a sugar that forms the backbone of a very important molecule called ribonucleic acid (RNA). RNA plays an essential role in helping translate genetic material from DNA to essential proteins for the organism.

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 the difference between ribose and D-ribose? ›

The structure of Ribose and Deoxyribose is almost identical, with just one difference. 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.

How does ribose help skin? ›

It is the only known cosmetic ingredient used by the skin cells to control energy restoration. Its action on cell metabolism restores energy to the skin for a global anti-ageing action and gives new energy to tired skin.

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