Bodybuilding Fitness

Ribose, energy and muscle mass-the whole story

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: September 6, 2018
takes ribose

Is d-ribose useful for bodybuilding or other athletic pursuits?

takes riboseA lot of clinical research has proven that using D-ribose (the form of ribose-powder we have which is better than plain-ribose)  for bodybuilding may yield improved athletic performance capabilities.

The most compelling evidence is the ability to more quickly recover from strenuous workouts. It works well in combination with acetyl-l-carnitine.



Bodybuilding is an extemely energy-intense sport. Our muscles require enormous amounts of energy to lift heavy weights and then to grow and repair damaged muscle tissues.

This energy demand occurs during lifting and then in the recovery period afterwards. D-ribose-powder has been shown to shorten the recovery period following an exercise by improving energy metabolism in many studies.

Now with that SAID I’ll present the other side of the story too which is it might not “do anything” at all which is the conclusion of some bodybuilders mostly due to the fact that “they really don’t feel it.”

What is it?

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 organisms.

ATP is a nucleotide known as the “energy currency” of our cells, that has a ribose-sugar and three phosphate groups.

It is a high-energy molecule used by cells for energy storage.

In addition, ATP is an important element in the synthesis of nucleic acids. If this substance cannot be formed, the cellular energy is starved.

The availability of the d-ribose-sugar in cells is a vital factor in energy recovery that follows cellular stress.




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

  • The body’s main source of cellular energy is ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
  • Naturally-occuring-D-ribose is an integral building block for ATP, and it is required to stimulate the production of ATP.
  • Insufficient  bioavailability of this molecule causes insufficient ATP synthesis.
  • THAT causes cellular fatigue.

It makes sense IMHO that regardless of how intensely you work out, or which supplements you use, there must be enough energy meaning enough ATP.  Using D-ribose-powder for bodybuilding has a lot to do with ensuring that the raw materials are in place for constant production of ATP according to the “pro-ribose-literature.”

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

So far the research on this substance and its effects on strength, energy and lean body mass are somewhat conflicting.

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

It’s obvious that giving this substance to these people would have positive benefits, but it doesn’t tell us anything about its effects on healthy athletes.

Several studies conducted on males receiving 5 grams of supplemental powder both before and after performing a bench press or other equivalent exercise 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.

  • BUT when you do a careful literature review the more well-done studies were in favor of ribose-supplementation.
  • All in all about 60% of study subjects reported more regained energy and the ability to train harder and longer.
  • Real-world bodybuilder feedback is mixed due to the fact that some bodybuilders “don’t feel it.”
  • But it still is logical that if you supplement your ATP (energy) production you will increase (at least) your endurance to perform.
  • You might not “feel it’ like you feel other supplements but it just plain makes physiological sense.

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

The concept of using d-ribose-powders is that increasing the consumption of this sugar will ultimately lead to a greater synthesis of the important energy producing substance in the body  just mentioned called ATP.

The argument is that a greater amount of readily available ATP would increase energy and strength during workouts and enhance recovery following exercise.Under typical conditions the body is forced to re-synthesize these compounds for use, and this is where d-ribose-powder is said to be beneficial, as the body “has it’s limits.”

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. IN THEORY.

  What is recommended dose of d-ribose-powder?

Bodybuilding sources recommend starting with around 5 grams three times daily.

(That is one heaping teaspoon of a scoop of our D-ribose powder.

After 1 month, the dose  can be decreased to the minimum dosage that maintains the same benefit. That is usually 5 grams 2x/daily.

 When is the best time to take d-ribose-powder?

Studies shows that for maximal effect, the best time to take it is before and during exercise. This is when your body responds actively to cellular changes.

The substance is easily absorbed with a healthy and hopefully anti-inflammatory diet plan and has a sweet taste. In fact it can be used in iced tea and coffee as a natural sweetener.

How long does it take d-ribose-powder to take effect?

It generally  takes about 3 to 4 days to feel the effects.

But the research suggests that the benefits will be felt if individuals exercise hard enough to deplete ATP supplies.

You might not feel it, but d-ribose-powder actually does work to enhance the body’s energy and cellular recovery.

The biochemistry about this process is actually quite clear.

In all strenuous physical exercise adenine nucleotides decrease their amount under all athletic conditions.

If bodybuilders or other athletes train hard enough to lower their ATP pools,then ribose-powder will assist in recovery.

Important Footnote:

Ribose has been demonstrated to be a supplement for mitochondrial function, so based on that solid research, I would recommend ribose to augment strength due to the number of mitochondria we have in our muscles.


  1. My husband is starting to go to the gym more so that he is in better physical condition. He goes to the gym five days a week. He has lately been looking for ways to increase his energy and his productivity at the gym, would you recommend this for someone whose in good shape but wanting to bulk up more?

    • Yes but even moreso I’d recommend the SItoNox+ the BCAA with L-glutamine!

    • Yes plus the BCAA-l-glutamine powder Martha

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