D-ribose is a form of sugar that is manufactured in the body using glucose and is found in the DNA and RNA of all living organism.

DNA is a strand of nucleotides that stores the genetic information of every cell in the body, while RNA is what actually translates that genetic information into usable proteins.

D-Ribose is also the substance that sets the production of ATP into motion. ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) is the usable form of energy in the body.

Among an almost endless list of functions, ATP is the primary energy source that is used during weight training workouts.

On top of this, d-ribose is also a component of vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Vitamin B2 is an important part of the key molecules involved in energy metabolism.

D-Ribose Benefits: What It’s Supposed To Do

The basic idea promoted by manufacturers of d-ribose is that increasing the consumption of this sugar will ultimately lead to a greater synthesis of the important energy producing substances in the body we just mentioned.

A greater amount of readily available ATP would increase energy and strength during workouts and would also enhance recovery ability following exercise.

Under typical conditions the body is forced to re-synthesize these compounds for use, and this is where d-ribose is said to be beneficial.

In theory, you would be able to train for longer periods of time, lift greater amounts of weight and recover at a faster rate in between training sessions.

D-Ribose Benefits: What Does The Actual Research Say?

So far the research on d-ribose and its effects on strength, energy and lean body mass are conflicting to say the least.

Most of the studies that have reported positive benefits from d-ribose use were conducted on individuals suffering from certain conditions that prevent them from synthesizing d-ribose to begin with.

It is obvious that introducing d-ribose to these people would have some sort of positive benefit, but it doesn’t tell us anything about its effects on normal, healthy trainees.

In fact, one study conducted on untrained individuals demonstrated that ingesting two grams of d-ribose every five minutes during intense exercise actually resulted in an increase in lactic acid production.

One study conducted on males receiving 5 grams of d-ribose both before and after performing a bench press did show a measurable increase in strength as compared to a placebo group, however, the majority of other studies conducted on athletes have shown mediocre to no effects at all.

Most of the real-world feedback is negative as well, with users reporting mixed results that mostly weigh to the negative side.

There are also two other reasons why supplementing with d-ribose should, in theory, be ineffective…

1) When d-ribose is manufactured naturally in the body through what is known as the “pentose phosphate pathway”, it is also synthesized alongside a substance called NADPH.

They are always made together from the same chain and in a specific ratio of 2 NADPH molecules to 1 ribose molecule.

It is highly possible that NADPH is actually needed in higher amounts than d-ribose, and that the formation of d-ribose from this chain may simply be for the purpose of forming NADPH.

For this reason, simply consuming a bunch of d-ribose on its own may not produce anywhere near the same effects.

2) In the natural pathway that d-ribose is synthesized in the body from, an additional phosphate group is always attached.

This additional group changes the function of the molecule dramatically, and there must be a reason why it occurs this way in the body. Because of this, consuming d-ribose on its own as a supplement may not reproduce the same effects.

The Bottom Line On D-Ribose For Now

At this time the simple truth is that we don’t know enough about d-ribose and its functions in the body to assume that supplementing with it will enhance body composition or performance in the gym.

The research is lacking, and the real-world feedback is generally negative.

At this time I would not recommend bothering with d-ribose as a muscle building or energy enhancing supplement.

It’s of course possible that with more future research we might uncover some real d-ribose benefits that aren’t currently known, but at this time I wouldn’t bother with it.

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