Nicotinamide riboside was first discovered in 1944 by researchers who were studying substances and their effects on bacteria. By 2004, Charles Brenner found a clear link between NR and NAD+, which led to further research into the therapeutic potential of using NR as a nutrient. Since 2006 it was patented and by 2012 efforts were being made to commercialise NR.
Benefits Nicotinamide Riboside
Nicotinamide riboside, also commercially known as NAD PRO, is not a familiar term with most people but at the rate this anti-aging supplement has gained popularity, it will soon become a household name.
Why do I say this?
Recent studies have shown that increasing levels of NAD+ by using an NAD+ precursor supplement may reduce aging, improve brain performance, help in weight loss, and support healthy aging.
Professor David Sinclair, from the University of South Wales (USW) in Australia recently commented that "This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market, if the trials go well."
In 2013, researchers from the University of NSW and Harvard University published the findings of a study on the effects of Nicotinamide Riboside on oxidative metabolism on Cell, a popular scientific journal. The study provided detailed insights on how Nicotinamide riboside might be able to improve brain performance and whether it has potential as an anti-aging agent.
So What Exactly is Nicotinamide Riboside?
Nicotinamide riboside is a chemical compound that our bodies use to produce NAD+. It is a form of vitamin B3 and it is the most efficient known precursor to NAD+. It's a pyridine-nucleoside but don't bother to know more about that unless you are a chemistry student. What's important to know is that Nicotinamide riboside is derived from vitamin B3 also known as Niacin. There is also another form of B3 called nicotinic acid. Both NR and nicotinic acid have different effects on the body. Small amounts of Nicotinamide can be obtained by eating foods rich in niacin such as cow's milk, beef, poultry, fish, fortified cereals, whey protein and brewer's yeast.
The body uses this useful compound to create two coenzymes known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). The body uses these two coenzymes in many essential reactions including DNA repair, production of energy, and in regulating cell differentiation among many other functions. Without sufficient amounts of nicotinamide in your diet, some of these essential reactions in your body may be adversely affected with age due to the decline in NAD+. Researchers theorize that it is the age related decline in levels of NAD+ that may be responsible for the diseases of aging and poor health.
How NAD+ May Benefit Your Body and Overall Health
The inescapable reality is that as we get older our energy levels can begin to decline. We tend to prefer doing less and even if we wanted to do more, we are sometimes held back due to lower energy levels.
We can also feel weaker, loose muscle mass, and sadly we may lose motivation to do things that require energy.
These feelings of lower energy may be a sign that our cells are producing less ATP, which is a vital energy molecule used in cells and powers the body in many ways.
What does that have to do with NAD+ and NR?
To put it simply, Nicotinamide Riboside is the precursor to NAD+ and NAD+ is involved in the production of ATP. When cells are producing more energy, we may feel more energised and experience more joy and motivation. More ATP also powers our brain. Low levels of NAD+ are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Raising NAD+ may help your body to regenerate through improved cellular metabolism. Let's explore the benefits in more detail below.
Potential Anti-Aging Benefits?
The process of aging may be characterized by increasing levels of fatigue and gradual loss of motivation. Fatigue may result from the impairment of cellular functions that are essential to the body. NAD+ can help your body to transfer energy derived from the food we eat to important cell functions and can help to fight fatigue. It also may help to eliminate genes that accelerate the aging process. Some of the studies on NR have looked to see whether it can help slow down aging. Evidence of anti-aging has so far only been found in mice.
In the aging process, NAD+ levels in the body may gradually decline leading potentially to a reduced number of mitochondria. Mental and physical signs of aging may begin to appear when mitochondrial function is impaired. Research in mice has shown that NAD+ plays a key role in slowing down the aging process by protecting tissues and by promoting DNA repair.
Nicotinamide Riboside and Diabetes
There have been several studies conducted on mice to investigate how nicotinamide may help in the treatment of diabetes. In a 2015 study done in Korea, it was found that a group of mice that were given NAD+ supplements had better glucose tolerance than those who didn’t consume the supplement. Nicotinamide riboside not only reduced blood glucose in mice with Type 2 diabetes but also protected the mice from diabetic nerve problems. It was also found that cholesterol levels in mice that consumed the supplement were significantly reduced. It also showed that NAD+ may help with inflammation, glucose tolerance and insulin levels in obesity.
NAD+ May Promote Better Muscle Function
NAD+ helps to restore muscle mass. Studies on mice have shown that consuming the supplement preserves muscle NAD levels and helps maintain muscle mass and function. Damage to the mitochondria in muscle cells may result in a disease called mitochondrial myopathy. The disease causes muscle weakness and other muscle related problems. Oral administration of the supplement on mice suffering from the disease had improved mitochondrial function and restored lost muscle mass.
Does NAD+ Help Weight Loss and Obesity?
A 2012 Swiss study on the effects of nicotinamide riboside on weight loss and obesity showed that the compound may prevent metabolic abnormalities which may be caused by the consumption of high-fat diets. The researchers found that nicotinamide boosts production of NAD+ which has some evidence for its positive role in obesity. A human study found that NR was responsible for improved mitochondrial function. This is also associated with an improved metabolic rate. More studies are needed to determine whether NR is beneficial for weight loss or obesity.
Does it Help protect DNA?
Nicotinamide riboside has been found to limit or stop the growth of tumours in mice exposed to high levels of oxidative stress. This is mainly because reduced levels of NAD+ synthesis in the body may result in DNA damage. Increasing NAD+ levels may protect the cells against DNA damage and tumour progression. NAD+ levels have also shown to have an impact on age-related tumours. Increasing NAD+ levels has been studied as a potential treatment for liver health. It is important to note that Nicotinamide Riboside is not an approved treatment for any disease, illness or condition at this time.
