Niagen is the brand name of the only commercially available form of Nicotinamide Riboside, sometimes referred to as NR, Vitamin NR, or the God Vitamin.
Several companies are promoting Nicotinamide Riboside using their own product name, but ALL use the exact same ingredient.
ALL Nicotinamide Riboside (Niagen) is Identical – It ALL comes from Chromadex
Patents on the commercial production of NR are controlled by Chromadex.
They are the ONLY SOURCE.
Some brands portray their product as unique, and often don’t use the name Niagen.
They prefer you don’t know there are many other brands that have the exact same Nicotinamide Riboside at a much lower cost.
You can check the Prices for ALL different brands of Niagen here.
WHAT IS NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE?
Increasing the NAD+ levels is supposed to “turn back the clock” and make us younger, and repair many of the ravages of aging.
There have been several research studies that do show great promise, but also leave some questions to be answered by other studies that are currently underway.
WHAT DOES NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE DO
NR acts as a precursor to the co-enzyme Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+).
Our bodies can produce NAD+ from a variety of different elements, but as we age our levels of NAD+ drop significantly (1)
Taking a single dose of supplemental NR has been proven to raise our NAD+ levels 30-50% (2)
WHAT IS NAD+
NAD+ LEVELS DECREASE WITH AGE
As we age, our bodies produce less NAD+ and the communication with between the Mitochondria and cell nucleus is impaired.
Over time, this loss of communication reduces the cell’s ability to make energy, which leads to aging and disease (8).
HEALTH ISSUES RELATED TO DECLINING NAD+ LEVELS
- Neural cognitive dysfunction (9,10,11)
- Inflammation of vascular systems leading to hypertension, heart attack and stroke( 12,13,14)
- Increased fat storage in the liver(15,16,17)
- Increased visceral fat storage – belly fat (18,19)
- Increased blood sugar levels, Insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome (20,21,22)
- Increased fatigue and loss of muscle strength (23,24)
RESTORING NAD+ LEVELS
A landmark 2013 study by Dr David Sinclair demonstrated that increased levels of NAD+ have been shown to reverse age related degeneration in mice, giving older mice the muscle capacity, endurance and metabolism of much younger mice (25).
This suggests that many of the the normal age related conditions are at least partly driven by decreased mitochondrial functioning, and that increasing NAD+ levels can restore mitochondrial functioning and reverse many age related problems (26).
NR RAISES NAD+ LEVELS
In most organisms NAD+ can be created from simple elements present in the body (de novo), or from certain amino acids like aspartic acid or tryptophan.
It can also be synthesized in the body from more complex components such as nicotinamide, niacin or NR (32).
A 2012 study showed that giving mice supplements of NR is effective in raising NAD+ levels and improved the numbers and function of mitochondria (33).
Those mice that received supplements showed increased energy and improved insulin sensitivity, while protecting the animals from metabolic syndrome
They also showed increased endurance, running 33% farther on treadmill testing vs control mice.
A 2015 study showed a single 100mg dose of NR was effective in raising NAD+ levels by 30% (29).
300mg and 1000mg dosages showed a 50% increase in NAD+ levels.
The increase in NAD+ levels were longer lasting at the higher dosages.
The peer review process for this study is ongoing with publication of the results expected in mid to late 2016.
A longer term study of NR taken daily for eight consecutive weeks is underway to measure NAD+ increase from NR and to determine the most effective dosage.
PROVEN BENEFITS OF INCREASED NAD+
Below are some of the benefits that have been proven to result from increased NAD+ levels in studies with mice.
- Reversed indications of aging in muscles
- Cardiovascular health
- Improved Energy
- Decreased Muscle Soreness
- Improved Memory
- Better Sleep
- Improved Hearing and Vision
To date, research has been completed in human studies proving:
- Protection from hearing damage
- Increased NAD+ levels
POSSIBLE BENEFITS – QUESTIONS
How much will elevated NAD+ levels benefit aging humans?
The 5 Nobel Laureate scientists behind Basis believe in benefits of NR supplementation, but so far they are mostly just theories.
