Can vitamin B3 boost cancer growth?

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In a surprising turn of events, recent research from the University of Missouri has raised concerns about nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3.

While NR is often linked to benefits for heart, metabolic, and brain health, this new study suggests it might actually elevate the risk of serious diseases, including cancer.

The researchers focused on the impact of NR on cancer, particularly triple-negative breast cancer, a notoriously aggressive form of the disease.

They found that high levels of NR could not only increase the risk of developing this cancer but also aid its spread to the brain. This is particularly alarming as brain metastases are often fatal, given the lack of effective treatments currently available.

NR is known to boost cellular energy levels. However, this characteristic may inadvertently fuel cancer cells, which thrive on increased metabolism. The research team embarked on this study to understand NR’s role in cancer development and progression.

The study involved a detailed examination of NR levels in cancer cells, T cells (a type of immune cell), and healthy tissues.

Their findings underscore the need for cautious evaluation of supplements like NR, especially when used by individuals with varying health conditions.

Looking to the future, the researchers aim to provide insights that could lead to the development of inhibitors to enhance the effectiveness of existing cancer therapies, like chemotherapy. They believe that a personalized approach to medicine is key in this endeavor.

This perspective considers that not all cancers are the same across individuals, particularly regarding metabolic characteristics. Moreover, cancers can alter their metabolism in response to treatments like chemotherapy.

The team, led by Elena Goun, published their findings in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics. Their work prompts a rethinking of the use of NR supplements, especially in the context of cancer.

As the study reveals, supplements that are beneficial in some contexts may pose significant risks in others, highlighting the complexity of cancer treatment and the importance of personalized medical approaches.

If you care about cancer risk, please read studies that exercise may stop cancer in its tracks, and vitamin D can cut cancer death risk.

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies that yogurt and high-fiber diet may cut lung cancer risk, and results showing that new cancer treatment may reawaken the immune system.

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