High-intensity exercise can deplete cellular energy levels faster than they can be replaced by the body. But cellular energy recovery is not just a concern for athletes. It can be critical for patients suffering from chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia, diastolic heart dysfunction leading to congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy and fatigue syndrome.

D-ribose plays a critical role in energy synthesis and recovery, which helps restore muscle's physiological condition, reduces cellular damage and limits free radical formation. It is a naturally occurring monosaccharide with a carbonyl group located at the end of its 5-carbon chain, making it an aldehyde derivative, or an aldopentose. This simple sugar is a structural component of important nucleotides in living cells. For instance, ribose-5-phosphate, the product of the pentose phosphate pathway, is in turn converted to 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP), which is the primary driver in the formation of new purine nucleotides, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and its precursors. In other words, D-ribose-5-phosphate is essential for the synthesis of ATP, cyclic nucleotides, RNA and DNA.

D-ribose supplements are available commercially. One product containing D-ribose is sold under the brand name CORvalen, and is produced by Valen Labs Inc., a subsidiary of Bioenergy Inc.

How D-ribose Works

Pathological conditions such as hypoxia (i.e., a deficiency of oxygen to the body's tissues) or ischemia (i.e., localized tissue anemia due to lack of arterial blood flow) cause nucleotide metabolites to permeate through cellular membranes, resulting in the loss of these important compounds. Regeneration of nucleotides is dependent on the pentose phosphate pathway, which is very slow and energy inefficient. The regeneration process is further hampered by the severity of certain pathological events.

Supplemental D-ribose is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and subsequently into muscle tissue, where it is phosphorylated by the enzyme ribokinase and becomes ribose-5-phosphate. Administration of ribose has shown significant results toward accelerating ATP replenishment through increased PRPP availability. This increase in ATP concentration is accompanied by an increased energy potential in the cell known as “energy charge.” Restoration of cellular energy charge also restores cardiac and skeletal muscle functions. Clinical data shows that ribose supplementation can improve heart function, increase exercise tolerance and improve the quality of life in heart patients.

Although ribose is a sugar, it does not increase blood glucose levels or stimulate large spikes in insulin secretion. Instead, ribose recharges cellular energy, which enhances protein synthesis, promotes the creation of lean body mass and helps maintain muscle tone. Ribose has GRAS status and can be used in a variety of applications including: sports, energy and health beverages; fruit juices; flavored drinks and drink mixes; soft drinks; nutrition and energy bars; meal replacements; dairy products and cereal. NS


Omar H, et al., D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 5:615-619.

Pliml W, et al., Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 340:507-510.

For more information:
Valen Labs Inc., a Bioenergy Inc. Company, Minneapolis
Sarah Johnson • 763-757-0032 • sjj@valenlabs.com