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Nutrition Column

Ribose Supplementation

Supplements remain popular among athletes and exercise aficionados because they are always looking for an edge. Unfortunately, most supplements do not provide the extra results sought after.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested the effects of ribose as an ergogenic (performance-boosting) aid. In the study, subjects participated in two trials, taking either 625mg of ribose orally or a placebo 30 minutes before each test. In theory, ribose (a pentose sugar is hypothesized to elicit an increase in power – particularly in short, explosive events - it helps resynthesize adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within the body. ATP is the primary fuel for the body’s immediate energy system. Once the ATP stored in the body is depleted, the power production of the muscles decreases. If the depletion of ATP could be minimized with ribose, then it would be an affective as an ergogenic aid. However, all of this science when put to practice did not produce positive results.

Following either the ribose or placebo ingestion the subjects performed three 30-second Wingate bicycle tests. The test is designed to measure peak power, mean power and percent decrease in power. There were no significant differences in results between the ribose and placebo trials.

With ribose and other supplements in mind, it is always important to research what you are interested in taking in order to discover what really works and to avoid unnecessary costs. If you are looking for a great guide there is ample information about supplements on pages 82-110 in Fuel Up by Dr. Eric Sternlicht.

Written by Aaron Losey, B.A. Kinesiology, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA