NR pioneer: ‘I think if we combine Niagen with exercise that we’re really going to get some place’

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nicotinamide riboside Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide Nad vitamin B3

With recent data providing “solid evidence” for nicotinamide riboside’s effects on inflammation and body composition, combining NR with exercise will see us “really get some place”, says Dr Charles Brenner.

In 2004, Dr. Brenner discovered that NR is a potent precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). 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.  By boosting NAD, NR may increase mitochondrial health and induce the creation of new mitochondria.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA, Dr Brenner explained that, “The first thing we know [about NR]is that it’s safe. We know nicotinamide riboside is a natural product. We found it in milk years ago. We can boost human NAD without serious adverse events.”

Dr Brenner is the Alfred E. Mann Chair of the new Department of Diabetes & Cancer Metabolism at City of Hope National Medical Center in California. He is also Chief Scientific Advisor for ChromaDex, which is the exclusive licensee of Dr. Charles Brenner’s patented NR under the brand name Niagen.

“I’ve recently published an editorial that makes the observation that in just three weeks there is now solid evidence that a gram a day of Niagen will lower inflammatory markers in healthy older men, and in six to 12 weeks it looks as though Niagen is helping people to mobilize fat, particularly women getting an improvement in body composition, lower fat mass, with a gain of lean mass. In men, it looks as though that 12 weeks of high dose Niagen we’re moving the needle on hepatic fat – on fatty liver,” ​Dr Brenner told us.

“I think that the next trial should be done with exercise as the standard of care, plus or minus Niagen. Because we’re seeing lower inflammation, and we’re seeing people mobilize their fat, and I think if we combine Niagen with exercise that we’re really going to get some place.”

Watch the video above to hear more from Dr Brenner about NR, why it’s so efficient at boosting NAD, and why he calls the NR-relative dihydronicotinamide riboside (NRH) “an interesting molecule”​.


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.

Niagen is supported by two successful NDI notifications (NDIN 882 in 2015 and NDIN 1062 in 2018), as well as a successful GRAS notification (GRN 635​).

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