Ribose versus dextrose supplementation, association with rowing performance: a double-blind study

Clin J Sport Med. 2006 Jan;16(1):68-71. doi: 10.1097/01.jsm.0000180022.44889.94.


Objective: It has been hypothesized that ribose supplementation rapidly replenishes adenosine triphosphate stores and thereby improves exercise performance. We compared the effects of ribose versus dextrose on rowing performance.

Design: Double-blind randomized trial.

Setting: Rowing team training area of large midwestern university.

Participants: Thirty-one women collegiate rowers.

Interventions: We studied the effects of ribose versus dextrose supplementation (10 g each in 8 oz water) for 8 weeks before and after practice and 2000-m time trials. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: In the time trials, the dextrose group showed significantly more improvement at 8 weeks than the ribose group (median, 15.2 vs. 5.2 s; P = 0.031).

Conclusions: We doubt ribose impaired, and hypothesize dextrose enhanced, rowing performance. Further research is needed to define what role, if any, dextrose and ribose play as athletic supplements.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Glucose / adverse effects
  • Glucose / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ribose / adverse effects
  • Ribose / therapeutic use*
  • Ships
  • Sports*


  • Ribose
  • Glucose