A recent study from the University of Delaware and other institutions has found that a naturally occurring dietary supplement called nicotinamide riboside (NR) can enter the brain.
This may potentially alter the metabolism of biological pathways involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
When NR is consumed, it is converted into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is essential for cellular repair and the restoration of damaged DNA.
Previous studies have shown that NR can boost NAD+ levels in the blood, but it was unclear if it could reach other tissues in the body.
The researchers measured NAD+ directly in extracellular vesicles that originated from neurons and ended up in the blood.
They found that NAD+ levels increased in these vesicles after six weeks of NR consumption, suggesting that NR can reach the brain and potentially alter the metabolism of relevant biological pathways involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
The team also found a link between neurodegenerative biomarkers and changes in NAD+.
These blood-based biomarkers could potentially be used in the future to determine if NAD+ depletion is a cause of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The team is currently conducting a 12-week study involving NR in older adults with mild cognitive impairment to determine whether increased consumption of NR has an even larger effect in people with cognitive impairment.
If the study proves the efficacy of NR, the team will test whether increased use of NR can improve cognition and ultimately slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.
The majority of drugs on the market for patients with Alzheimer’s have only a modest effect on the symptoms and do not strongly stop the underlying progression of the disease.
Therefore, NR may hold promise as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
How to prevent Alzheimer’s disease
There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are ways to help reduce the risk of developing it. Some strategies include:
Staying physically active: Regular exercise has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Eating a healthy diet: A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources has been linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of alcohol can also help.
Keeping your brain active: Engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, playing games, or learning a new skill. This may help to build cognitive reserve, which can help protect the brain against the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Managing chronic health conditions: Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Managing these conditions through lifestyle changes and medication, if necessary, can help reduce the risk.
Getting enough sleep: Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing sleep disturbances.
Socializing and staying connected: Maintaining social connections and participating in social activities may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This may include spending time with friends and family, joining clubs or groups, or volunteering.
While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, these strategies may help to reduce the risk of developing the condition.
It is important to speak with a healthcare provider about any concerns or questions related to Alzheimer’s disease or brain health in general.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about diabetes drug that may also help prevent Alzheimer’s, and this stuff in your nose may trigger Alzheimer’s.
The study was conducted by Christopher Martens et al and published in Aging Cell.
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