Ribose, Caffeine May Fight Fatigue Better When Combined

December 30, 2013

The ribose-caffeine combination achieved the best improvements in swimming time, at 150%, researchers said.

When used alone in high doses, caffeine may provide an energy boost but also may result in side effects such as increased anxiety, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and reduced blood flow. But a new mouse study shows that adding D-ribose may help counter some of these side effects and that the two nutrients combined may synergistically provide a better energy boost than when either ingredient is used alone.

The study tested caffeine, ribose, and glucose-all nutrients known to boost energy. Bioenergy Life Science Inc. (Minneapolis) sponsored the study, which was performed on the company’s Bioenergy Ribose ingredient. It says this is the first study to test these three ingredients using a fatigue model.

The mouse study was an exercised-induced fatigue model. Mice were fatigued by being made to swim to the point of exhaustion for three days prior to the study’s start. On the fourth day, the mice were given one of four treatments: (1) glucose only, (2) caffeine only (at doses up to 75 mg/kg/day), (3) ribose only (at doses up to 1 g/kg/day), and (4) a 50/50 combination of ribose and caffeine. The researchers then judged whether the mice’s endurance dropped, stayed the same, or improved by measuring their swimming time as well as by analyzing the mice’s adenine nucleotide levels, including of ATP, in their muscles. (A piece of their leg muscles was removed and analyzed by HPLC for increased adenine nucleotide concentrations.)

The ribose-caffeine combination achieved the best improvements in swimming time, at 150%, researchers said. The ribose-only treatment also improved swimming time, but by a lower 135%. By contrast, the caffeine-only model led to worsening endurance, and the glucose-only model saw swimming time about same as the study’s baseline average.

Why the drastic improvement with caffeine plus ribose? The researchers speculated that this improvement happened because caffeine and ribose act synergistically to provide benefits. For instance, they said, D-ribose may protect the heart from any overwork caused by caffeine, while also improving energy. The researchers said that the optimal energy-boosting amount of caffeine and ribose-in a human-equivalent dose-is 4 g ribose and 10 mg/kg/day caffeine.

D-ribose is a key component of energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When used as a supplement, it can help to restore ATP levels, including after intense exercise.

Bioenergy Life Science says this study will soon be published.