Oral bioavailability of ATP after prolonged administration

Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation): Br. J. Nutr.
Year: 2011
Volume: 105
Page numbers: 357-366
doi (if applicable): 10.1017/S0007114510003570

Summary of Background and Research Design

Background:Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the primary energy currency for cellular work. The generation of ATP in cells comes from the metabolism of nutrients (e.g, carbohydrates, fats, nucleic acids). This study examined if it is possible to more directly supply ATP to the cells via the actual oral ingestion of ATP. ATP is stable in an acidic environment (for example, the stomach) but it is likely that ATP is broken down into its components (i.e., adenosine, ribose, phosphate groups) before it gets to the blood stream. Furthermore, the liver metabolizes adenosine into uric acid which is filtered out by the kidney and excreted in urine. Even so, some scientists hypothesize that having a surplus of the “ingredients” to synthesize ATP will facilitate ATP generation. Corroborating this, some animal studies have shown that oral ingestion of ATP can increase ATP blood levels. This phenomenon has not been shown in humans to date with either an acute or chronic dose of oral ATP.

Research Question:Does oral ATP ingestion for 28 days increase ATP concentrations in the blood? Does 28 days of ATP ingestion increase the body’s uptake, metabolism, and/or excretion of a large, acute dose (5 g) ATP?

Subjects:Thirty three subjects (13 male, age 28.8 ± 14.1 y; 19 female, 21.7 ± 4.6 y)

Experimental design:randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled design

Treatments/Protocol: Subjects were randomized to 1 of 4 dosing groups: 0, 250, 1250, or 5000 mg of ATP per day, taken on days 1-27 of the study. Their daily amount of ATP was divided into two doses of enteric-coated pellets. On days 0 and 28 subjects all consumed a single dose of 5000 mg of ATP. Blood was sampled at 30, 20, and 10 min before the 5000 mg megadose then every 15 min between 30 and 210 min after ATP ingestion. Urine was also collected 20 min before and 120, 220, and 400 min after the ATP dose. A single blood sample was acquired on days 7, 14, and 21. Blood was analyzed for ATP and several enzymes to assess safety. Urine was measured for uric acid (a breakdown product of ATP) and creatinine (to report on kidney function).

Summary of research findings:
  • The supplements were generally well tolerated. One subject in the placebo group discontinued participation due to vomiting and there were two reports of nausea without vomiting from the ATP supplement.
  • There were no significant differences in fasting ATP blood levels over the 4 wks of any dose of ATP.
  • There were no significant differences in plasma ATP levels after 5000 mg ATP ingestion on days 0 and 28 for any of the groups.
  • There was no significant increase in any of the metabolites of ATP that were measured in the blood except for uric acid. The rate or pattern of ATP metabolism was not affected by 4 wk ATP administration at any dose. Blood uric acid concentrations increased with dose.
  • There was no difference in the uric acid:creatinine ratio in the urine between days 0 and 28 for any groups or between any of the ATP doses and the placebo group.

Interpretation of findings/Key practice applications:

ATP administered orally does not increase ATP concentrations in the blood. It does not appear to have dangerous side effects in healthy individuals, but an increase in uric acid in the blood could increase the risk of gout for those who are predisposed to this ailment.
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