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Over 150 studies demonstrate the ability of ribose, a pentose sugar found in all living cells, to increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and total adenine nucleotide (TAN) recovery, promoting skeletal and cardiac muscle energy metabolism. Ribose is the key compound used by the body to form the nucleotides AMP, ADP and ATP, which are depleted during strenuous physical activity or from lack of oxygen. Skeletal and cardiac muscle rely on these metabolites for energy, and two metabolic pathways preserve these pools. The first mechanism involves salvaging end products of AMP breakdown, or preventing them from leaving the cell. If they are salvaged, they may be recycled back to AMP and ultimately to ATP. The second mechanism for preserving nucleotide pools is de novo synthesis, or formation of new nucleotides from ribose. Both of these crucial activities can only begin when ribose is converted to 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP). If ribose concentrations are not sufficient, PRPP is in low supply and muscle cells cannot adequately recharge. Although the body has the ability to manufacture ribose from glucose, it is a slow process which requires glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH), an enzyme typically in short supply. Supplemental ribose allows the body to bypass this step, rapidly supplying the compounds needed to boost salvage and enhance de novo synthesis. Research indicates that nucleotides decrease after repeated, intense exercise and that they may not be recovered for up to several days, leaving muscle without the ability to refuel energy stores. Ribose also offers powerful, complementary support to creatine by enhancing TAN pools, providing the necessary substrates which creatine can then convert to ATP.
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