Ribose: properties, benefits, use and contraindications

Ribose is an essential sugar for the human body, useful for the production of ATP molecules. Widely used in sports as an energy supplement, ribose is essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids. Let’s find out better.

What is ribose used for

Ribose is a sugar, composed of five carbon atoms, essential for the human body as it is used by the latter to produce ATP molecules, a source that provides immediate energy to the cells of the body and which is necessary for all. basic vital functions, including: breathing, muscle movement and the correct functioning of brain activity.

Without the contribution of ATP, in fact, cells cannot function properly and consequently die quickly.

Ribose increases the body’s energyimproves heart health, athletic performance, muscle recovery, mental alertness, and fights muscle stiffness and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Main functions of ribose

Ribose plays a key role in maintaining cellular and tissue homeostasis, intervening in different reactions of both an energetic and metabolic and plastic nature. Its main functions concern:

  • Energy production, through the non-oxidative phase of the pentose phosphate pathway, which allows the conversion of pentoses such as ribose into metabolites intercalated in the neoglucogenic pathway, essential for the production of glucose during periods of fasting or of increased demand;
  • Synthesis of ATP, a fundamental ribonucleotide in energy processes, capable of releasing energy through its hydrolysis;
  • Protein synthesis and cell division, constituting the essential sugar for the synthesis of nucleic acids;
  • Synthesis of precious amino acids both from a structural and metabolic point of view, such as histidine, glutamine, glutamate, proline and arginine;
  • Regulation of the state of cellular redox, important in protecting the cell from harmful stimuli induced by reactive oxygen species. 

For these reasons, ribose has found use especially in sports as an energy supplement and tonic. Among the advantages linked to the use of ribose, it is very common to find that relating to the strengthening of the heart pump and the improvement of cardiovascular health.  

Where is ribose found

Although Ribose represents an element normally present in all cells, therefore minimally even in various foods, it is not possible to trace food sources capable of providing appreciable concentrations of this sugar.  

Despite this, the organism is able to satisfy the daily requirement of this element through the pentose phosphate pathway, which allows to convert glucose, much more present and abundant in nature, into ribose, with the simultaneous production of useful reducing equivalents. to the maintenance of the antioxidant properties of the cell.

From an industrial point of view, the various ribose supplements are obtained through techniques that use bioreactors based on yeasts or bacteria and corn syrup as a substrate, which suitably treated and purified, allows to obtain a product with a high degree of purity.

Contraindications of ribose

Side effects of Ribose are rare, although there are some precautions that should be observed.

Overdoses, in fact, can cause symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, low blood sugar levels, dizziness and headache or can lead to macular degeneration in the eyes.

If one or more of these symptoms occur, it is always advisable to contact your doctor.

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