Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) is a form of vitamin B3 found in cow’s milk, and is a precursor to NAD+, a molecule that carries electrons from one reaction to another and plays a central metabolic role. Furthermore, NAD+ itself participates in reactions that modify proteins after their initial production, and is involved in many cellular processes.
NAD+ is a molecule of interest in the field of ageing research, as decline in NAD+ levels occurs with age and has been observed in almost all age-related diseases. This raises the possibility that we could boost NAD+ levels in order to slow or even reverse some aspects of ageing.
Nicotnamide riboside is effective at increasing NAD+ levels, and while human evidence is still emerging, there is promising animal research suggesting that NR protects multiple tissues against age-related decline. This effect may prove to be less significant in humans, however.
A 2017 study showed that nicotinamide riboside could increase NAD+ levels in humans in a dose-dependant manner, although the effects of boosting NAD+ in humans is still an emerging area of research. There are, however, multiple animal studies establishing that NAD+ boosting can have beneficial effects on health and lifespan. These include protection from metabolic disease, improved cardiac function and neurorprotective effects.
There is also human evidence for the benefits of nicotinamide riboside specifically, although the effects do not appear to be as striking as those found in animals. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that nicotinaminde riboside reduced blood pressure and aortic stiffness, although these reductions weren’t statistically significant.
Ultimately, however, more human trials are needed to establish the benefits of NAD+ boosting supplements including nicotinamide riboside. It is argued here that longer trials with higher doses may be needed to properly study the effects of NAD+ boosters. The good news is that multiple studies have suggested nicotinamide riboside to have minimal side effects even at higher doses. Supplementation with NR is therefore very unlikely to be harmful, and may be beneficial.
Nicotinamide Riboside Is Uniquely and Orally Bioavailable in Mice and Humans: DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12948
Therapeutic potential of boosting NAD+ in aging and age-related diseases: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tma.2018.08.003
Therapeutic Potential of NAD-Boosting Molecules: The In Vivo Evidence: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.02.011
NAD replenishment with nicotinamide mononucleotide protects blood–brain barrier integrity and attenuates delayed tissue plasminogen activator‐induced haemorrhagic transformation after cerebral ischaemia: https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.13979
NAD+ repletion improves muscle function in muscular dystrophy and counters global PARylation: DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf5504
NAD+ homeostasis in health and disease: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42255-019-0161-5
Chronic Nicotinamide Riboside Supplementation Is Well-Tolerated and Elevates NAD + in Healthy Middle-Aged and Older Adults: DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03421-7
Safety and Metabolism of Long-term Administration of NIAGEN (Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride) in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial of Healthy Overweight Adults: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46120-z
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