Although D-Ribose has been self-affirmed as GRAS for some years, a recent FDA letter of non-objection gives it the additional backing that industry usually waits for before adopting a new ingredient.
Ribose is a naturally occurring monosaccharide essential to every living cell and a building block of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the most important energy pool for the human body, fuelling processes like muscle contraction.
When the ATP pool is used up, the human body restores energy levels by converting glucose to ribose and then finally ATP. However this process can be speeded up by taking ribose supplements.
In the body, ribose is produced via the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). According to Bioenergy, when D-ribose - produced from Bacillus subtilis - is used as a supplement, it allows the cell to avoid the limit on the amount of ribose produced in the PPP. This process helps provide the body with more energy, says the company.
Bioenergy originally developed ribose - manufactured through fermentation of corn-derived glucose and then ethanol extraction - for a pharmaceutical application to speed up heart patient recovery after surgery.
However it introduced the ingredient for sports nutrition products in 1998, following studies showing its benefits on athletic performance, including energy recovery, and its reduction of muscle soreness and stiffness associated with overwork.