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Can Inosine Supplementation Improve Your Endurance Sports Performance? Does Insosine work?

Updated on August 4, 2013

Anhydrous inosine supplements and athletic ability claims

Anhydrous Inosine is marketed as a natural substance which can assist the body's ability to transport oxygen to working muscles. It is claimed that inosine can have a positive effect on endurance energy during exercise.

As a result inosine supplements are marketed towards sporting performance and sexual performance in male performance enhancement products.

Inosine and sports performance

Cross-country skiing from the winter olympics- The ultimate endurance sport based on VO2 levels
Cross-country skiing from the winter olympics- The ultimate endurance sport based on VO2 levels | Source

What is Inosine and what does it do?

Inosine is a purine ribonucleoside made within the body within the muscle of the heart and skeletal muscle. It is widely found in plants, animals and other forms of living matter such as brewer's yeast, liver and other offal.

Inosine is comprised of the purine base- hypoxanthine and the sugar D-ribose and has been shown to exert potent effects on the immune, neural, and cardiovascular systems.

What does Inosine do?

Inosine is an essential component within energy metabolism due to increasing formation of 2,3 DPG, a compound found within red blood cells which is responsible for transport and oxygen release to muscle cells.

Inosine also has a responsibility in the regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during endurance exercise.

Has inosine been proven to improve sporting performance?

Despite claims made by sports supplement manufacturers the trials performed have shown that anydrous inosine supplements have no ergogenic effect on endurance sports performance[1]

The truth about inosine and sporting performance

While inosine is an important component in the body's energy-producing ability. )ral anhydrous insoine supplementation has not been proven to improve sporting performance for either endurance or resistance-trained athletes,

The worrying side effect of supplementation is that it may dangerously raise levels of uric acid which in turn can be especially harmful to sufferers of gout and kidney stones.


1. McNaughton L, Dalton B, Tarr J (1999). "Inosine supplementation has no effect on aerobic or anaerobic cycling performance". International journal of sport nutrition 9 (4): 333–44.


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks J Burgraff- sometimes it's so easy to believe the hype. Many sports supplements are sold in this way however what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another as well.

      From experience when it comes to sports supplements always look for peer reviewed sports journal articles like the one from Mcnoughton et al mentioned above. They're heavy reading however are the result of a huge number of hours of research, literature review and testing.

      Thanks for your feedback.

    • J Burgraff profile image

      J Burgraff 6 years ago

      This is great information. It is always so tempting to buy products that are marketed towards enhancing athletic performance (without the additional work). Thanks for doing your research.