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NR Supplements Personal Case Study

Although there is never going to be a single rejuvenation pill (nor single therapy) and we’re a long way from achieving any significant life extension, most people would like to think that a wonder-supplement exists that at least helps slow down ageing a little.

Leading the race in the anti-ageing community to be the super-supplement are NAD boosters and senolytics, with NAD boosters split into NR, NMN, NA or even NAD itself. Here I look at Tru Niagen, a patented version of nicotinamide riboside, which I tried for 2 months to see if I could notice a difference, both subjectively and objectively. I took measurements (blood and physical biomarkers) before, during and after the trial which I report on below. 

This blog is sponsored by ChromaDex. They have generously provided two month’s supply of Tru Niagen capsules. They did not request, and have not been given, any editorial input to this article.  The Live Forever Club will always provide independent and unbiased information about life extension.

What is nicotinamide riboside (NR)?

Nicotinamide riboside is an alternative form of vitamin B3 that was first discovered as a growth factor for and influenza bacterium back in 1944. More recently, it has been studied as a NAD+ precursor that could slowdown the onset of age-related diseases.

  • NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) - a critical molecule found in every living cell involved in hundreds of reactions including sirtuins signalling and the production of the energy molecule ATP.
  • NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) – final step in salvage pathway which gets converted into NAD+.
  • NR (nicotinamide riboside) - converted inside the cell into NMN.
  • NA (nicotinic acid, also called niacin) – initiates the Preiss-Handler pathway.

For more information about NAD, and a summary of its various pathways, see What is NAD in my recent Jinfiniti NAD Test Review blog post.

Beyond its function as a NAD+ precursor, I’ve been unable to find any mechanisms that NR is involved in directly. However, given the importance of NAD+ to our metabolism, that is more than sufficient benefit as preventing the depletion of NAD+ with age has many impacts, including:

  • energy production (glycolysis, citric acid cycle, and the electron transport chain)
  • transferring electrons between molecules (becoming NADH)
  • enabling poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARPs) to repair DNA
  • activates sirtuins involved in DNA and cellular damage repair, epigenetics, and insulin production

What is niagen?

Niagen is is ChromaDex’s patent-protected form of nicotinamide riboside (NR). So, it is basically just NR, but as will all supplements and biomolecules, it is not just the ingredients on the label that counts. It is also how the substance is manufactured – both from a chemical process perspective (which affects how the body will metabolise it) and also its quality control process to ensure that you are getting what it says on the label, with no nasty contaminants. ChromaDex is audited by NSF International to check that it is following the GMP (good manufacturing process) regulations.

Chromadex hold several patents related to the production of nicotinamide riboside including a specific yeast strain, novel crystalline forms, and methods of preparation. They also claim that it is the world’s first and only known FDA-safety reviewed form of NR.

Whether it is radically different to other, well-prepared, NR I can’t say. However, because of its consistency it has been in used in several clinical trials that have shown it safely and effectively increases NAD+ in humans.

Dietary sources of NR

If you’re not keen on taking supplements, then unfortunately it is near impossible to get enough in your diet from food sources alone.

In 2019, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Nutrition evaluated the safety of nicotinamide riboside chloride (i.e. Niagen) as a novel food, and as part of that concluded that “the contribution of nicotinamide riboside from food sources … is too small to be relevant for the safety assessment.” In case you’re wondering, it also concluded that Niagen is safe and bioavailable.

The only identified food source of NR was milk, but a pint contains less then 0.5 mg of nicotinamide riboside – which is about one thousandth of the recommended daily supplement dose.

Trial Protocol

I took the recommended dose of one 300mg capsule per day for 2 months, which should allow enough time for any effects to build up, and also for any weekly measurements to become statistically significant.

Unlike NMN, which is best stored in a refrigerator, NR can be stored at room temperature, and EFSA has determined that it is stable for at least 36 months at 25 degrees C.

To determine the impact of NR supplementation, and to allow a future comparison with NMN supplements, I've picked pretty much the same blood and physical biomarkers as for my NMN trial. In addition, Jinfiniti kindly donated a couple of intracellular NAD blood tests so I was able to do a before and after test for that as well. 

BiomarkerFrequency
Alanene transferaseStart + end
AlertnessDaily
BilirubinStart + end
Biological ageStart + end
Blood pressureTwice weekly
Cholesterol ratioStart + end
CRP - High sensitivityStart + end
eGFRStart + end
Grip strengthWeekly
HbA1cStart + end
NAD+ (intracellular)Start + end
Peak flowWeekly
SpO2Twice weekly
TSHStart + end
WeightTwice weekly
White cell countStart + end

The following equipment was used: 

Results

I'll provide a full update on blood biomarkers and physical measurements soon, for now I just have the result of my intracellular NAD level tests and biological age assessment.

NAD Levels

Almost of the suggested benefits of nicotinamide riboside comes from its role as a NAD+ precursor in the NAD salvage pathway, hence a key measurement is whether my NAD+ levels increased or not.

Although Jinfiniti’s Professor Jin-Xiong She doesn’t think there is sufficient evidence of a circadian rhythm related NAD-fluctuation, as reported by some research, I thought I’d take the second test at the same time as the first one just to be safe.

NAD level tests taken just before and just after the trial showed my intracellular NAD+ level increase from from 26.0 μM to 27.8 μM, so definitely in the right direction. It pushes me away from the border with “poor” but still very firmly at the bottom of the “sub-optimal” zone. 

This is surprising given a study into the safety of NR (specifically Niagen) saw a typical increase from low-20s ug/ml to low 30s ug/ml within 2 weeks, and then maintained at that level. The increase was dose dependent with 100 mg/day rising to about 25 ug/ml and 1000 mg/day hitting 50 ug/ml.

Mentioned in this blog post:

Tap on icon for description, click on resource name for more details.

Company

An integrated global nutraceutical company devoted to improving the way people age.

Company

Provides at-home intracellular NAD test and other aging blood panels

Product

Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) supplement from ChromaDex

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