Cut down aging by fixing my cells? Perhaps you haven’t heard about Niagen before, but this groundbreaking supplement admittedly sounds a bit farfetched at first. However, it’s important to note that Niagen not only has great potential, but is proven as well. Here are some examples of how it’s already clear that Niagen can help you.
The Science on Niagen
Several different studies have shown different research details about Niagen, but one clinical trial is key to what we know. The research, reported in the journal Nature Communications, led by Charles Brenner, Ph.D., professor and Roy J. Carver Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in collaboration with colleagues at Queens University Belfast and ChromaDex Corp. which supplied Niagen for the trial.
Six men and six women, all healthy, 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+. You’ll later see why this particular fact is so important.
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 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.”2
Other studies on Niagen in other products have shown positive effects on NAD+ levels. One larger study in elderly people showed that a single 250 mg dose of Niagen increased blood NAD+ levels by 40%. These elevated levels were maintained throughout the 8 weeks of the trial. The findings showed that a sweet spot for Niagen supplementation was between 250-500 mg per day. However, there are some differences when it comes to this area.
Why Should We Care?
Niagen, also known as nicotinamide riboside, is a natural version of vitamin B3 found in milk as a trace element. We know that vitamin B3 supports many different health functions, but Niagen is special, especially when it comes to aging.1
It all goes back to NAD+. By helping transfer energy from food to cells, this co-enzyme is a central block of our cellular function. However, we produce less and less of it as we age. When it gets to low levels, this can lead to:
- Increased sunburn
- Increased visceral fat storage (increased belly fat)
- Increased blood sugar levels and metabolic syndrome
- Worsening cardiovascular diseases
- Increased fat storage in the liver
- Other effects of aging and health conditions
Sound familiar? These effects of aging may be directly tied to the natural decrease of NAD+, making it all the more important that we find more of it. While we mentioned the studies before, there are also more in progress that may reveal even more about Niagen. A collaboration between Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo and Washington University School of Medicine is going to be the first long-term clinical trial for Niagen in humans. This is going to be checking for:
- change in insulin sensitivity
- change in beta-cell function
- works to control blood sugar
- blood vessels dilate
- effects of NMN on blood lipids
- effects of NMN on body fat
- markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health3
Similar tests in rodents have shown positive results. This is taking place over 2 years, with the final results to be found in 2018. The previous studies and rodent studies provide reason to hope that Niagen can support the body in other ways.