Dextrose and Ribose – Just How “Sweet” Are They?

Posted on January 19, 2006 by

Originally posted to the Dartmouth Ultra List
January 18, 2006
by Richard Schick

Dextrose/Ribose – medical news

Jan. 17, 2006 – Dextrose supplementation enhances athletic performance compared with ribose supplementation, according to the results of a randomized, double-blind trail reported in the January issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

“It has been hypothesized that ribose supplementation rapidly replenishes adenosine triphosphate stores and thereby improves exercise performance, ” writes Laura Dunne, MD, from Ohio State University in Columbis, and colleagues. “Sports medicine journals have described ribose as a ‘rising star’ on the supplement scene.”

In this 8-week study, 31 female collegiate rowers were randomized to receive ribose or dextrose supplementation, 10 g each in 8 0z of water, before and after practice and a 2,000-m time trials.

In the time trials, dextrose was associated with more improvement at 8 week than was ribose (median, 15.2 vs. 5.2 seconds; P = .031).

“We doubt ribose impaired, and hypothesize dextrose enhanced, rowing performance,” the authors wrote. “Further research is needed to define what role, if any, detrose and ribose play as athletic supplements.”

The better rowing performance in the dextrose group than the ribose group was unexpected, and the authors suggest it might be due to the efficient transport and conversion of glucose and dextrose to adenosine triphosphate and muscular energy.

Study limitations include failure to control for phase of menstrual cycle; and not all rowers completing all the time trails because of missed practices due to schedule contflicts, illness, and leaving the crew team.

“Ribose may be ineffective as an athletic supplement, or ribose may be effective only for sustained anaerobic activity, or the generally suggested dose of ribose may be too low to result in performance enhancement,” the authors conclude. “We can identify no reason why ribose should impair exercise performance. Therefore, it appears low-dose dextrose may improve athletic performance.”

(The General Pediatrics Research Fund of the Children’s Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, supported this this study. Bio-Energy, Inc. provided the dextrose and ribose for this study).

Clin J. Sports Med. 2006; 16:68-71

Rich Schick

–Constance Karras

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