January 07, 2015  



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A " not-so-new' supplement that's good for the heart, and more.

By now you may have heard about ribose, a "new" supplement which recently hit the health food store shelves. Research shows that it may be good for the heart and be beneficial to athletes, too. Find out, here, what it is and if it can help you.


Ribose: what is it, and what can it do for you?


Ribose is a simple sugar, also known as D-ribose, which (among other things) stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound which occurs in all living cells and releases energy when it is broken down. In his book, D-Ribose: What You Need to Know, Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D., explains, "We need ATP to make our heart beat, to give our muscles power when we demand it, and to maintain our everyday lives."

Is supplementation the only way to get ribose? While the body can manufacture ribose ~ by converting it from glucose, another simple sugar ~ Burke says this process is very slow, taking as long as several days. Supplemental ribose, on the other hand, "... goes directly to phosphoribosylpyrophosphate (PPRP) so that energy can be produced or conserved quickly."

While ribose has only recently become available as a supplement, it has been studied for many years. As to why it has not been available as a supplement sooner, Burke says, "... the cost of manufacturing this important nutrient was too high to make it commercially available." Now, however, there is a cost-effective method to produce ribose.

Ribose and the Heart: The most impressive research on ribose is that which relates to heart health. One study, conducted on men with coronary artery disease, was published in The Lancet. First, the men took a preliminary treadmill test for two consecutive days. Then, for three days, half of the men took ribose and half took a placebo (sugar pill), with neither group knowing whom was taking what. On the last day, the treadmill test was conducted again. The researchers found that (1) the men who supplemented with ribose were able to exercise longer than those in the placebo group could before their electrocardiogram readings changed, and (2) ribose supplementation improved the heart's tolerance to ischemia (inadequate blood flow to the heart).

Another paper, published in the journal Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, looked at the effect that ribose and other sugars had on PPRP levels (a substance essential for energy recovery, and, thus, ATP production) in the rat heart. The authors say that all the sugars they looked at, but especially ribose, "were [...] capable of elevating the [heart's] PPRP pool and stimulating the rate of [ATP

In an interview Burke commented: "The only side effect of ribose that I've seen in the literature [are] gastrointestinal problems, and that was only when they gave people high doses, like 60 grams daily vs. the recommended 3 to 6 grams daily. It's probably one of the most [safe] supplements available."

Additionally, he thinks ribose will probably show to be most helpful to people participating in "high-intensity" activities, such as sprinting, and will also prove to be useful in activities requiring intermittent high-intensity activity, such as soccer and basketball.

(*) Note. Anyone with a heart problem, or any other serious medical
problem, should advise their healthcare practitioner of any
supplements they are taking, including ribose.


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Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products offered are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Dietary supplements are intended solely for nutritional support and individual results may vary.
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