Don’t Believe the Hype about Nicotinamide Riboside (Niagen)

Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) is a recently discovered form of vitamin B3 that can increase levels of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) in older individuals back to what they are in youth.

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.

You can read our review on the different  Brands and best prices for Niagen here.


forms of niacinPatents on the commercial production of NR are controlled by Chromadex, who market NR under the brand name Niagen.

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 are manufactured under license from Chromadex.

Conclusion: NIAGEN is the brand name for the ingredient Nicotinamide Riboside used in all products sold


NR benefits chartNR 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)

Conclusion: Supplementation with NIAGEN increases NAD+ levels in humans.


NAD+ is found in every cell of all living organisms (3,4)

NAD+ play a key role in communicating between our cells nucleus and the Mitochondria that power all activity in our cells (5,6,7)


NAD+ levels decreaseAs 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).


  • 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)
Conclusion: Declining NAD+ levels are implicated in many age related disease and chronic conditions


David_Sinclair_solo_mid_0_0_4_1A  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).

That  study generated a lot of interest and currently NR is being investigated for use in treatment of a wide range of age related conditions (27,28,29,30,31)

Conclusion: Top researchers have been investigating raising NAD+ levels for treatment of disease and degenerative aging.


Mouse Studies
Treadmill MouseIn 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.

Human Studies

50% increaseA 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.

Conclusion: Supplementation with Nicotinamide increases NAD+ levels in humans


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
Conclusion: We know NIAGEN raises NAD+ levels in humans, and has SOME health benefits.


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
Conclusion: The possible benefits are massive, but don’t know if humans will experience ALL the health benefits achieved in testing with mice.


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).



chromadex niagen

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.

HPN- High Performance Nutrition is our favorite. They have options for 3 bottles, and also a 6 bottle package which further cut the cost.

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


  • 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.

Conclusion: YES, NIAGEN works. We just don’t know how powerful it is yet.


Shipping Available to the following Countries:
Bermuda,Colombia,Mexico,Uruguay, Brazil,Costa Rica,Panama,Venezuela, Canada,Ecuador,Peru,Chile,Guadeloupe,Trinidad and Tobago,
Austria,Germany,Luxembourg,Serbia, Belgium,Greece,Malta,Slovakia, Bulgaria,Hungary,Monaco,Slovenia, Cyprus,Iceland,Netherlands,Spain, Czech Republic,Ireland,Norway,Sweden, Denmark,Italy,Poland,Switzerland, Estonia,Latvia,Portugal,Turkey, Finland,Liechtenstein,Romania,United Kingdom, France,Lithuania,Russia, 
Middle East
Bahrain,Jordan,Nigeria,Saudi Arabia, Egypt,Kenya,Oman,South Africa, Israel,Kuwait,Qatar,United Arab Emirates
Australia,Indonesia,Malaysia,South Korea, China,Japan,New Zealand,Taiwan, Hong Kong,Kazakhstan,Philippines,Thailand, India,Macao,Singapore,