- Nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3 mimics caloric restriction (CR)
- NR can activate some key biological pathways that calorie restriction activates
- NR supplement can improve blood pressure (BP) and arterial health
A dietary supplement called nicotinamide riboside (NR) was found to have the potential for reversing cardiovascular aging. NR is a form of vitamin B3 that acts as a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD+.
Scientists have known all along that restricting calories can prevent physiological signs of aging. Many studies have been done with fruit flies, roundworms, rodents and even on people show that chronically cutting the intake of calories by about a third can reap numerous health benefits and can even extend lifespan.
‘Nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplementation is now made available and can restore the activity of enzymes responsible for protecting the bodies from stress.’
However, from a public health perspective, following this could be impractical for many and dangerous for few people.
is a dietary regimen that reduces the intake of calories without being subjected to malnutrition.
or niacinamide is a vitamin found in food and often used as a dietary supplement.
Supplementation of Nicotinamide riboside (NR)
This small 'pilot' study has been published by the University of Colorado Boulder in the journal Nature Communications.
The authors of this study were Doug Seals and lead author Chris Martens, then a postdoctoral fellow at CU Boulder.
The results show that when a natural dietary supplement called nicotinamide riboside (NR) is consumed daily, it mimics caloric restriction (CR), initiating the same fundamental chemical pathways accountable for its health benefits.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplement can also improve blood pressure (BP)
and arterial health, especially in those who have mild hypertension, reveals the study.
Doug Seals, senior author, a professor, and researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology said that this is the very first study, which has made the novel compound available to humans in a long time.
"We found that it is well tolerated and appears to activate some of the same key biological pathways that calorie restriction does," said Seals.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) causes No Side Effects
In this study, about 24 lean and healthy men and women who were in the age group of 55 and 79 from the Boulder area were included and were divided into two groups.
The first half of the group were given a placebo for six weeks and then were given a 500 mg dose of nicotinamide riboside (NR) chloride (NIAGEN) twice a day. The other half were given NR for the first six weeks and then followed by a placebo.
The research team collected blood samples and other physiological measurements of the participants at the end of each treatment period. There were no severe adverse effects reported by the participants, reveals the research team.
The results show that daily consumption of 1,000 mg of NR increased the levels of another compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) by 60 percent.
Importance of Nicotinamide riboside (NR)
NAD+ is needed for activation of enzymes called sirtuins, which attribute to the beneficial effects of calorie restriction.
NAD+ is involved in a host of metabolic actions throughout the body. However, it tends to diminish with age. Studies show that the body conserves NAD+ when subjected to calorie restriction, as an evolutionary survival mechanism.
Recently, scientists have begun to explore the idea of supplementing with so-called "NAD+ precursors" like NR to promote healthy aging.
"The idea is that by supplementing older adults with NR, we are not only restoring something that is lost with aging (NAD+), but we could potentially be ramping up the activity of enzymes responsible for helping protect our bodies from stress," Martens said.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) Lowers Blood Pressure
In this study, the research team found that systolic blood pressure was 10 points lower after supplementation in about 13 participants who had high levels of blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension (120-139/80-89 mmHg), when translated into a 25 percent reduction in heart attack risk.
The team said that if this reduction with NR supplementation can be confirmed in a larger clinical trial can lead to the development of broad biomedical implications.
These CR-mimicking compounds can provide an additional option, apart from the changes in the diet and exercise regimen, which are currently being recommended for people who do not yet have high blood pressure levels but are at risk of developing a heart attack.
Need for Further Research
Definitive claims cannot be made yet about its safety and effectiveness, as the research needs to be conducted on a much larger group, said Martens, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware.
The study authors Martens and Seals have applied for a grant to conduct a larger clinical trial to study the impact of NR supplementation on blood pressure and arterial health.
A separate trial is also being launched by Martens that shows the impact NR has on older adults with mild cognitive impairment, which is a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.
- Caloric Restriction - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696577/)
- Pathways Underlying the Benefits of Calorie Restriction - (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/pathways-underlying-benefits-calorie-restriction)
- Caloric restriction mimetic - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caloric_restriction_mimetic)