Improve Your Mitochondria Part 4: More Supplements to Help Increase Energy

Improve Your Mitochondria Part 4: More Supplements to Help Increase Energy

In the last mitochondrial post, we concluded that L-carnitine is one of the most important supplements when it comes to increasing mitochondrial energy. There are other supplements that can be used accomplish this.

Other supplements that are known to help increase mitochondrial energy include D-ribose and creatine.


D-ribose is a five carbon sugar created naturally by our body. 1 Even though ribose is a sugar, it has been theorized that supplementation should not raise blood sugar levels, as the body stores it in the mitochondria and muscle cells for future use. 2 Ribose is used by the body to help produce ATP by stimulating a pathway for its production in your mitochondria. If your mitochondria do not have enough ribose to stimulate ATP production, less energy is produced for your body to use. When less energy is produced in our mitochondria, we tend to have less energy and are more prone to muscle soreness. 3

Ribose is produced the most and used rapidly in the mitochondria of muscle cells than any other cells. 4 Ribose is used to produce the ample ATP that our muscles need for exertion. Overexertion of muscles will deplete D-ribose which causes soreness for a period of time. Ribose storage will be replenished after a few days of rest and soreness improves. Extended periods of stress on the body can cause a chronic depletion of D-ribose that can take a long time to be rectified without supplementation. 5 Some diseases and medical conditions can cause or be caused by a chronic depletion of ribose, including heart disease, 6 heart failure, 7 fibromyalgia, 8 and chronic fatigue syndrome. 9 There is a lot of research that ribose supplementation can greatly relieve the fatigue and muscle weakness associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are few side effects known with ribose supplementation. Some people who supplement D-ribose may feel hyper and over energized on the supplement (people with mania should avoid ribose supplementation if possible). If ribose makes you feel like you have too much energy, it may be best to lower your ribose dose or discontinue the supplement. It best to take ribose with meals throughout the morning and afternoon. Do not supplement with ribose before bedtime, because ribose increases energy production and may keep you awake. Ribose might also cause a dip in blood sugar after supplementation, which is why it needs to be taken with food. Finally, if taken with warfarin, it might increase bleeding, so use with caution. 10

Recommended Ribose Supplements

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Creatine is an organic acid that is synthesized in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. Creatine plays an important role in maintaining proper mitochondrial energy levels in the form of the production and regeneration of ATP. Creatine phosphate maintains proper ATP levels in the mitochondria by serving as a reservoir of phosphate bonds in the production of ATP. Another form of creatine, phosphocreatine, is used to rephosphorylate ADP into ATP so that it can be reused in the mitochondria to produce energy. 11

Creatine, like D-ribose, is primarily stored and used in our muscle cells to create ample energy for proper muscle usage. One of the main reasons why athletes supplement with creatine when they lift weights is to help them with muscle recovery and growth. Creatine has been shown in multiple studies to help improve endurance and strength in athletes. Minor phosphocreatine depletion can occur during exercise and can cause both muscle aches and exhaustion. In most people, with rest and proper sources of protein, phosphocreatine is quickly replenished by the body. 12 Chronic creatine depletion in the body is possible though in disorders that involve the muscles, including heart disease, 13 heart failure, 14 muscular dystrophy, 15 and Parkinson’s disease. 16 Chronic depletion can also happen after extreme amounts of exercise over an extended period of time. 17

Creatine has also been shown to normalize mutations of mitochondrial DNA. This means that supplementation of creatine might help protect us from cancer and aging. 18 Creatine has also been shown in multiple studies to have neuroprotective qualities. 19

Creatine supplementation is safe within normal supplementation limits, but over supplementing might put extra stress on the kidneys and liver. Creatine also causes muscles to draw extra water from the rest of the body, so stay hydrated when supplementing. Creatine has also been known to cause irregular heartbeat in some people, so also be aware of this when supplementing. Finally, do not supplement with creatine without a doctor’s approval if you have kidney problems or kidney failure. 20

I also have a few personal tips on the consumption of creatine in supplemental form. When you take it, mix it with only water and drink it as fast as possible after mixing. It has been theorized that mixing creatine with an acidic beverage like juice or allowing it to sit for a few hours might cause some of the creatine to convert to it’s by product creatinine, which can be harder for the kidneys to filter. I would also personally stay away from supplementing creatine monohydrate, mainly because of absorption issues and a greater chance of water weight gain in the muscles.

Recommended Creatine Supplements

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  2. I have great concerns with supplementing with D-Ribose. Not only am I researching CFS for myself, I am researching Parkinson’s for my husband. In doing the research for the latter, I have found that D-ribose is active in glycation and induces protein aggregation, rapidly producing AGEs in vitro and in vivo. I certainly will not be having my husband supplement with D-Ribose as alpha-synuclein is the hallmark of Lewy Bodies in Parkinson’s. Now weighing upside versus downside of supplementation with D-Ribose for myself as well.

    • I am now using large doses of vitamin c which some studies have shown to reverse much of A.G.E’s

  3. Creatine is an excellent supplement for energy and anyone wanting to get serious with their workouts. Some choose Kre-Alkalyn and some Creatine, the different is small, but if you need help with the decision, I suggest checking this page out

  4. Does NADH raise BDNF?

  5. Why Kre Alkalyn? Is there any evidence that it any better than monohydrate? Everything point that they behave same.

    • I believe that it being buffered makes it easier on the stomach and may help increase absorption and cause less water retention in the muscles. That being said German produce monohydrate should be just as fine.

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