Will NIAGEN supplementation continue to raise NAD+ levels for long term?
We don’t know if the human body will develop resistance and NR lose its effectiveness.
All research completed to date has been positive, but testing with humans is much slower. Much more testing of NIAGEN is underway, including:
- Neuroprotection – testing college football players for protection against concussion
- Weight Loss
- Improved Memory
- Athletic Performance – Endurance
This safety assesment looked at all current studies of Nicotinamide Riboside and found no noticeable side effects at dosages up to 3,ooo mg per day.
In fact, one of the key features of NR is that it doesn’t cause the unpleasant “flushing” that people often experience with Niacin (5).
Of course, this is a very new supplement that doesn’t have years of history, so if you are trying NR out, you should keep informed of ongoing research.
There is an 8 week study with 140 human volunteers currently underway to determine best therapeutical and maximum recommended dosages (6).
- New study underway to test for best therapeutical and maximum recommended dosages.
- Study demonstrates that Niagen increases NAD+ . (Previous studies show the link between increased NAD+ and health benefits)
- Recent study of Niagen shows benefits in repairing damaged DNA – NIH (National Institute of Health)
- Chromadex receives NDI status for Niagen. This verifies the safety at recommended levels
- Enerdrex soon to be available in Walgreens, Costco, Publix, Kroger, and many other large retailers BPI Sports
- New brand of Niagen announced by Jarrow formulas
- P&G (Proctor and Gamble) announce new products that include Niagen to be developed
- CVS stores to soon carry NR Age defense in their stores nationwide
Chromadex is the ONLY manufacturer of NIAGEN, and owns 5 patents granted for its production which allows them to control the market for Nicotinamide Riboside.
They license several companies to bottle and distribute Niagen, and tightly regulate the retail pricing, so there is very little difference in Nicotinamide Riboside products.
There are minor differences as manufacturers use different capsule sizes, and some add fillers to aid in the bottling process and/or preservatives to extend shelf life.
LiveCellResearch This company does the most advertising all over the internet. They have good price for single bottle purchase, but they don’t offer quantity deals like HPN does. Also, many people aren’t too thrilled by the constant stream of emails they send marketing other products.
Life Extension has an option for the least expensive “trial” of Niagen around at $21, but 30 pills at 100mg each is a very low quantity. Since most of the studies and anecdotal evidence indicates 500 mg a day or more being an effective dosage, their $21 bottle would only last 6 days.
BASIS by Elysium Health is the only brand on the market so far that uses a different formula. They add pterostilbene, a kind of resveratrol, that supposedly increases the effectiveness. We don’t see any indication that the Basis brand is more effective, but they certainly do have a very impressive list of 5 nobel laureate scientists backing this product which aids them in their marketing efforts and allows them to charge a LOT more than competitors for their fancy version of Niagen.
Read the full review on Elysium Health.
- Basis $60 for 60 125 mg capsules make this by far the most expensive Niagen on the market. If you don’t care about cost, this may be a good choice.
- Doctors Best Good Brand, but expensive, and 75mg capsules too small
- F1rst Available soon at GNC stores. $49 for 60 (100mg) capsules.
- Enerdrex (Not yet Available) soon to be in Walgreens, Costco, Publix, Kroger
- Proctor and Gamble (Not yet Available) to be included with other products
- NR Age defense (Not yet Available) – CVS stores Nationwide
-more about different brands here
FINAL THOUGHTS: DOES IT WORK?
- Recent research answered a basic question by demonstrating that NR DOES raise NAD+ levels in humans.
- Research has proven SOME of the claimed benefits such as protection from hearing damage and improvement in other neurological function.
- Many huge brand manufacturers (Proctor & Gamble, Jarrow) are announcing partnerships to develop their own brands of NIAGEN, or to add it to other products.
- All of the major retailers (Walmart, Costco, GNC, CVS, etc) will soon carry NIAGEN in their stores.
All these points are an indication that NIAGEN is NOT A SCAM.
However it will take years before more research studies are completed to know for certain if all the benefits seen in studies with mice are confirmed in human testing.
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