Ribose is a carbohydrate molecule that is very important in manufacturing ATP in the body. It is available in the form of supplements due to its various benefits. This article provides some information on the side effects of the same.
Ribose (C5H10O5) is an organic compound that is found in the form of D-ribose in nature. In 1891, Emil Fischer was the first to account the D-ribose sugar. It is the backbone of an RNA molecule that is important for the process of transcription. This compound can be a subunit of many other compounds like ATP and NADH which are important for metabolism after phosphorylation.
Ribose sugar is produced in the human body system in the form of glucose. It is found in all living organisms and plays an important role in the synthesis of RNA, DNA, and adenosisne triphosphate (ATP). It is a carbohydrate molecule that helps in the production of energy during short power bursts by producing ATP. Today, this naturally occurring ribose sugar is being manufactured commercially as a medicinal product.
Ribose sugar supplements are available in the market in various forms like powder, capsule, tablet, and chewable tablet form. The most common commercial names under which it is manufactured is beta-D-ribofuranose or D-ribose. It is used to treat a metabolic disorder called the myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD or AMD). It is also prescribed to treat coronary artery disease that causes decrease in flow of blood through the arteries of the heart. Many athletes use these supplements to increase their stamina and endurance.
Its structure is similar to the aldose sugar molecules and is a 5 carbon atom structure. It is an aldopentose compound that is basically a monosaccharide sugar in acyclic form. It has an aldehyde functional group present at one end. When the ribose sugar is in a ring form, it means it is a component of the RNA molecule. When an oxygen atom is missing at the position 2, it becomes a component of DNA molecule. The following is an acyclic ribose structure:
H-C = O
There are certain other distinguishing features of this structure that help in distinguishing it from a DNA and RNA molecule :
- When the double bonded oxygen is present on the first carbon atom in the linear ribose structure, it becomes the beta OH that is used to bond to a base unit.
- The OH atom in the second position helps to distinguish between the RNA and DNA ribose
- The phosphate group of other nucleotides bind to the OH group of the carbon.
- The ring is closed with the help of the OH group on the fourth carbon.
- The phosphate unit on which the ribose is present is linked with the help of the OH group on the fifth carbon
It is not an essential nutrient and food sources do not provide the recommended doses. Doctors recommend 1 to 10 g per day of these supplements to sportsmen and in low doses for the people affected by heart diseases. Until now, not a single case of lasting or damaging side effect has been reported. However, there are a few minor side effects that include:
- Diarrhea and stomach discomfort
- Increased supply of blood to the heart
- Increase in blood sugar levels
The intake of these supplements is not recommended to those with diabetes or hypoglycemia. If one is on insulin, it may cause the blood sugar levels to drop to low. Also, pregnant women, lactating women, and very young children should avoid the intake of these supplements.
If one wishes to opt for these supplements, it would be better to consult the concerned doctor regarding the right dosage that would suit for each one. Research studies have shown contradictory statements regarding the benefits of ribose sugar. Some state that it has no significant effect or benefit whereas some state that it shows increasing endurance, strength, and stamina. Although, there are not many serious side effects, caution should be exercised.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.