THE SHORT ANSWER IS, YES. AND ITS CALLED NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE (NR).
Note: There is no complete answer to this question and, in fact, the jury is still heavily out as to what the full impact of this supplement will be. It is, however, a compound that should be on your Watch List for future articles and studies, so that as results become available, you are aware of the potential for your own aging benefits.
Back to the details. Nicotinamide Riboside is a precursor to the anti-aging compound Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is found naturally in our bodies and is responsible for mitochondrial health. As we age, our NAD+ levels decline, causing more damage to occur in our cells which in turn leads to breakdown and disease.
Lets delve into what’s really important here – and you can find this all documented on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website – NR increases NAD+ in your body. NAD+ fuels mitochondria, which are the powerhouses that provide energy for all of the processes taking place in your body. Specifically:
Enhances repair of your damaged DNA
Stimulates sirtuin function; sirtuins are your anti-aging enzymes which manage the aging and death of your cells as well as their ability to manage stress
Supports your internal organ health through improved mitochondrial health
To date, these studies have mostly been conducted on mice. There ARE studies currently taking place on humans and one outcome is that the FDA granted GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status to this drug in 2016.
Some brief outcomes to more recent studies:
In Feb 2018, a new study was published highlighting the neuroprotective (brain protection) functionality of Nicotinamide Riboside in mice. Specifically, it prevented neurological damage, and enhanced both cognitive and physical function. (National Institutes on Aging) This may translate into improved treatment for Alzheimer and dementia patients.
NR is proven to increase stem cell self-renewal, which aids in anti-aging and overall health improvements
In a recent human study, mostly obese individuals were chosen as recipients of the drug. A finding was that NAD+ helped hold bad (LDL) cholesterol down while not impacting good (HDL) cholesterol. It also helped control for other weight-impacted symptoms like liver fattiness and insulin resistance. Net-net is that NR could eventually find its way into a medication for obesity to help minimize further progression into chronic disease. This, of course, could translate to improved quality of life for millions as well as lower healthcare costs for our country.
So, what are the downsides to this miracle med?
Well, the only one found to date is that it seemingly decreases physical performance (exercise) by 35%. So, yeah…that’s kind of a big deal. Especially as we are all striving, in these later years, to hold on to what fitness levels we still have.
As with many medical solutions, there never appears to be a final Yes or No. There continues to be a lot of gray area circulating as this drug continues to be studied.
I myself have been taking NR for about 2 years – at a 250mg dose per day (the minimal recommended quantity) – and found, initially that my energy level was higher. But in more recent months, I feel “normal” again. Like any other 51 year old. Some days, tired, others……bouncing off the walls!
Prognosis: I’d watch this one. At least consider yourself “in the know” for now.
Stay tuned and stay well.