The latest anti-aging supplement is Niagen. But is it really a fountain of youth? Preliminary research suggests it can reverse aging. However, more human studies are needed.
Here’s yet another supplement you might want to stock in your pantry. And some people think it just might be the fountain of youth.
But is it really? Can a simple supplement really make you feel younger?
If you’re a mouse, definitely. In a clinical study Niagen boosted three key longevity markers in mice. Firstly, the mitochondria of the supplement-fed mice demonstrated better productivity.
Also, the stem cells were able to regenerate boosts to longevity. And thirdly, the study shows the mice weren’t as prone to developing diabetes.
But does one study alone, especially on mice, prove that this compound can help you feel younger?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Perhaps Niagen helps hedge against the effects of aging. But a magic pill? Until further human studies are published, the verdict may still be out.
Until then, here are some basic facts about Niagen….
What is Niagen?
Niagen is the patent name of a special form of vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin. Or also niacinamide. What’s so special about this new form of Vitamin B3?
Those who sell this (also refered to by the names Nicotinamide Riboside or Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride) supplement claim it’s like a new power plant for your cells.
You see, the trillions of cells in your body all have mitochondria. Remember learning about mitochondria in biology class? Need a refresher?
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. They’re kind of like mini digestive systems. They take in nutrients and create energy for the cell to function.
As you get older, your mitochondria become, well, less powerful, at creating energy.
Moreover, Niagen supposedly prevents cellular damage. This differs from other antioxidants.
Most antioxidants repair cellular damage only after the damage has already been done. And by increasing energy production in the cell, the claim is it will help you feel more energetic.
In addition, Niagen may also normalize cholesterol levels by enhancing cellular metabolism.
And here’s one more claim made by sellers of nicotinamide riboside supplement: it may help protect your brain. Especially from age-related degeneration such as Alzheimer’s.
In general, you can sum up the actions of this way….
Theoretically, it helps repair your DNA. DNA, of course, is your genetic biological instructions. And when your DNA undergoes extensive damage, disease usually follows.
Nicotinamide riboside, the main ingredient of the supplement Niagen, arguably boosts communication within cells. Better communication between the cells is just one of a myriad of aging factors. But it is a critical one.
Thus, if a nicotinamide riboside supplement can indeed enhance cellular communication perhaps it may negate the effects of aging.
Are There More Niagen Benefits?
The consequence of enhanced cellular energy and communication may offer other benefits. These include a faster metabolism, better muscular performance and heart health.
How does Niagen work?
Unless you have a very scientific mind, it’s very confusing. Skip to the next section. But let’s try to break it down as simply as possible.
OK, remember that Niagen’s main ingredient is nicotinamide riboside. And nicotinamide riboside is a form of vitamin B3.
According to the website Hiya.com, the creators of Niagen claim nicotinamide riboside is the first and only commercially available form of this specialized B3.
So what’s the big deal?
Nicotinamide riboside is a precursor. That means it helps make something else. And that something else is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
(Do you see why learning about nicotinamide riboside supplements is complex?)
So what’s the big deal about NAD+?
NAD+, which is what vitamin B3 breaks down into, plays a key role in cellular energy production. Also, it helps improve cellular communication.
And if you have the money to spend on yet another supplement, why not take Niagen?
After all, anything that can enhance the potential of your brain is worth a try. But is it better for overall health than, say, adaptogens? Is it better for your heart than hawthorn berry tincture? Can it prevent cancer better than beta glucan can? Is Niagen better for your mood than St. John’s Wort?
It’s hard to say one way or the other? But again, if you’re looking to stock up your supplement stash with even more goodies, a nicotinamide riboside supplement might be worth trying.
Live Cell Research is a company that sells nicotinamide riboside supplement as Niagen. Its main selling point for its branded Niagen is NAD+ deficiency.
Remember what NAD+ is? If you skipped the biochemistry review above, no worries. Even if you didn’t, it’s helpful to review what NAD+ is.
Simply put, it’s a compound. And its main responsibility is a serving as a communication gateway between the nucleus and the mitochondria. Why is this important?
Some researchers believe that NAD+ deficiency leads to cellular aging. But again, what if you take a high dosage of it? Or, at the very least, the minimal effective dosage? Would that really make you live to 100 and beyond?
Live Cell Research can’t exactly make that claim. However, the company does believe that its nicotinamide riboside supplement is a groundbreaking product. And just one capsule (250 mg) is all it takes to feel the anti-aging effects.
The company ChromaDex Inc, based in Irvine, CA, owns the patent for Niagen.
In collaboration with the University of Colorado, a research study examined two servings a day (500 mg total) in healthy older people.
According to this blog, however, the findings of the study have yet to be revealed. On one hand, many things take much longer to finish. Remodeling a house for instance. Or when a graphic or web designer says something will be ready.
However, on the other hand, the findings of the study were supposed to have been definitive by October of 2016. Thus, the statement on the blog, “ChromaDex announced yesterday at an earnings report call that the long awaited University of Colorado human study of NR will be published very ‘soon.’
Skeptical Niagen review
This announcement by ChromaDex led to this comment:
“Given that ChromaDex has been sitting on this all important study for more than a year now, I think it is safe to assume its results do not bode well for Niagen, or their bottom line.”
The comment continues:
“Obviously if the study was positive, management would have been crowing about it in one way, shape form or another … Under the circumstances, at best on [sic] can reasonably infer that management refusing to release the results more than a year after its completion means they have been forced into damage control….
However, to be fair, there are several customers of nicotinamide riboside supplements that seem pleased with their purchase. Let’s take a look….
The company that’s generated the most Niagen reviews on Amazon is High Performance Nutrition. Out of 339 customer reviews as of this writing, 43% are 5-star. An additional 13% are 4-star reviews.
Here’s just one of the 5-star reviews:
“I have been taking this supplement for 2 weeks and the primary change I’ve seen so far is I am sleeping more soundly. I’m 65 and have begun to sleep for 8 hours without waking for the first time in over 20 years.”
Now interestingly enough, this glowing review mentions nothing of having more energy. But getting a sound night sleep is a luxury most people would love to have.
On highya.com, here’s another Niagen review:
“My husband and I have been taking [nicotinamide riboside supplement] on and off since 2015. The result is younger looking skin and more energy. My husband was recently at the airport, and the security agent had to take a double look at his passport. He looked younger in person than he did in his pictures. The security guard wanted to know if he had any plastic surgery. When my husband replied, “No,” the security agent was amazed. As for me, I took a picture with my twin sister and all my friends could not believe that we were the same age. Actually, I am the older twin. My friends said that my sister looked much older than I. Niagen is our elixir for a long life.
ChromaDex is the patent owner of the nicotinamide riboside supplement. And nicotinamide riboside is a special type of vitamin B3. It converts into NAD+. And NAD+ is crucial for creating cellular energy and cellular communication.
In addition to Live Cell, and High Performance Nutrition, other companies that sell ChromaDex’s patent Niagen include Tru Niagen, Life Extension, and Thorne Research.
Be aware if you want to buy the supplement of what WebMD concludes about it:
“At this point in time there is insufficient clinical evidence showing that NAD can reliably provide any of the anti-aging or health benefits advertised by Chromadex, or by resellers such as Live Cell Research.”
However, as long as there are no adverse side effects reported (which there are none listed on WebMD), what’s the harm in trying a nicotinamide riboside supplement? As long as you have the funds and don’t mind trying to find room in your already clogged cabinet.