Adenosine 5 monophosphate is a nucleotide, or component, of ribonucleic acid (RNA). It is also produced in body cells during adenosine 5 triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, the process by which the body produces energy during normal metabolism. Adenosine 5 monophosphate might help prevent the occurrence of postherpetic neuralgia in shingles patients and may also help alleviate photosensitivity in patients with porphyria cutanea tarda. Due to some possibly severe side effects and lack of research studies, adenosine 5 monophosphate supplementation is not widely used. As adenosine 5 monophosphate is involved in energy metabolism, it is occasionally used as a weight-loss supplement.
As a result of a theory that herpes zoster patients might not produce enough adenosine 5 monophosphate, a research study observed the effects of injected adenosine 5 monophosphate on shingles patients. Postherpetic neuralgia is the nerve pain that often accompanies shingles infections and can range from mild to severe. Eighty-eight percent of patients experienced improvement in their neuralgia as compared to forty-eight percent with a placebo. Still, researchers cautioned that more research was needed before AMP could be used to treat shingles neuralgia.
Another study found oral supplementation of AMP was effective against photosensitivity in half of study participants. The study was not a reliable study, however, and the placebo effect cannot be ruled out. More research would be needed to confirm preliminary findings, but as of 2011 no other studies have been performed. A similar study found that adenosine 5 monophosphate might be effective against cold sores, but was conducted as an open study and has reliability concerns.
The photosensitivity study used doses of 160-200 mg of oral AMP for a period of one month. There have been concerns that oral AMP may not be as bioavailable as other forms of AMP, like the injected gel form used in the herpes zoster study. Despite initial findings, more research would be needed to explore and confirm these results.
As adenosine 5 monophosphate is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis, it has been surmised that supplementation of AMP can facilitate the production of cellular energy. This would, in theory, increase metabolism and raise the rate at which the body burns calories. Thus far, there has been no research to support this theory. Despite lack of evidence, some supplement makers have begun manufacturing AMP for public use and marketed it as a diet aid.
AMP may have some beneficial effects on specific medical conditions. Preliminary studies, however, cannot be used as solid evidence and more research is needed to explore initial findings. Also, the use of AMP as a weight-loss aid is completely unfounded and based upon theory without scientific backing. Side effects of AMP are unknown but need to be explored further.