A new dietary supplement, nicotinomide riboside, would activate the same biological pathways as caloric restriction against aging. At the same time, it would stimulate the health of arteries in people with mild hypertension.
A new study, published in Nature Communications, indicates that the daily consumption of a natural dietary supplement, nicotinomide riboside, would mimic the effect of caloric restriction on health. This supplement would activate the key metabolic pathways responsible for these benefits. This supplement also tends to improve blood pressure and arterial health (elasticity), especially in people with mild hypertension.
Aging, oxidative stress and NAD decline
It has long been known that caloric restriction can slow aging. This was first demonstrated on fruit flies, roundworms and rodents.
Then, this has also been demonstrated in humans and in a recent study: a 15% reduction in daily caloric intake would slow metabolic aging and reduce the oxidative stress associated with neurological diseases developed with age, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also diabetes or cancer.
These effects would be achieved by stimulation of NAD+, the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, which is a key coenzyme in the metabolic processes of aging and whose rates decline in the elderly.
Interest of nicotinomide riboside to preserve NAD+
The double-blind study involved 24 healthy men and women aged 55 to 79 years. They were randomized to constitute 2 groups that alternatively took a placebo or nicotinamide riboside, but in a different order.
The first group took a dietary supplement with a placebo for six weeks and then a dose of 500 mg twice daily of nicotinamide riboside chloride for another 6 weeks. The other group took nicotinamide riboside for the first six weeks, followed by 6 weeks with a placebo.
This is called a “cross-over” study and as each patient is compared to him- herself, and the effects of time are erased by the reverse treatment sequences, the results are generally very robust.
Impact of nicotinamide riboside supplementation
There were no serious adverse events associated with 1000 mg daily supplementation with nicotinamide riboside.
Researchers have found that this supplement increases by 60% the levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD +), which is a key coenzyme of metabolic processes associated with the benefits of caloric restriction on health (via the activation of enzymes called sirtuins). NAD + usually tends to decrease with age.
The study also showed that in 13 participants, who had high blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension (120/139 and 80/89 mmHg), systolic blood pressure dropped by about 10 points after supplementation. A decline of this magnitude could result in a 25% reduction in the risk of heart attack.
A new stage
“This is the very first study where this new dietary supplement is administered to humans,” said lead author Doug Seals, a professor and researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado. “We have seen that it is well tolerated and appears to activate some of the key metabolic pathways that caloric restriction usually stimulates.”
The increase in NAD + during a caloric restriction is a survival mechanism that has been developed during human evolution. But it is only recently that scientists have begun to consider the idea of supplementing the elderly with a “precursor of NAD +”, such as nicotinamide riboside, to promote healthy aging.
“The idea is that by giving older people nicotinamide riboside, we are not only restoring something that is lost with aging (NAD +), but we could improve the activity of the enzymes responsible for protecting the our body against stress,” said Dr. Christopher Martens, lead author of the study.
A paradigm shift
If this level of reduction in systolic blood pressure achieved with nicotinamide riboside supplementation is confirmed in a larger clinical trial, it would be a paradigm shift.
These “precursors of NAD +” may also provide an additional therapeutic option for people whose blood pressure is not yet high enough to warrant treatment, along with the recommended dietary changes and exercise.
Already, studies on a larger scale have been set up to evaluate the effect on aging, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease.