Ribose is a sugar that is naturally produced by the body from food. It is a natural part of DNA and RNA and is required for many processes in the body.

Supplemental ribose might prevent muscle fatigue in people with certain genetic disorders that affect energy production by the body. It might also provide extra energy to the heart during exercise in people with heart disease.

People use ribose for heart disease, athletic performance, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
When taken by mouth: Ribose is commonly consumed in foods. It is likely safe for most people when taken for up to 12 weeks as medicine. It can cause some side effects including diarrhea, stomach discomfort, nausea, headache, and low blood sugar. There isn't enough reliable information to know if ribose is safe to use long-term.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if ribose is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Surgery: Since ribose might lower blood sugar, it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking ribose at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • Athletic performance. Taking ribose by mouth, alone or with other supplements, doesn't seem to improve athletic performance in trained or untrained adults.
  • A rare, inherited disorder that causes muscle pain and cramping (McArdle disease). Taking ribose by mouth doesn't appear to improve exercise ability in people with McArdle disease.
There is interest in using ribose for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of ribose might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals


Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ribose can lower blood sugar. Insulin is also used to decrease blood sugar. Taking ribose along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to drop too low. The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Ribose might lower blood sugar levels. Taking ribose along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Ribose might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 29/06/2023 10:00:00 and last updated on 12/08/2020 02:21:16. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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