Ribose is a carbohydrate vital for the body's manufacture of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the major source of energy used by our cells.

Quite a few studies have been done on ribose, mostly relating to its potential usefulness for individuals with heart disease. When the heart is starved for oxygen, as can occur with a heart attack or angina, it loses much of its ATP, and its ATP levels remain low for several days, even after blood flow is resumed.1 Scientists have found that supplying extra ribose in the blood helps restore the heart's normal ATP levels more quickly. This finding has raised hopes that ribose supplements might improve heart functioning and increase exercise capacity.

Ribose is better known as a sports supplement. However, current evidence indicates that it is not effective for this purpose.

Ribose is not an essential nutrient. Although it is a common sugar present in the bodies of animals and plants, food sources don't supply recommended dosages.