In a study from the University of Delaware and elsewhere, scientists found that the naturally occurring dietary supplement known as nicotinamide riboside (NR) can enter the brain.
The finding is important because it supports the idea that NR, upon reaching the brain, can alter the metabolism of relevant biological pathways involved in Alzheimer’s.
Upon consumption, NR is readily converted into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is critical to cellular repair and the repair of damaged DNA.
In a previous study, the team found that levels of NAD+ could be boosted in the blood if people ingested NR, but it was not clear if it could reach other tissues in the body.
In the study, the team measured NAD+ directly in tiny particles called extracellular vesicles that originated from neurons and ended up in the blood.
Using samples from their first initial clinical trial, the researchers determined, first, that NAD+ levels went up in these vesicles after six weeks.
The team also found a link between these neurodegenerative biomarkers and change in NAD+.
Some of these blood-based biomarkers could be used down the road to determine if NAD+ depletion is a cause of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
It is even possible that these types of tests could become more accessible to the population for more routine testing.
The team is doing a 12-week study involving NR in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. The study is actively seeking more participants.
Through the study, they aim to determine whether increased consumption of NR has an even larger effect in people with cognitive impairment.
Nearly all drugs on the market for patients with Alzheimer’s have only a modest effect on the symptoms but do not strongly stop the underlying progression of the disease.
After proving its efficacy, the team will test whether increased use of NR improves cognition, and ultimately, whether it can be used to slow neurodegenerative disease progression.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that cranberries could help boost memory, and many older people have this non-Alzheimer’s dementia.
The study was conducted by Christopher Martens et al and published in Aging Cell.
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