D-ribose--an additive with caffeine

Med Hypotheses. 2009 May;72(5):499-500. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.12.038. Epub 2009 Feb 14.


Caffeine acts as a stimulant, in which approximately 90% of people in the United States consume daily. Besides its beneficial effects, many individuals have experienced unpleasant reactions following the consumption of caffeine: such as insomnia, an increase in heart rate, feelings of nervousness, headaches, occasional lightheadedness, a state of "jitters," and a potential "crash" state following its metabolism. Researchers have proposed mechanisms responsible for caffeine's interactions, which include its blocking capacity of adenosine receptors, its role with the pituitary gland, increasing levels of dopamine, and its role with the intracellular release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, which is dependent on intracellular adenosine triphosphate levels. Specific substrates have been investigated to lessen the undesirable effects of caffeine and still preserve its stimulatory benefits. The results of these investigations have produced no positive consensus. However, D-ribose, an important pentose carbohydrate in the energy molecule of adenosine triphosphate, as well as our genetic code and other cellular processes, could offer such a solution to this problem. D-ribose could potentially aid in maintaining or potentially lowering extra-cellular adenosine concentrations, aid in the flux of intracellular calcium, aid in intracellular energy production, and potentially lessen the perceived "crash" state felt by many. Every cell requires adequate levels of energy to maintain its integrity and function. Caffeine has the potential to task this energy equilibrium. D-ribose with caffeine may be the substrate to aid in the potential intracellular energy demand, aid in lessening the perceived unpleasant side effects of caffeine, and still preserving the desired benefits of this stimulant consumed by all of us daily.

MeSH terms

  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Caffeine / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Ribose / administration & dosage*
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Caffeine
  • Ribose