Sugar and Heart Attack Recovery: Surprising New Data

A new study indicates that ribose- a “simple form of sugar”- may hasten heart attack recovery or rebound from surgery.

The initial data was presented at the American Heart Association’s 2011 Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was culled from studies on animals measuring the effects of sugar on heart attack recovery and post-surgical healing. Although humans were not mentioned, two instances were cited where recovery from heart attacks or heart surgery was measured as faster due to ribose administration:

According to the study, ribose, given at the time of heart surgery, shaved eight days off of recovery for dogs. And when rats received ribose for two weeks after a heart attack, it prevented further damage to the heart and helped preserve function.

After cardiac events, the heart “becomes stressed and function is compromised” by slowed blood flow, causing damage to the heart. Dr. John E. Foker, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, worked on the study and commented:

“A simple way to enhance recovery is to give ribose… We usually say it takes five to10 grams two or three times during the 12 to 24 hours after the heavy exercise. Ribose is simple and your cells will only use it to enhance ATP production, not as fuel… People don’t feel as stiff afterwards and seem to have more energy.”

However, whether ribose will have the same effect in humans remains to be seen. Stanley Rockson, MD, a cardiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine, commented:

“This looks like it could work its way into treatment for heart attack and acute heart failure, but there are many steps in between seeing it in animal models and saying it is effective and safe in people.”