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RIBOSE: A Key to Heart Health and Energy
An article based on an interview between John St. Cyr, MD, PhD, and Richard A. Passwater, PhD

Passwater: What are the health benefits of ribose?

St. Cyr: Research shows that ribose administration is effective in treating heart and muscle disease, accelerating tissue recovery following strenuous exercise, preserving blood that has been harvested for transfusion, reducing fatigue and muscle pain, helping diagnose coronary artery disease, and other conditions. Ribose is extraordinarily effective in accelerating tissue energy synthesis.

Passwater: How does ribose do this?

St. Cyr: Ribose is the compound used by the body to regulate the amount of energy in the cell and the only one able to perform this important function.

When cells become stressed by disease, exercise, or metabolic disturbance, the pool of energy in the cell shrinks. As the pool becomes smaller, cellular function is lost. Muscle cells remain tense and sore, cells are unable to synthesize proteins and other large molecules that need a lot of energy in their formation, and the ion balance of cells is disrupted.

No matter how well the cell recycles energy, through glycolysis (using glucose to produce energy), cellular energy supply cannot keep pace with demand. Maintaining a healthy energy pool is critical to cellular function. Ribose is the fundamental building block of ATP, so without sufficient ribose in the cell, ATP cannot be formed. If ATP cannot be formed, the energy pool cannot be resupplied and fatigue results.

Passwater: Does ribose help increase the overall energy in the body?

St. Cyr: Yes. All tissue must make its own supply of ribose, yet lack the metabolic machinery to make ribose quickly when it is needed to restore cellular energy levels. That's why it takes so long for cells and tissues to recover following metabolic or physical stress.

Many who experience overwhelming fatigue and muscle pain find that ribose makes their whole body feel better. Others, who become sore after a weekend run or cycle ride, find that ribose helps overcome soreness and the fatigue that can last for days following unaccustomed exercise.

Passwater: Do we get enough ribose from our diet or do our bodies produce enough?

St. Cyr: We get very little ribose from our diet. Although found in fairly good levels in red meat, the cooking process destroys the free ribose. Fruits and vegetables have little free ribose and do not contribute much to daily intake.

Passwater: How much ribose is recommended as a supplement? How is it taken? What forms of ribose should we look for?

St. Cyr: Ribose is available in many forms: powders, beverages, tablets, and energy bars. Because 95-98% of ribose is absorbed, dosing adjustments will really be minimal.

• 5 to 7 g daily as a preventative in cardiovascular disease, for athletes as maintenance, and healthy people doing strenuous activity.

• 7 to 15 g daily for patients with cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, those recovering from heart surgery or attack, for treatment of stable angina pectoris, fibromyalgia, neuromuscular disease, and athletes working out in chronic bouts of high-intensity exercise

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