What is Ribose?

Ribose is a simple sugar found in all living cells, including our own DNA and RNA.

It plays an essential role in cellular energy production and the synthesis of nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA and RNA. It’s also an essential component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary molecule that stores and transfers energy in our cells.

Recently, the enzyme TKTL1 has been shown to play a major role in converting glucose into ribose to support the formation of new cells. It’s therefore extremely important for the formation of new cells and tissue renewal.

Ribose occurs naturally in foods such as meat, dairy products, and vegetables like asparagus and broccoli. It is also available as a supplement, often used by athletes for its ability to boost exercise performance and recovery. Ribose is derived from corn, and is a novel food approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Ribose has natural mildly sweet taste, which is slightly less sweet than classic sugar.

Ribose at a glance

  • Prevents high blood glucose levels
  • Negative glycaemic index
  • Prevents and inhibits insulin resistance
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Provides steady, long-lasting energy
  • Suppresses inflammation
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What makes Ribose special

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Enhances energy levels

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Promotes cell & tissue renewal

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Reduces muscle fatigue

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Balances blood sugar levels

Support Muscle Performance & Recovery


Ribose enhances energy recovery (via ATP synthesis), muscle performance and tolerance to stress. This helps the body rebalance after strenuous activity.

Ribose is metabolized via the pentose phosphate pathway, which generates energy in the form of ATP. It is particularly important for cells that require a lot of energy, such as muscle cells. Adding ribose to your diet can help enhance exercise performance by increasing energy production and reducing muscle fatigue.

Taking just 5 grams of ribose a day has been shown to boost energy levels by an average of 61% over 3 weeks.

In a study of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, ribose significantly helped relieve their symptoms and increase their overall wellbeing.

Athletes also benefit from this energising sugar; in one study athletes reported significant gains in muscle strength and endurance from ribose supplementation.

Important: Ribose promotes cell renewal in healthy bodies, which is very beneficial. However, if the body is compromised by cancer or a virus, such as SARS-COV2, then ribose could fuel the growth of the cancer cells or the virus. Therefore, it is important to know if your body is in healthy state before consuming ribose.

How does the calorie content of ribose compare to sucrose?


Using the classic ‘a calorie is just a calorie model’ (developed in 1848) it’s hard to see the benefits of ribose, but when we revise the model to reflect reality, we can see why it energises us very differently.

Making Energy from Metabolism

  • Ribose directly impacts cell renewal and duplication.
  • Ribose can be used to restore and repair depleted muscles and other cells after intense exercise.
  • Supplementing ribose supports the body to make and transfer energy more easily.


  • Ribose is used therapeutically to treat energy deficits like chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Athletes also use it to increase energy, boost stamina, and enhance performance.
  • Ribose enhances muscle recovery and reduces soreness after exercise.
  • Ribose has a negative glycaemic index; it lowers blood sugar but can raise insulin.
  • Ribose has mild sweet taste.
Classic CaloriesFermenting CaloriesOxidising Calories
Ribose4 kcal / g4 kcal / g4 kcal / g
Sucrose4 kcal / g4 kcal / g4 kcal / g
The body extracts energy from food using two completely different pathways:

Oxidising (using oxygen to release pure energy)

Fermenting (creating energy and building blocks for new cells, including fat & cancer cells)

Ribose’s unique metabolic effect makes it ideal for:

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What scientific evidence supports the use of ribose?

Explore the latest scientific studies and peer-reviewed research on ribose. Learn more about Dr Johannes Coy’s extensive research in the field of nutrition and metabolic health.

Frequently asked questions

Is ribose safe?

Ribose is generally considered safe for most people to consume in moderate amounts. However, individuals with certain medical conditions such as hypoglycemia or diabetes should speak to a healthcare provider before consuming ribose. People with cancer should not consume ribose as it can promote cancer growth.

Is ribose good for diabetics?

Ribose is metabolized by the body without requiring insulin, which makes it a suitable sugar for individuals with diabetes. However, it may cause a temporary increase in blood sugar levels and should be consumed in moderation.

Can ribose be used in cooking and baking?

Ribose is less sweet than table sugar and is primarily used as a dietary supplement to support energy metabolism. It is not commonly used in cooking or baking.

Does ribose raise blood sugar levels?

Ribose is a simple sugar that is rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body, which can result in a temporary increase in blood sugar levels.

Does ribose raise insulin levels?

Ribose is metabolized by the body without requiring insulin, which means it does not cause a significant increase in insulin levels.

Is ribose healthy?

Ribose is considered a healthy sugar when consumed in moderate amounts as it supports energy metabolism and can aid in athletic performance. It is not suitable for people with cancer.

Is ribose keto-friendly?

Ribose is a simple sugar and is not typically used in a ketogenic diet as it can cause blood sugar a temporary rise in blood sugar.

Is ribose fructose-free?

Yes, ribose does not contain fructose (making it suitable for people who are sensitive or intolerant to fructose).

Is ribose lactose-free?

Yes, ribose does not contain lactose, making it suitable for people who are lactose intolerant).

Is ribose gluten-free?

Yes, ribose does not contain gluten (but could contain traces depending on manufacturing processes).

Is ribose safe for cancer patients?

Ribose is a building block of nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA, therefore it can encourage the growth of cancerous tumors.

What is ribose made from?

Ribose is a naturally occurring sugar that is found in all living cells and is synthesized in the body from glucose.

What does ribose taste like?

Ribose has a slightly sweet taste, but it is less sweet than table sugar.

What is ribose?

Ribose is a simple sugar that is used by the body to synthesize ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary source of energy for cellular processes.

Where can I buy ribose?

The best way to incorporate ribose into your diet is by using Dr Coy’s sugar mixtures. These mixtures have been scientifically developed to help lead a healthier lifestyle. Discover the full range of Dr Coy’s sugar mixtures from our partners.

Research & Resources                                 Further Studies

The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.

As D-ribose has been shown to increase cellular energy synthesis in heart and skeletal muscle, this open-label uncontrolled pilot study was done to evaluate if D-ribose could improve symptoms in fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

The influence of D-ribose ingestion and fitness level on performance and recovery.

Skeletal muscle adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels are severely depleted during and following prolonged high intensity exercise. this study was designed to determine what influence D-ribose might have on muscular performance, recovery, and metabolism during and following a multi-day exercise regimen.

Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease.

There is no established treatment specifically aimed at protecting or restoring cardiac energy metabolism, which is greatly impaired by ischaemia. Evidence that the pentose sugar ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and improves cardiac function led researchers to test the possibility that ribose increases tolerance to myocardial ischaemia in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).