Does it Improve Cognitive Function?
Mount Sinai researchers sought out to analyze how nicotinamide riboside affects Alzheimer’s disease in 2013 by giving a group of mice 250 mg of the supplement every day for 3 months. They found out in memory tests that the mice had improved cognitive function. The treatment also resulted in increased levels of NAD+ in the mice. This demonstrated the positive effect of nicotinamide riboside on cognitive function on mice.
Are There Other Health Benefits?
Some studies done on nicotinamide riboside have shed light on its potential benefits to the body in many ways. Taking the supplement may help in the treatment of asthma or hearing loss which can be a consequence of the aging process. It has shown to be potentially beneficial for acne vulgaris when it’s combined with zinc and folic acid. The supplement may fight acne by reducing the skin's inflammatory responses that could result in acne. Another study found that NAD+ levels may have an impact on our body's body clock (circadian rhythm) which may help with jet lag or other circadian rhythm disorders.
There are currently 39 registered clinical trials using NR for conditions such as:
- Heart Failure
- Aging, Muscle Weakness
- Metabolic Disturbance
- Kidney Disease
- Blood Pressure
- Neurodegenerative Diseases
- Obesity, Diabetes, Diabetic Neuropathy
- Insulin Resistance
- Mood, Sleep
- Parkinson Disease and more
What Are People Saying About Nicotinamide Riboside?
Anecdotally, people are reporting feeling great with more stamina and more energy. Some people are reporting to be taking NR for many months and express the desire to continue. There are online reviews from older people stating that they are returning to exercise and some are seeing improvements in sleep and are pleased that they no longer experience the mid-afternoon slump in energy. Interestingly, there are quite a few online reviews from doctors who are taking NR and reporting good results. A few users report they need doses of 500+mg to feel the effects.
Note: one thing that stands out for most people is that the benefits gradually appear over time.
Is There a Natural Way to Increase Nicotinamide Riboside?
The first thing to do is limit or stop the things that can reduce NAD+ such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, inadequate sleep and other poor lifestyle choices. Foods such as broccoli, milk, beef and fish do contain small amounts but there is no evidence to suggest these foods can limit the decline of NAD+ levels with age. Food does not appear to be able to increase NAD+ as effectively as a NR supplement. Calorie restriction has been reported to potentially increase levels of NAD+.
What Are the Side Effects of Nicotinamide Riboside?
There have been more than 100 studies done on nicotinamide riboside and it has been found to be generally safe, with no harmful effects. One of the studies on NAD+ published in 2016 in the Human and Experimental Toxicity Journal stated that the supplement is not genotoxic and doesn’t have adverse side effects on the liver, ovaries, testes, and kidneys. Another human study found that doses of up to 1000mg per day were found to be well tolerated with no negative reactions and no flushing.
Are There Cases Where No Benefits Were Found?
In one human clinical trial it was found that doses of 2000mg of NR had no positive impact on various metabolic markers in obese insulin resistant men.
How Much NR Do I Take?
Studies have found that doses of 100mg are able to increase levels of NAD+ in the body. Clinical trials in humans have used a range of doses from 250mg all the way up to 2000mg. The dose recommended for NAD Pro is 1 tablet per day which consists of 250mg of Nicotinamide Riboside. The amounts required can vary based on many factors so you can experiment within the clinically established safe ranges of 250mg-1000mg and gauge the effects. Other popular brands recommend 300mg once per day. If you are unsure, seek advise from your doctor.
Boosting NAD+ has shown promising results in animal studies as well as some human studies. This has generated a lot of interest by modern researchers with several more human clinical trials underway world-wide. Some of these trials are using Nicotinamide Riboside as a potential therapy for some serious illnesses. When a supplement gets this much positive attention, one can't help but feel excited for what it has to offer.
When it comes to quality, don't settle for cheaper or inferior brands that might save you a few dollars. NAD Pro is manufactured by Profound Products - a company that prides itself on strict quality standards, safety and effectiveness. You can view all the ingredients on the label and be sure that the Nicotinamide Riboside used is of the highest purity and free from harmful excipients.
The NAD+ Precursor Nicotinamide Riboside Enhances Oxidative Metabolism and Protects against High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity
NAD⁺ repletion improves mitochondrial and stem cell function and enhances life span in mice
Nicotinamide Riboside Ameliorates Hepatic Metaflammation by Modulating NLRP3 Inflammasome in a Rodent Model of Type 2 Diabetes
Loss of NAD Homeostasis Leads to Progressive and Reversible Degeneration of Skeletal Muscle
The NAD(+) precursor nicotinamide riboside enhances oxidative metabolism and protects against high-fat diet-induced obesity
Boosting NAD(+) for the prevention and treatment of...
The NAD(+) precursor nicotinamide riboside enhances oxidative metabolism and protects against high-fat diet-induced obesity
Nicotinamide riboside restores cognition through an upregulation of proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1α regulated β-secretase 1 degradation and mitochondrial gene expression in Alzheimer's mouse models
Safety assessment of nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3
Role of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide and Related Precursors as Therapeutic Targets for Age-Related Degenerative Diseases: Rationale, Biochemistry, Pharmacokinetics, and Outcomes
Is an Anti-Aging Pill on the Horizon?
Improved liver function and liver regeneration
Pre-eclampsia, lowering blood pressure and reducing entothelial dysfunction
Mitigating age related decline
Hepatitis B, SIRT Inhibition and Anti-Viral activity
Reversing colon aging, restoring bowel movements in chronic constipation
Mitochondrial stress study
Lowering cholesterol and treating CVD
Parkinson Disease and nerve cell energy
New study - VEGF and FAO inhibition
Heart Health and cellular repair