The adverse effects associated with prescription medicines and synthetic compounds have caused the healthcare industry to look for newer, more natural substances that can improve the health status of the world’s aging population.
As a result, several new anti-aging supplements have been introduced over the last few years. Niagen is one of those many supplements that are being touted as a safe, natural compound that can slow the progress of age-related changes in human beings.
This article introduces the readers to Niagen, which is chemically known as Nicotinamide Riboside, its mechanism of action, and its role as an anti-aging agent.
What is Niagen?
Niagen is the brand name of a compound marketed by Chromodex, which is also found in Jeunesse. The chemical name of the compound is Nicotinamide Riboside, which is a naturally-occurring vitamin B3 metabolite. Niagen plays a significant role in the functioning of mitochondria, which are also known as the powerhouses of the cell.
How Does Niagen Work?
Mitochondria are responsible for the production of energy. However, their function may be influenced by several physiological and non-physiological changes, such as aging, over eating, and sedentary lifestyle. This results in decreased concentration of a chemical called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
Niagen works by increasing the levels of NAD+ within the mictochondria. Another vitamin, Niacin, does the same function; however, Niagen is superior to Niagen because of its good safety profile and better results. Increased NAD+ levels consequently promote conversion of various nutrients, such as glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids into energy, thereby, making a person feel younger and more energetic.
The Anti-Aging Properties of Niagen
Several health experts strongly advocate the use of Niagen for slowing down the progression of age-related physiological changes. A review published in ScienceDirect suggests that supplementing NAD+ intermediates can prevent the early progression of age-related functional defects of mitochondria and help counteract many diseases of aging, particularly neurodegenerative disorders.
Despite the encouraging scientific evidence extracted from various biochemical studies, no study has been conducted so far to determine the precise effects of Niagen in aging human beings. However, different animal studies have investigated the same and found good results.
A study conducted on murine subjects evaluated the role of NAD+ supplementation in restoration of mitochondrial and stem cell function. The results of this animal-based study suggest that NAD+ replenishment can improve lifespan in mice by improving the mitochondrial and stem cell function.
Interesting findings regarding the anti-aging benefits of Niagen were reported in a review published in the journal ‘Cell’. The investigators conducted an experiment on mice and injected NAD in a 2-year old mice tissue for one week. The injection of chemical reversed the aging effects and at the completion of the study, the tissue resembled to that of a 6-months old mice (1).
While Nicotinamide Riboside is known to possess anti-aging effects, studies evaluating its effects on human beings remain sparse. Therefore, need for systematic clinical trials exists which can help us gain an insight to the precise mechanism of this promising anti-aging supplement.