How many times have you heard someone say that “aging sucks.” Perhaps you’ve said something similar a time or two as you face changes in your physical ability, energy level or appearance due to age. We’re living in exciting times because researchers are coming remarkably close to turning “aging sucks” into “Aging? No big deal!”
These days, a supplement known as nicotinamide riboside, also know as Niagen, is generating the most excitement from researchers and everyday people who have seen what it can do for their energy levels and overall health. It has the potential to increase longevity through the prevention of disease, and it’s now readily available to people around the world.
This article summarizes the top health benefits of nicotinamide riboside, detailing the research behind each claim so that you can decide for yourself whether a Niagen supplement is beneficial for your body. If you’re developing an anti-aging regimen, this is one supplement that you want to know about.
1. Preserve Mitochondria Health for Increased Energy
This is one of the most difficult nicotinamide riboside benefits to understand if you don’t have a medical background, but it’s also the most intriguing. Mitochondria are found in every cell of your body and are critical to the production of ATP, which is the energy that is required for life.
Research has now identified a co-enzyme that helps mitochondria communicate with the nucleus of each cell while stimulating mitochondria biogenesis. Biogenesis refers to the reproduction and growth of mitochondria so that cellular energy is enhanced and continuous over time. Put in simple terms: This co-enzyme improves the functionality of mitochondria and encourages their regeneration for continuous energy as you age.
This co-enzyme is known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD. Like collagen and many other ingredients of youth, the production of NAD declines with age. This leads to dysfunction at the mitochondrial level, which brings about many signs of aging that we work so hard to reverse or hide. It turns out that preserving NAD helps preserve mitochondria, which in turn helps preserve energy levels as we age.
Mitochondria are also critical to the production of hormones, healthy regeneration of cells and many other biological processes. Energy levels are the big benefit that we all feel when our mitochondria are plentiful and healthy, but there are many other benefits happening on the inside.
What does nicotinamide riboside have to do with this? It turns out this supplement can significantly boost NAD levels, triggering that chain reaction that ends with healthy, plentiful mitochondria that keep your energy levels high and our bodies functioning properly.
Research into the relationships between NAD, nicotinamide riboside and mitochondria is still developing, but we do have some proof that high-quality nicotinamide riboside supplements can keep NAD levels high. For instance, one study asked healthy people between the ages of 60 and 80 to take a nicotinamide riboside supplement or a placebo for eight months.
The supplement used in this study was Basis from Elysium Health. Those taking 250 mg of the supplement daily increased the amount of NAD in their blood by 40 percent on average, and those taking 500 mg daily increased their blood NAD by an average of 90 percent.
These increases were recorded after four weeks of supplementation, and those results were maintained through the completion of the study four weeks later. Similar results were found when 21 people supplemented with about 1,000 mg of Tru Niagen daily for six weeks. Their NAD levels increased by about 60 percent.
These studies are among the most compelling research that proves nicotinamide riboside supplementation can promote anti-aging benefits at the cellular level.
2. Counteract Neurodegenerative Disease with Niagen
Any disease that is caused by the death of nerve cells in the peripheral system or the brain is categorized as a neurodegenerative condition. Some of the best-known diseases within this category include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and many forms of dementia. While a lot more research is needed to fully understand how nicotinamide riboside may help prevent these diseases in the future, preliminary studies show great promise.
One such study was published in the journal Trends in Cellular Biology in 2014. The researchers elaborated on how NAD works to preserve youth and health throughout the body, connecting the decline of NAD to many neurodegenerative diseases and other signs of aging. They concluded that supplements contributing to increased production of NAD can correct common defects in mitochondria that are believed to contribute to neurodegenerative conditions.
Does that sound like stopping the rapid decline of NAD with age is the key to longevity? While it’s far from a proven fountain of youth, this research does show that preserving NAD may help stop cellular changes that lead to life-threatening disease. Further research is needed to understand exactly how this happens and how we can maximize the benefits to prevent disease and extend our lifespans, but for now, we know that supplements like nicotinamide riboside can help counteract neurodegenerative changes in the brain by increasing the amount of NAD active in the body.
