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D-Ribose: The Sweetener That Boosts Energy and Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

By: Alison Moodie
July 17, 2018

D-Ribose: The Sweetener That Boosts Energy and Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

  • D-ribose is a sugar that occurs naturally in the body, and it won’t raise your blood glucose like other sweeteners.
  • Instead of breaking ribose down for energy, your body uses it to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy transporter found in every living cell.
  • D-ribose energizes your workouts, strengthens your heart, and improves fatigue 
  • D-ribose triggers a release of insulin in the body, but it should still keep you in ketosis.
  • Be cautious with D-ribose if you’re diabetic, especially if you’re on medication.
  • The average supplement dose is 5 grams a day. You can also find D-ribose in foods like grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and sardines.

If you’re craving sweetness in your morning coffee, but without the sugar crash, look no further than D-ribose. A sugar that occurs naturally in the body, D-ribose won’t raise your blood glucose like other sweeteners. Not only that, D-ribose is a massive energy booster, fueling your cells so you can power through your workouts, and your day. For those reasons, it’s the main ingredient in Bulletproof’s natural sweetener, Mitosweet. Read on to learn more about the benefits of D-ribose and how to use it.

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What is D-ribose?

D-ribose (also called ribose) is a simple sugar that the body uses for fuel.

Your body metabolizes D-ribose differently from other sugars, such as glucose. Instead of breaking ribose down for energy, your body uses it to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy transporter found in every living cell. D-ribose also gives structure to ribonucleic acid (RNA), a molecule that helps translate genes from your DNA to make proteins that your body needs.

The benefits of D-ribose

If you’re feeling drained and fatigued, D-ribose might be just the thing to get you going again. Here’s how it can help:

Powers your workout: Exercise empties your ATP stores, and D-ribose fills them up — it moves energy more quickly to your muscles and eases post-workout tiredness. In one study, male bodybuilders who took ribose for 4 weeks were able to do more repetitions and lift heavier weights compared to a control group.[1] [2] Take two Forbose supplements before or after you work out.

Strengthens your heart: D-ribose increases ATP levels in heart cells, giving this muscle the energy it needs to do its job.[3] One study found that D-ribose helped heart failure patients breathe easier, a sign that more blood was getting pumped to the heart.[4] Ribose also lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and oxidized fat — these can build up in your arteries as plaque, blocking the flow of blood to the heart.[5]

Sweetens without the blood sugar spike: D-ribose has a naturally sweet taste, but it won’t raise your blood sugar — in fact, it could even lower it (see more below).[6] The sugar alternative MitoSweet is made with a combination of three sweeteners, including ribose, that won’t spike your blood glucose. You can swap it 1:1 for ordinary table sugar. Stir a teaspoon into your Bulletproof Coffee, tea, or smoothie to get all the sweetness without the glucose highs and lows.

Related: 6 Workout Supplements That Actually Work

D-ribose and ketosis

When you eat a high-fat, low-carb diet, you go into ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of glucose for fuel. Your liver converts fatty acids into ketones, an alternative source of energy.

If you’re keto, be cautious when supplementing with ribose, says Kristen Mancinelli, a nutrition scientist and author of “The Ketogenic Diet: The Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss.”

“We know ribose triggers an insulin response, and insulin in the bloodstream will block release of fatty acids from fat cells, which are needed for ketone production in the liver,” she said. “One can theorize that ribose ingestion would therefore slow ketone production.”

More research needs to be done on D-ribose’s effects on ketosis. In one study, researchers fed 30 grams of D-ribose intravenously to healthy and mildly diabetic people after an overnight fast.[7] They showed no changes in their blood ketones, which suggests D-ribose won’t take you out of ketosis. However, infused D-ribose could have a different effect than if it’s taken orally. So far, there have been no studies to determine this.

If you choose to take D-ribose, test your keto levels with a blood test, urine stick, or a breath analyzer. You’re in ketosis when your ketone levels measure 0.8 (that’s millimoles per liter).

Related: Kick Your Sugar Habit With These Bulletproof Alternative Sweeteners

D-ribose and diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, which results in too much sugar in the blood. D-ribose causes a rapid release of insulin and a decrease in blood sugar.[8] If you’re taking insulin to manage your diabetes, be careful with D-ribose to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

“For diabetics, I would caution against casual ribose supplementation because these individuals by definition have difficulty keeping their blood sugar levels stable, and we don’t want to exacerbate that problem,” said Mancinelli.

How to use D-ribose

D-ribose gets the thumbs up on the Bulletproof Diet since it doesn’t raise your blood sugar. Stable blood sugar curbs cravings, gives you energy, and balances your hormones. Here’s how to use D-ribose:

  • Eat foods rich in D-ribose: Ribose is a sugar that’s naturally found in plants and animals. Eat grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and sardines to up your intake.
  • Take a supplement: The amount of ribose in food is relatively small. If you’re looking to feel a lot more energized and get the most out of your workouts, a D-ribose supplement is the way to go. The recommended dosage is up to 5 grams a day.
  • Use it as a sweetener: D-ribose tastes similar to maple syrup and can be used to sweeten food and drinks. Try substituting Mitosweet for table sugar in baked goods, or stir it into your coffee, tea, or smoothie.

Read Next: 5 Ways to Boost Your Body’s Energy Production

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