Over the last several years there has been an influx of research started on the nutrient nicotinamide riboside (NR) due to its unique, highly efficient mechanism at raising levels of the coveted compound nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). The ability of NR to increase NAD levels has been demonstrated in a myriad of peer-reviewed preclinical studies, as well as now three published human clinical trials.1-3 Last year, the world’s leading NAD researchers as well as top Cardiologists and heart health researchers got a first look at this data which found that chronic NR supplementation lowers systolic blood pressure in older adults with elevated blood pressure and stage one hypertension, while also reducing aortic stiffness.
In this latest published clinical trial, led by Drs. Christopher Martens and Douglas Seals of the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the NAD precursor NR was given to middle-aged and older adults for six weeks at a dose of 500 milligram twice daily. This trial demonstrates chronic, or long-term, supplementation of NR in an older population as both effective and well-tolerated. This is important, because research has demonstrated that NAD declines with age.4
The authors were able to conclude, from various clinical and physiologic measurements, that NR supplementation increased NAD levels 60% on average compared with placebo, and that a greater response could be seen in those individuals with naturally low blood NAD levels. This is of particular relevance, as more and more pre-clinical research is emerging to suggest that low NAD levels underlie the progression of many age-associated diseases.
Like human clinical trials before it, this study provides additional support to the conclusion that NR supplementation safely and reliably raises NAD, and without uncomfortable side effects or serious adverse events. The chronic nature of the study allowed the authors to add to existing knowledge, to show that the beneficial NAD elevating effects of NR do not wear off with consistent supplementation over time but rather continued to support elevated NAD. This suggests that NR may have the potential to render a therapeutic benefit in chronic conditions in which lowered NAD levels play a role.
The authors also uncovered trends in physiologic data that suggest NR could be beneficial in improving blood pressure and aortic stiffness in this older population. Based on these preliminary observations, the researchers have already designed a larger human trial which they hope to secure a grant for this fall to further assess these cardiovascular risk factors. With nearly 60% of the US population, mostly middle-aged and older adults, having elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension, and nearly two thirds of incident cardiovascular disease-related events occurring in individuals with blood pressure in this range, this will be an important area for further study.
Finally, the study authors also demonstrated that NR supplementation increased ATP, or cellular energy levels. Cellular energy is the currency of the body, fueling life and health sustaining activities such as enabling our heart to beat, our brains to process information and other critical functions such as DNA repair.
- Trammell SA, Schmidt MS, Weidemann BJ, Redpath P, Jaksch F, Dellinger RW, Li Z, Abel ED, Migaud ME, Brenner C. Nicotinamide riboside is uniquely and orally bioavailable in mice and humans. Nat Commun. 2016;7:12948. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12948. PubMed PMID: 27721479; PMCID: PMC5062546
- Airhart SE, Shireman LM, Risler LJ, Anderson GD, Nagana Gowda GA, Raftery D, Tian R, Shen DD, O’Brien KD. An open-label, non-randomized study of the pharmacokinetics of the nutritional supplement nicotinamide riboside (NR) and its effects on blood NAD+ levels in healthy volunteers. PLoS One. 2017;12(12):e0186459. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186459. PubMed PMID: 29211728; PMCID: PMC5718430.
- Dellinger RW, Santos SR, Morris M, Evans M, Alminana D, Guarente L, Marcotulli E. Repeat dose NRPT (nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene) increases NAD(+) levels in humans safely and sustainably: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. NPJ Aging Mech Dis. 2017;3:17. doi: 10.1038/s41514-017-0016-9. PubMed PMID: 29184669; PMCID: PMC5701244.
- Massudi H, Grant R, Braidy N, Guest J, Farnsworth B, Guillemin GJ. Age-associated changes in oxidative stress and NAD+ metabolism in human tissue. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e42357. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042357. PubMed PMID: 22848760; PMCID: PMC3407129.