A groundbreaking human clinical trial was the first of its kind to give new insight into nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3. The trial could have major ramifications for how aging is perceived and tackled in the future. Before this clinical trial, tests had only been done on mice, making for a massive leap in evidence regarding this exciting nutrient.1
The research, reported in the journal Nature Communications, was led by Charles Brenner, Ph.D., professor, and Roy J. Carver, Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. It was done in collaboration with colleagues at Queens University Belfast and ChromaDex Corp. which supplied the NR used in the trial. This is the product Niagen, one of the few commercial nicotinamide riboside products on the market.
Six men and six women, all in good health, took part in the trial. Each participant received single oral doses of 100 mg, 300 mg, or 1,000 mg of NR. This took place in different sequences with a seven-day gap between doses. Following each dose, blood and urine samples were collected and analyzed to show measured levels of a cell metabolite—known as NAD+. As levels of NAD+ decrease with age, some believe that they may play a role in cellular decline.
The end results showed that using nicotinamide riboside increased NAD+ metabolism by amounts directly related to the dose. In addition, there were no major side effects.
“This trial shows that oral NR safely boosts human NAD+ metabolism,” Brenner says. “We are excited because everything we are learning from animal systems indicates that the effectiveness of NR depends on preserving and/or boosting NAD+ and related compounds in the face of metabolic stresses. Because the levels of supplementation in mice that produce beneficial effects are achievable in people, it appears that health benefits of NR will be translatable to humans safely.”
Brenner also took the study into his own hands—literally. Prior to this trial, he performed a pilot study on himself using Niagen. This dates back to 2004, where he discovered that NR is a natural product found in milk and that there is a pathway to convert NR to NAD+ in people. To test this, he took 1 gram of Niagen once a day for seven days, while having his blood and urine samples tested.
The experiment showed that Brenner’s blood NAD+ increased by about 2.7 times. “While this was unexpected, I thought it might be useful,” Brenner says. “NAD+ is an abundant metabolite and it is sometimes hard to see the needle move on levels of abundant metabolites. But when you can look at a low-abundance metabolite that goes from undetectable to easily detectable, there is a great signal to noise ratio, meaning that NAAD levels could be a useful biomarker for tracking increases in NAD+ in human trials.”
In the future, look out for Niagen trials for longer durations, as well as tests on people dealing with diseases and health conditions, including elevated cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and people at risk for chemotherapeutic peripheral neuropathy. At the moment, it’s clear that Niagen produces the desired biological result. The next step is showing that this leads directly to health benefits.
What does this mean for you, the consumer? Well, for one, there is more reason than ever to try and incorporate nicotinamide riboside into your health regimen. We already know that vitamin B3 helps support heart health, lower cholesterol, and even support brain health and glucose regulation.2 However, there is now a solution to tackle this at the cellular level.
At the moment, there are few commercial products on the market to take advantage of nicotinamide riboside, one of which is Niagen. Niagen has been scientifically proven to have the following effects:
- Increases NAD+ levels in cells and tissues
- Supports healthy skin
- Promotes mitochondrial function which is an important component of aging
- Promotes beneficial effects on blood lipids by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within normal range3
Why is this so important? The body naturally produces vitamin B3 as we grow, and can also be found in dietary sources like beets, fish, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and liver. However, the body produces less and less of this naturally as we age. 4 Niagen is your perfect partner in this area, and with this new clinical trial, there’s more evidence than ever to take advantage of this nutrient to live your healthiest life.