Nicotinamide Riboside – Niagen® for Health & Longevity

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Getting old sucks. The aging process is inevitable but that does not mean you should give up and rush the process.

What if I told you there was an all-natural vitamin that could slow or reverse fat gain, increase energy levels, halt muscle breakdown, and protect against oxidative stress? If you want to add life to your years and years to your life then keep reading because Niagen®, a unique form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside, might be exactly what you need.

Nicotinamide riboside is naturally found in trace amounts in milk, beef liver, and other foods. [1][2] In 2004 researchers found that nicotinamide riboside acts as a vitamin precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, also known as NAD+, in humans. [3]

NAD+ is critical molecule found in every cell that ensures normal cellular metabolism and converts food in to a usable form of energy through blood glucose. [4] NAD+ also promotes strong communication between the nucleus of the cell and the energy powerhouse of the cell called the mitochondria. [5] Unfortunately, as we age, overeat, and decrease our exercise, our NAD+ levels drops which can lead to numerous health problems.

In 2007 Charles Brenner discovered a unique form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside. [6] This powerful compound can increase NAD+ levels in the blood with virtually zero side effects.

ChromaDex® acquired the intellectual property on uses and synthesis of nicotinamide riboside and began offering nicotinamide riboside supplementation in the form of Niagen® in 2013. [1] Research continues to emerge on Niagen’s® potent health-promoting and anti-agents benefits.

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Nicotinamide Riboside Recommended Dose & Use

Nicotinamide riboside is recommended for those looking to improve cognitive function, increase metabolism, improve muscular endurance, slow the aging process, and improve their overall health. The National Science Foundation certifies NIAGEN® for Sport so it’s safe and effective for athletes. [7]

This all-natural supplement safely raises NAD+ levels in the blood more effectively than traditional niacin supplementation and without the infamous niacin flush. [8] Characteristics of niacin flush include red face and skin that feels warm, itchy, tingling, or burning.

Both human and animal studies found that once daily oral supplementation of nicotinamide riboside is an all-natural and effective way to increase NAD+ blood levels. The most popular product containing nicotinamide riboside is High Performance Nutrition’s N(r). The manufacturer recommends a once daily dose of 2 capsules upon waking or immediately prior to consuming your first meal of the day.

Two capsules provide 250 milligrams of nicotinamide riboside and one bottle will last 30 days. It is not necessary to take Niagen® with a meal and offers maximum benefit through on-going daily use. However, after each bottle, the manufacturer recommends taking a 3 to 5-day break from Niagen® supplementation. [7]

While NIAGEN® is all-naturally, cycling off for a few days will improve your body’s response to nicotinamide riboside’s powerful health-promoting effects once you begin the second bottle.

A Deeper Look at Nicotinamide Riboside Benefits

As of this article’s writing, there is only one notable study examining the effects of nicotinamide riboside on humans. However, there are several studies using animal and cell models which offer promising results and support the need for more studies in humans.

Nicotinamide riboside supplementation appears to be a safe and effective way to fight the aging process, fat gain, oxidative stress, and cognitive decline.

A controlled clinical trial on human subjects found that nicotinamide riboside supplementation is safe for humans, significantly increases NAD+ levels in the blood, and does not cause any serious side effects. [9] This study of six males and six females found that just a single dose of NIAGEN® increases NAD+ blood levels by 33% eight hours after consumption. [5][9]

In the non-clinical setting nicotinamide riboside continues looks very promising in humans, even at higher doses. One consultant for ChromaDex® consumed 1,000 milligrams of nicotinamide riboside daily for seven days and found that the NAD+ levels in his blood increased by almost 270% and NAD+’s metabolite, NAAD, by over 450%. [9]

Additional long-term studies are required to see if this dose of nicotinamide riboside offers additional health effects beyond an increase in NAD+ blood levels.

While the benefits of this unique form of vitamin B3 are just beginning to emerge in humans, the compound’s health-promoting effects are significantly more well-established in animal and cell models. In cell models nicotinamide riboside activates sirtuin, which is responsible for removing the acetyl group from proteins. [10]

This action fights age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s as effectively as caloric restriction but without having to eat fewer calories. [6] This is great news to those of us that love to eat but also want to live a long and health life.

Multiple studies on mice found that nicotinamide riboside is effective at combating fat gain. One study compared two populations of mice; both of which ate a high-fat diet but one of which consumed nicotinamide riboside. The mice consuming nicotinamide riboside gained 60% less weight, had no indications of developing diabetes, higher energy levels, and lower cholesterol levels than the high-fat diet only group. [4]

This is great news for those struggling to lose fat and control their calorie consumption as nicotinamide riboside appears ideal for damage control after eating indulgently.

For athletes, nicotinamide riboside offers numerous benefits. In animal models the compound increased endurance by more than 30% through upregulating mitochondrial function. [8] Cardiovascular and muscular endurance are two of the most critical factors in becoming a high-performing athlete.

Another study found that Niagen® increased the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) between feeding and fasting periods as well as lowered key biochemical markers of muscle health in older mice back to levels seen in young mice. [8] An improved RER and markers of muscle health mean you’ll be able to perform at higher levels for longer periods of time both in the gym and on the field.