3. Regulate Circadian Rhythm to Improve Quality of Life and Prevent Illness
Any physical or mental process that responds to light and darkness in the surrounding environment is considered a circadian rhythm. This is where we get the term “circadian clock” in terms of when most people naturally want to sleep or wake up. We’ve known for quite some time that the wake/sleep cycle corresponds to the rise and fall of the sun each day, but research is now going much deeper to identify a variety of circadian rhythms and determine their impact on our health, longevity and quality of life.
Managing circadian rhythms and keeping them all in sync is important because they regulate all of the following plus much more:
- Body temperature
- Hormone levels
- Mood swings
- Sleep-wake cycle
When circadian rhythms are irregular, you’re at greater risk for everything from obesity and depression to chronic disease. This is why learning how to regulate circadian rhythms is so important, and that brings us back to NAD and nicotinamide riboside supplements like Niagen.
Researchers have discovered that proteins known as sirtuins play a critical role in metabolic functioning that regulates the circadian clock. A lot of the research conducted to date has been on fruit flies, yeast and other life forms other than mammals, and there is still a lot that we don’t understand about how these proteins work in general. There has also been some controversy, and ongoing research will provide more answers.
What we do know today is that nicotinamide riboside and NAD are needed to support sirtuins. In fact, as NAD levels decrease with age, sirtuins become less active. This furthers the breakdown of biological processes that are required for life.
By supplementing with nicotinamide riboside and taking other actions to increase NAD levels as you get older, you can keep your sirtuins active. This directly translates to more efficient regulation of your circadian rhythms to control everything from your moods and sleep schedule to hormone levels and ability to digest food effectively.
4. Improve Cognitive Function with Niagen
When researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to document the amount of NAD in the brains of healthy humans of varying ages, they provided scientific proof that there are shifts in NAD brain content with age. This research was published in the journal National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2015 and was among the first studies to verify that NAD production decreases with age and is likely a factor in the decline of human health over time.
This study found that older people have lower levels of NAD and display signs of reduced mitochondrial functioning. This provided solid support for additional studies that would look for ways to improve NAD homeostasis as humans age, possibly preventing cognitive impairment for future generations.
These new studies are providing exciting results. For instance, the National Institute on Aging released research in 2018 that found nicotinamide riboside prevented neurological damage and improved the cognitive functioning of mice infected with the symptoms of human Alzheimer’s. A nicotinamide riboside supplement was added to their water for three months, and the following cognitive improvements were recorded:
- Less brain DNA damage
- Reversal or prevention of hippocampus DNA damage
- Increased activity and reorganization in brain cells associated with memory
- Enhanced neuron production from stem cells
- Lower risk of neuron-level damage
- Reduced risk of death
DNA damage in the hippocampus is associated with dementia, and brain DNA damage in general is a hallmark sign of cognitive impairment. Studies like this one show why nicotinamide riboside is growing in popularity around the world. Not only could it one day lead to cures or preventative measures for neurodegenerative disease, but it can help healthy adults who want to improve their memory and learning abilities right now.
When the nicotinamide riboside-treated mice were challenged with mazes and other activities, they outperformed mice that didn’t receive the supplement. Nicotinamide riboside created positive changes in the brain that gave those mice a cognitive advantage, which is why many humans are now successfully using Niagen supplements that contain nicotinamide riboside to overcome brain fog, energy slumps and poor memory. If you’re prone to entering rooms and forgetting why you’re there, perhaps it could help you as well.
5. Overcome Genetic Predisposition for Alzheimer’s Disease
We’ve already touched on some of the research that supports the use of nicotinamide riboside for the prevention of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, but it’s important to realize that Niagen supplements are particularly powerful for people with a family history of Alzheimer’s. If you already have a genetic predisposition for DNA damage in the brain, you’re likely doing everything possible to keep your brain cells healthy and functional.
Nicotinamide riboside can help at the cellular level. Research has already proven that brains suffering from Alzheimer’s are unable to repair damaged DNA like healthy brains. Research in mice infected with the disease are proving that Niagen supplements have the power to stimulate those repairs, reducing or eliminating the damage that leads to Alzheimer’s. It’s only a matter of time until researchers are able to conclude that this works in human brains, but quality Niagen supplements are available to you right now.
The earlier you start supplementing, the more damage you can prevent. The more damage you prevent, the less likely you are to suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia like so many of your family members in the past.
6. Protect Against Cancer
The relationship between NAD and cancer is a hot topic right now due to research studies that have showed the potential for NAD to reduce the risk of cancer while also potentially fueling a dangerous brain cancer known as glioblastoma. It’s important for anyone considering a nicotinamide riboside supplement to consider both sides of the research before making a decision for their health.
