NR is found naturally in trace amounts in milk and other foods, and is a more potent, no-flush version of niacin (vitamin B3). Published research has shown that NR is a potent precursor to NAD+ in the mitochondria of animals. NAD+ is an important cellular co-factor for improvement of mitochondrial performance and energy metabolism.
As organisms age, NAD+ levels drop, which leads to a decrease in mitochondrial health; this in turn leads to age-related health issues. Low NAD+ levels limit activity of a group of enzymes called sirtuins, which are believed to play a key role in longevity. NAD+ levels also can be depleted by lifestyle choices such as overeating and lack of exercise. By boosting NAD+, NR can increase mitochondrial health and induce creation of new mitochondria.
Irvine, CA-based Chromadex has been accumulating the IP surrounding NR for a couple of years, having licensed patents from Cornell University, Dartmouth College, and Washington University in St Louis.
As the science develops, more and more companies are launching products containing the ingredient.
Frank Jaksch, founder and CEO, of ChromaDex told us: “NR is growing like crazy, unlike anything I have seen before, as evidenced by our 5 consecutive quarters of growth.”
There are approximately 10 dietary supplement products currently commercially available with NR, added Jaksch, with several more to come.
The company recently announced the launch of a CVS Health product called Niagen NR Age Defense, which will are available nationwide and offers 30 capsules for $17.99.
As reported earlier this year by NutraIngredients-USA, initial results of the first human clinical study for Niagen nicotinamide riboside indicated that a single dose of NR resulted in statistically significant increases in NAD+ in healthy human volunteers, thereby supporting similar conversion of NR into NAD+ as has been shown in prior animal studies.
Data from the study, performed in the laboratory of Dr Charles Brenner at the University of Iowa, also supported the safety profile of the ingredient.
“The results of this study constitute a significant milestone in the translation of NR technologies as it is first time an increase in NAD+ in humans has been demonstrated through NR supplementation,” said Dr Brenner in February 2015. “As noted in numerous scientific studies, the potential health and therapeutic benefits of NR as a precursor to NAD+ are significant. The results of this clinical study should encourage more studies and research regarding the possible health benefits of NR in humans.”
Two recent papers have also reported potential liver health benefits for the ingredient. One paper, published in Hepatology (doi: 10.1002/hep.28245), found that boosting NAD+ may help manage the development or progression of NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).
Another paper, published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods (doi: 10.1089/jmf.2015.3439), found that NR may attenuate low grade chronic inflammation (metaflammation) in lab mice.
“The liver support is still new,” Jaksch told us, “and we are working on a plan on that. We are looking at both DS and medical or clinical nutrition.”