Additional mice and cell studies found that nicotinamide riboside helps to regulate blood and cholesterol, reduce nerve damage, increase insulin sensitivity, extend lifespan, and protect the brain from degradation. [9][11] While these findings are by no means absolute and directly translatable in human subjects, the findings are extremely positive and encouraging.

More long-term studies on humans are needed to confirm this benefits.

Nicotinamide Riboside – NIAGEN® FAQs

Where can I find Nicotinamide Riboside today?
Ceragen

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ChromaDex® owns the copyright and patent to the production of Niagen®, which is the nicotinamide riboside found in dietary supplement products. You can find Niagen® as a standalone ingredient in the dietary supplement Ceragen by Per Vitam Health.

A serving of 2 capsules provides 250 milligrams of nicotinamide riboside. A small handful of other products combine 250 milligrams of nicotinamide riboside with health-promoting ingredients like trans-resveratrol as part of a non-proprietary blend.

Look for Niagen® in the ingredients to ensure you’re getting the highest quality form of nicotinamide riboside.

Does NIAGEN® have any side effects?

A growing body of research indicates that nicotinamide riboside has virtually zero side effects, even at moderate or high dosages in both animals and humans. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers Niagen® generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a food ingredient if it comprises no more than 0.027% of a product’s weight. [12]

There are no natural foods or processed foods currently in existence that a nicotinamide riboside content higher than this quantity. Nicotinamide riboside is not genotoxic, which means it will not damage the genetic information within a cell and cause potentially cancerous genetic mutations.

Even at dosages of 5,000 milligrams per kilogram in mice nicotinamide riboside did not cause deaths or adverse side effects. [13] In short, nicotinamide riboside is just as safe as the most popular form of vitamin B3, also known as niacin, nicotinamide, or niacinamide.

Is NIAGEN® safe to stack with other supplements?

Niagen®, also known as nicotinamide riboside, is very safe to stack with other supplements. Niagen® is a unique form of vitamin B3. B-vitamins are water-soluble so any excess consumption results in the excretion through urine, sweat, and respiration. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, excess B-vitamins are not stored in the fat cells so they will not accumulate and reach toxic levels in the body.

Since Niagen® provides a high-quality form of vitamin B3, there is no need to supplement with additional vitamin B3 in other forms. Niagen® is an excellent component of a pre-workout or general health and wellness supplement stack.

If you have preexisting medical conditions or are worried about combining Niagen® with other supplements or pharmaceuticals, then please consult your healthcare professional.

References

1) ChromaDex. “ChromaDex® Introduces NIAGEN™ – The First and Only Commercially Available Nicotinamide Riboside.” PR Newswire, Cision, 29 May 2013, Accessed Mar. 2017.
2) Imai, T., and B. M. Anderson. “Nicotinamide Riboside Phosphorylase from Beef Liver.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Arch Biochem Biophys, Apr. 1987, Accessed Mar. 2017.
3) Bieganowski, P., and C. Brenner. “Discoveries of Nicotinamide Riboside As a Nutrient and Conserved NRK Genes Establish a Preiss-Handler Independent Route to NAD+ in Fungi and Humans.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Cell, 14 Apr. Accessed Mar. 2017.
4) ChromaDex. “ChromaDex Lead Ingredient NIAGEN® Nicotinamide Riboside Receives New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) Status From the FDA.” GlobeNewswire News Room, Nasdaq, 16 Nov. 2015, Accessed Mar. 2017.
5) NIAGEN. ChromaDex, 2017, chromadex.com/niagen/. Accessed Mar. 2017.
6) Belenky, P., et al. “Nicotinamide Riboside Promotes Sir2 Silencing and Extends Lifespan Via Nrk and Urh1/Pnp1/Meu1 Pathways to NAD+.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Cell, 4 May 2007, Accessed Mar. 2017.
7) HPN N(R) Niagen. Tiger Fitness, 2017, Accessed Mar. 2017.
8) Ingredient – NIAGEN®. ChromaDex, 2016, chromadex.com/media/2142/ingredientsalesheets_niagen_nl-1016.pdf. Accessed Mar. 2017.
9) University of Iowa Health Care. “First Human Clinical Trial for Nicotinamide Riboside: Vitamin Safely Boosts Levels of Important Cell Metabolite Linked to Multiple Health Benefits.” ScienceDaily, 10 Oct. 2016, Accessed Mar. 2017.
10) Gan, L. “Therapeutic Potential of Sirtuin-activating Compounds in Alzheimer’s Disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Drug News Perspect, May 2007, Accessed Mar. 2017.
11) Chi, Y., and A. A. Sauve. “Nicotinamide Riboside, a Trace Nutrient in Foods, is a Vitamin B3 with Effects on Energy Metabolism and Neuroprotection.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, Nov. 2013, Accessed Mar. 2017.
12) Kruger, Claire L. “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Determination for Niagen™ (Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride).” United States Food and Drug Administration, 8 Mar. 2016, Accessed Mar. 2017.
13) Conze, D. B., et al. “Safety Assessment of Nicotinamide Riboside, a Form of Vitamin B3.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, Hum Exp Toxicol, 20 Jan. 2016, Accessed Mar. 2017.

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Name: Nick Ludlow

Bio: When it comes to fitness I enjoy reading about historic weight lifters, non-conventional weightlifting approaches, nutritional protocols, and the science behind supplements.