Most of the research into this supplement shows great potential for the prevention of cancer. We now know that cancer patients have reduced levels of NAD in their body, which likely promotes disease at the cellular level. Researchers have proven that metabolic alterations to cells are common in the proto-oncogene that allows cancer cells to overpower healthy cells and flourish. One possible solution is to prevent those cellular alterations by overcoming the NAD depletion that is common in cancer patients.
As we have already learned, nicotinamide riboside is one of the most powerful supplements to stimulate the production of NAD. Research into the connection between NAD and the growth of cancer is still ongoing, but the studies completed to date are promising.
While that’s exciting, you can’t dismiss research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that found a gene in the brain’s NAD pathway could accelerate glioblastoma brain cancer. This has led some people to assume that supplementing with NAD precursors like nicotinamide riboside could cause brain cancer, but the researchers presenting this study have openly stated that this isn’t the case.
It’s important to recognize that the study doesn’t state that NAD causes glioblastoma. The implication is that a specific NAD pathway gene could speed up the spread of the cancer in patients already suffering. This means that most people who don’t already have brain cancer are likely safe.
For healthy adults with no known cancer, nicotinamide riboside has been proven safe in doses up to 1,000 mg. One of the first clinical trials in humans was released in 2016 and found no side effects for healthy adults taking the supplement up to that maximum dosage. Long-term studies will provide even more insight into the potential side effects, but it is generally considered safe.
7. Reduce Nerve Pain
Researchers from the UI Carver College of Medicine gave female rats a chemotherapy treatment that is commonly used to treat breast cancer patients. This treatment is known to cause extreme neuropathy that comes with nerve pain during and after treatment. The researchers suspected that supplementation with 200 mg/kg of nicotinamide riboside daily would reduce that pain.
Researchers started giving the rats the supplement one week prior to beginning the chemotherapy, and the supplementation continued 24 days after the end of treatment. The results showed a remarkable change in neuropathy sensitivity in rats receiving the supplement, showing that nicotinamide riboside may effectively reduce nerve sensitivity and pain in cancer patients going through chemotherapy treatment.
The next step for this research is a clinical trial that will test the supplement in humans. It’s important to note that this study only included one type of chemotherapy drug and was limited to female rats. A lot more research is needed to fully understand how nicotinamide riboside my help with nerve pain not only from chemotherapy but from diabetic neuropathy, arthritis and other conditions.
8. Protect Against Diabetes with Niagen
In 2015, more than 30 million Americans had diabetes and another 80 million or more had pre-diabetes. These statistics become more alarming by the year due to the unhealthy lifestyles embraced by many Americans today. Similar statistics are seen in other countries, reflecting a crisis that has researchers desperately searching for new solutions.
The answer just may come in the form of nicotinamide riboside. Studies have shown that type II diabetes is often caused by high-fat diets that overwhelm metabolic pathways and contribute to dysfunction and inefficiency. Research in diabetic mice has shown that stimulating NAD through nicotinamide riboside supplementation may help restore order in those metabolic pathways, helping to overcome or even prevent diabetes in the future.
Another study released by the University of Iowa Health Care in 2016 found that nicotinamide riboside is effective for the prevention of peripheral nerve damage in diabetic mice. Neuropathy leaves many human diabetics with debilitating pain and dangerous numbness that puts them at high risk for limb amputation. Clinical trials for humans are on the way, but this is just another reason to consider adding a Niagen supplement to your daily regimen.
9. Encourage Healthy Regrowth or Prevent Hair Loss
Let’s state upfront that there is currently no research that proves supplementing with nicotinamide riboside will stimulate new hair growth or prevent hair loss. What we do know is that many people who take this supplement consistently experience hair regrowth over time. Personal experience stories are popping up all over the internet from people who are seeing their hairlines fill back in and their hair thickening after years of thinning.
It’s impossible to say whether any current or past nicotinamide riboside users have prevented hair loss, but perhaps future research will give us an answer on that. For now, we’ll have to stick with the personal stories and know that there is anecdotal evidence that a Niagen supplement may effectively stimulate hair regrowth and possibly stop hair loss in some people. Keep in mind that there are many causes for hair loss, so this may not work for everyone.
