(D)-Ribose supplementation in the equine: lack of effect on glycated plasma proteins suggesting safety in humans

J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(2):108-12. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1022459. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


Background: d-Ribose is a popular dietary supplement for humans and the equine because of its crucial role in cellular bioenergetics. However, as a reducing sugar, it has been suggested that ingestion of d-ribose might promote the formation of glycated proteins in vivo with potential adverse consequences.

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine if d-Ribose would promote the formation of glycated proteins in vivo following exercise in training thoroughbred racehorses.

Methods: Two groups of horses received the supplement (30 and 50 g d-Ribose daily) for 17 weeks, during which period the horses were subjected to low-intensity exercises followed by high-intensity exercises. Blood samples were analyzed for glycated plasma proteins at baseline and following the 2 exercise regimens.

Results: This study shows that long-term ingestion of d-Ribose at 30-50 g a day does not promote the formation of glycated plasma proteins in thoroughbred racehorses. Ribose supplementation also protected the horses from cramping while enhancing muscle recovery at the same time. No adverse effects were reported.

Conclusion: Ribose supplementation is safe and does not cause glycation in vivo. This investigation also establishes safety of d-Ribose in thoroughbred racehorses, suggesting similar implications in humans as well.

Keywords: d-ribose; equine; glycated plasma proteins; thoroughbred racehorses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Glycated Serum Proteins
  • Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Horses / blood*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Cramp / prevention & control
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects
  • Ribose / administration & dosage*
  • Ribose / adverse effects


  • Blood Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Ribose
  • Glycated Serum Proteins