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


Overview Information

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

Ribose is used for heart disease, mental function, athletic performance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it 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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Heart disease. Giving ribose intravenously (by IV) seems to improve the heart's ability to contract in people with heart disease. Taking ribose by mouth seems to be beneficial for decreasing chest pain and improving the heart's ability to manage low blood flow in people with heart disease.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). Taking ribose by mouth seems to improve quality of life and some measures of heart function in people with CHF.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Athletic performance. Taking ribose by mouth, alone or with other supplements, does not seem to improve power, muscle strength, or athletic performance in trained or untrained people.

Likely InEffective for

  • A rare, inherited disorder that causes muscle pain and cramping (McArdle disease). Taking ribose by mouth does not appear to improve exercise ability in people with McArdle disease.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Some early research shows that taking ribose by mouth might improve energy, sleep, and sense of well-being in people with CFS.
  • Surgery to improve blood flow to the heart (CABG surgery). Some early research shows that people who take ribose by mouth immediately before surgery have better heart function after surgery.
  • Fibromyalgia. Early research shows that taking ribose by mouth can improve energy, sleep, sense of well-being, and pain in people with fibromyalgia.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Early research shows that taking ribose by mouth does not appear to improve mental function during tasks that cause mental tiredness.
  • An inherited disease that affects muscles used for movement (myoadenylate deaminase deficiency or MAD). Research in a few people with MAD suggests that taking ribose by mouth might help prevent cramping, pain, and stiffness after exercise.
  • A disorder that causes leg discomfort and an irresistible urge to move the legs (restless legs syndrome or RLS). Some early research shows that taking ribose by mouth with meals improves symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
  • Seizures not caused by epilepsy. Some early research shows that taking ribose by mouth might improve behavior and reduce the number of seizures in people with seizures caused by a deficiency of the chemical adenylosuccinase.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ribose for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Ribose is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken for up to 3 weeks. 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 for longer than 3 weeks.

When given by IV: Ribose is LIKELY SAFE when administered by a healthcare provider.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if ribose is safe to use when 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.

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.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Insulin interacts with RIBOSE

    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) interacts with RIBOSE

    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.

Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

  • Alcohol interacts with RIBOSE

    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 interacts with RIBOSE

    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) interacts with RIBOSE

    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) interacts with RIBOSE

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

  • Salsalate (Disalcid) interacts with RIBOSE

    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.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • For heart disease: 60 grams daily for 3 days has been taken under the direction of a healthcare provider.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF): 5 grams three times daily has been taken for up to 8 weeks.
  • For heart disease: A 10% ribose solution may be given at a dose determined by a healthcare provider.

View References


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  • Earnest, C. P., Morss, G. M., Wyatt, F., Jordan, A. N., Colson, S., Church, T. S., Fitzgerald, Y., Autrey, L., Jurca, R., and Lucia, A. Effects of a commercial herbal-based formula on exercise performance in cyclists. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004;36(3):504-509. View abstract.
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  • Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., and Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. Am.J Physiol Regul.Integr.Comp Physiol 2004;286(1):R182-R188. View abstract.
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  • Salerno, C., D'Eufemia, P., Finocchiaro, R., Celli, M., Spalice, A., Iannetti, P., Crifo, C., and Giardini, O. Effect of D-ribose on purine synthesis and neurological symptoms in a patient with adenylosuccinase deficiency. Biochim.Biophys.Acta 1-6-1999;1453(1):135-140. View abstract.
  • Sawada, S. G., Lewis, S., Kovacs, R., Khouri, S., Gradus-Pizlo, I., St Cyr, J. A., and Feigenbaum, H. Evaluation of the anti-ischemic effects of D-ribose during dobutamine stress echocardiography: a pilot study. Cardiovasc.Ultrasound 2009;7:5. View abstract.
  • Shecterle, L., Kasubick, R., and St, Cyr J. D-ribose benefits restless legs syndrome. J Altern.Complement Med 2008;14(9):1165-1166. View abstract.
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  • Foker JE, Einzig S, Wang T. Adenosine metabolism and myocardial preservation. Consequences of adenosine catabolism on myocardial high-energy compounds and tissue blood flow. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1980;80:506-16. View abstract.
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  • Geisbuhler TP, Schwager TL. Ribose-enhanced synthesis of UTP, CTP, and GTP from parent nucleosides in cardiac myocytes. J Mol Cell Cardiol 1998;30:879-87. View abstract.
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  • Hegewald MG, Palac RT, Angello DA, et al. Ribose infusion accelerates thallium redistribution with early imaging compared with late 24-hour imaging without ribose. J Am Coll Cardiol 1991;18:1671-81. View abstract.
  • Hellsten-Westing Y, Norman B, Balsom PD, et al. Decreased resting levels of adenine nucleotides in human skeletal muscle after high-intensity training. J Appl Physiol 1993;74:2523-8. View abstract.
  • Kerksick C, Rasmussen C, Bowden R, et al. Effects of ribose supplementation prior to and during intense exercise on anaerobic capacity and metabolic markers. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2005;15:653-64. View abstract.
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  • Omran H, Illien S, MacCarter D, et al. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. Eur J Heart Fail 2003;5:615-9. View abstract.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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