10. Protect the Liver from Disease
With obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol on the rise, it’s not shocking that approximately 25 percent of Americans now suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This develops when too much fat is stored in the liver, preventing the organ from functioning efficiently. Healthy lifestyle choices like routine exercise and limiting the consumption of saturated fat are the best ways to prevent this disease, but researchers are now testing the theory that boosting NAD levels can help repair damaged liver tissue or possibly prevent the disease altogether.
In one study published in a 2016 issue of the journal Hepatology, researchers were successful at reversing fatty liver disease in mice. The mice were given nicotinamide riboside either as a preventative or corrective treatment. Researchers found that the supplement activated two specific sirtuins, and they in turn triggered a mitochondrial response that protected the liver and stopped the progression of the disease.
While this doesn’t prove that supplementing with nicotinamide riboside will prevent fatty liver disease in humans, it does give us a lot of hope. Like so many other benefits of Niagen supplements, the next step is to prove the benefit is real through human clinical trials. In the meantime, health-conscious individuals are taking Niagen supplements while doing their best to follow liver-friendly lifestyles.
11. Improve Muscle Mass and Functioning of Skeletal Muscle
Research into the relationship between NAD and muscle tissue is still developing, but we have seen enough studies with positive outcomes to know that this co-enzyme plays a critical role in keeping skeletal muscle tissue strong and healthy. Skeletal muscle is important to many internal systems, including the immune system. It requires a lot of energy to function correctly, and nicotinamide riboside helps by boosting NAD levels, which boost muscular energy levels in turn.
One 2016 study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine found that many people suffering from muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular degenerative disease may benefit from boosting NAD levels. The researchers noted that many of these diseases are caused by gene mutations that cause skeletal muscles to degenerate with time. They treated mice with similar muscular symptoms with NAD-boosting supplements and found that the mice showed significant improvement in symptoms.
This is likely due to the ability of NAD to correct gene mutations on the cellular level, but we won’t know for sure until clinical trials are conducted with humans. There are already new studies in development to research the possibility of restoring muscle function through the supplementation of nicotinamide riboside.
12. Reduce Blood Pressure for Heart Protection
A 2018 study published in the journal Nature Communications found that taking 500 mg of nicotinamide riboside twice daily noticeably improves NAD levels in the blood and has the potential to prevent cardiovascular disease. Enhanced NAD levels protect the heart by lowering systolic blood pressure and preventing the arteries from stiffening.
The researchers concluded that further clinical tri needed to prove the full heart benefits of nicotinamide riboside, but the results that we do have today are quite promising. This study also found that this supplement is safe for humans at least for short-term use. It’s also highly tolerable with no significant side effects noted to date.
13. Reduce the Risk of Obesity
When you think about supplements that are marketed to prevent or cure obesity, fat burners, appetite suppressants and energy enhancers may come to mind. These products work by helping you make healthy lifestyle choices like eating less, not absorbing fat or exercising more aggressively. Most haven’t proven effective in the long term for overweight and obese people, which is why researchers are still searching for ways to overcome the life-threatening consequences of obesity.
As research into the anti-aging and life-saving benefits of nicotinamide riboside continue, some researchers are looking at ways to use this powerful supplement to help obese people. One study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that the supplement can effectively activate sirtuins that overcome the metabolic damage known to occur from obesity.
Other studies have found that the supplement can reverse many side effects of obesity such as high blood pressure and clogged arteries. This doesn’t mean that you can take Niagen supplements and consume a high-fat diet without facing the health consequences in the future. It simply means that taking the supplement consistently over time could help reverse or possibly even prevent cellular damage that puts you at risk for obesity, high blood pressure and many related conditions.
Niagen Supplements Encourage Healthy Aging
Your reward for making it to the end of that detailed research is access to a high-quality Niagen supplement that will provide your body with adequate amounts of nicotinamide riboside to boost NAD levels safely. Research has shown that daily supplements with up to 1,000 mg of nicotinamide riboside are safe, and at least one study has supported the safe use of doses as high as 2,000 mg.
Some users start noticing the benefits of nicotinamide riboside within days, including increased energy levels, enhanced memory and fewer instances of brain fog. Will Niagen deliver the same benefits for you? You won’t know until you give it a try. It is recommended that you use it for several months to experience its full potential. You can learn more about one of the leading Niagen products Tru Niagen here.