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NR Supplements Cut Obesity Risk

NEW YORK—Supplementing with nicotinamide riboside (NR), a novel form of vitamin B3, reduced metabolic and age-related disorders characterized by defective mitochondrial function in a recent study conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland (Cell Metab. 2012 Jun 6;15(6):838-47).

Researchers showed high-dose NR supplementation prevented obesity in mice that were fed a fatty diet, and also increase muscle performance, improve energy expenditure and prevent diabetes development, all without side effects. The mice gained significantly less weight (60 percent) than mice fed the same diet without NR, even though the mice supplemented with NR ate the same amount of food. Many of the untreated mice on the high-fat diet developed diabetes. And when fed a normal diet, NR-treated mice had improved sensitivity to insulin. The NR treated mice also showed lower cholesterol levels.

The researchers also reported NR added to mammalian cells and mouse tissues increases nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels, which activates sirtuin 1 and sirtuin 3 enzymes, culminating in enhanced oxidative metabolism and protection against high-fat diet-induced metabolic abnormalities. NAD allows sugars, fats and proteins to be converted into energy. Sirtuins are known to mimic a low-calorie diet and extend the lifespan of many organisms.

"This study is very important," said Anthony Sauve, Ph.D., associate professor of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "It shows that in animals, the use of NR offers the health benefits of a low-calorie diet and exercise — without doing either one."

He added, "The bottom line is that NR improves the function of mitochondria, the cell's energy factories. Mitochondrial decline is the hallmark of many diseases associated with aging, such as cancer and neurodegeneration, and NR supplementation boosts mitochondrial functioning."

The methodology the makes it possible to make NR commercially available was patented by Cornell's Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization and subsequently licensed to ChromaDex Corp.

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