AN OVERVIEW OF NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE
Anti-aging products have always been a very hot topic. So many supplements have been produced over the years with claims of “restoring your youth,” but there is very little evidence to support a majority of them. There have also been concerns regarding the safety of some of these products. Cases of failed anti-aging products and procedures are not that rare, with some consumers reporting terrible and irreversible adverse reactions.
Something else you will notice with over the counter anti-aging products is they are mostly formulated to deal with the issue topically. In simpler terms, they are more anti-wrinkle products than they are anti-aging supplements. That’s because the products simply try to reduce the wrinkles on your face. It’s understandable why this is the case because your skin is the visible evidence of your aging. However, it is not the only one.
Nicotinamide Riboside is a rare anti-aging compound that approaches the problem from the inside. It is not a cream to be applied on the skin, but rather, it is ingested into the body. It takes a very bold approach, but does it work?
What is Nicotinamide Riboside?
Nicotinamide Riboside is also known as Niagen. It is a form of Vitamin B3 that is believed to have plenty of health benefits. The molecule is a precursor to a coenzyme known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). In other words, when Nicotinamide Riboside gets into your system, your body converts it into NAD+. And how is that helpful? Well, NAD+ is linked to numerous health benefits ranging from anti-aging effects to enhanced metabolism.
As we age, the levels of NAD+ in our bodies reduce drastically. With diminished NAD+, we start to experience different effects and not just aging. Neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease start to appear. The risk for vision loss, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases also goes up tremendously.
With this in mind, it makes sense that supplementation of NAD+ can help reverse not just aging but symptoms of other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. This has been shown in several animal studies.
But here is the problem, dietary supplements are not investigated or regulated by the FDA. The human trials on the compounds are also very limited. Therefore, most of the purported benefits of supplements are usually theoretical and based on either animal studies or anecdotal evidence. The issue with this is we cannot conclusively tell the effect of the supplements on humans.
What sets Nocitinamide Riboside apart is the presence of some evidence that it is not just orally bioavailable in humans, but that it can also increase NAD+ levels. The trials are not many, but when combined with anecdotal evidence, Nicotinamide Riboside supplements make a very compelling case.
What Are the Benefits of Nicotinamide Riboside?
Here are some of the potential benefits of taking Nicotinamide Riboside:
- Facilitates Healthy Aging
Nicotinamide Riboside does not stop aging (nothing does), but it promotes healthy aging. It does so by increasing NAD+ levels, which boosts certain molecules and functions in the body. For starters, it supports sirtuin enzymes and the mitochondria functions. This makes aging gracefully a realistic and achievable thing. It helps to prevent inflammation and stress while boosting the repair of damaged DNA.
- Boosts Energy Production
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide plays an important role in converting food into fuel for the cells. When there is enough NAD+ in the system, like when we are young, the process of converting food to cellular fuel is usually very efficient, and that’s why youthfulness is always linked to vitality. The problem is that aging takes its toll on NAD+ levels, and with this, the process of producing cellular energy is affected.
Since Nicotinamide Riboside boosts NAD+ levels, it helps in restoring efficient energy production. As a result, users of the supplement are likely to see a boost in energy and overall physical activity.
- Promotes Brain Function
It’s believed that Nicotinamide Riboside can promote brain functions by increasing Sirtuins and NAD in the brain cells and nerves. This triggers enzymes that promote cognitive performance and neuroplasticity, which enhances learning.
The presence of NAD+ also boosts the secretion of PDC-1-alpha, an enzyme that protects brain cells against oxidative stress. It also keeps the cells safe from impaired mitochondrial function.
The ability of NR to protect the brain cells is also part of the reason why some researchers believe that it can also be used to treat the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. This has been seen in both vitro (test-tube experiments) and animal studies.
- Reduces The Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
The incidence rate of cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure is very high in the aging population. Part of the reason for this is the changes in the blood vessels that come with aging. As we age, the arteries tend to become stiffer and thicker. This counters the pumping action of the heart. As a result, the organ is forced to work a lot harder.
Studies have shown that supplementation of NAD+ can reverse the effects of aging on the blood vessels. This helps to make them more flexible, thus reducing the risk of high blood pressure and other conditions. There’s also evidence to show that NAD+ reduces systolic blood pressure.
- Boosts Metabolism
Healthy NAD+ and Sirtuin levels support a healthy metabolic rate. They make the cells more active in converting food to fuel. As a result, it increases the body’s ability to use and control cholesterol and insulin. It also promotes a healthy inflammatory response.
The fact that NR boosts metabolism also hints at the possibility of it being helpful in weight loss. There’s, however, no human trial to support that.
What Are the Side Effects of Nicotinamide Riboside?
So many people have used Nicotinamide Riboside without reporting any severe adverse reactions. The few trials done on the compound did not report any severe effects as well. However, most of these studies were carried out over a very short period, so the potential long-term effects of the substance remain mostly unknown.
All the evidence seems to suggest that using Nicotinamide Riboside appropriately should not cause any adverse reactions. It’s also worth noting that, unlike Vitamin B3 supplements, NR does not cause facial flushing.
With that in mind, it is also vital to mention that some of the NR users experienced headaches, fatigue, nausea, stomach discomfort, indigestion, and diarrhea. It remains unclear whether these effects were a result of overdosing, contraindications, or just a person’s unique system rejecting or reacting negatively to the compound. For that reason, it’s important to use NR carefully, especially in your initial stages.
Nicotinamide Riboside Dose
The recommended Nicotinamide Dose is 250-300mg per day or 1-2 capsules per day. Nicotinamide Riboside or Niagen supplements typically come in capsules or powder. Some retailers will stock both while others specialize in just one. It really doesn’t matter which one you go for. What matters is checking what the supplement contains. That’s because some niagen supplements don’t contain Nicotinamide Ribose alone. Some suppliers add other compounds like the antioxidant Pterostilbene.
For beginners, it’s recommended that you start with just one capsule per day. It’s also best if you go for a Niagen supplement that doesn’t contain any other compound. This is very important in making sure that your body’s initial response to the new compound is not terrible.
Nicotinamide Riboside is a very promising compound. Not only is it full of health benefits, but it is also very safe to the body. It goes beyond typical anti-aging cream and supplements to give the user additional benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, increased energy levels, and efficient metabolic function. This has been proven in numerous Vitro and animal studies, as well as a few human trials.
That said, we also have to point out that a lot of the evidence backing the efficacy of this substance is based on animal studies. While they are all very promising, there’s no telling what the effect can be on humans. So far, the anecdotal evidence available seems to show nothing but great results, but the long term effects of the compound remain blurry. Therefore, it’s important to tread carefully if you do decide to use the substance. Consulting your medical provider before using it is also not a bad idea at all. We’d really love to see more reliable human trials done on Nicotinamide Riboside.