The randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind study will enroll healthy male collegiate football linemen, not having a history of more than 3 concussions. Participants will take either 750 mg per day of nicotinamide riboside (NR, ChromaDex’s Niagen ingredient) or placebo for 84 days. Pre- and post-intervention evaluations include physical assessment, blood tests for safety and toxicity monitoring, blood tests for biomarkers, neurologic testing, quality of life questionnaires, and real time measurement of brain NAD using an advanced magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique pioneered by UM associate professor Xiao-Hong Zhu, PhD.
Published research has shown that NR is perhaps the most effective precursor to boost the co-enzyme NAD+ in the cell. NAD+ is arguably the most important cellular co-factor for improvement of mitochondrial performance and energy. In recent years, NAD+ has been shown to be essential in supporting healthy cellular metabolism, including the efficient conversion of blood glucose into energy.
The researchers, led by Dr Zhu and Dr Brent A Bauer, MD, of Mayo Clinic, will investigate whether Niagen can boost NAD+ in human brains. This has already been demonstrated in human blood cells and plasma, and in the blood and brains of animals. If the ingredient has the same effect in human brains, it could potentially help ameliorate the NAD+ lowering effects of concussion, and thereby confer a neuroprotective.
The NAD+ levels will be measured over three months. The study is expected to begin in May 2016 with final data collected by March 2017.
“We are honored to collaborate with Dr. Zhu and Dr. Bauer and their respective research teams, as well as Thorne Research on this clinical trial. The human study is designed to provide a better understanding on how NR may affect brain NAD+ levels in athletes who participate in football and other contact sports,” said Frank Jaksch, cofounder and CEO of ChromaDex.