Earlier this spring, it showed promise as a metabolic fountain of youth. More recently, vitamin B3, nicotinamide riboside (NR), has shown potential as a tool for fighting the complications of diabetes.
NR is a naturally occurring precursor of an important cellular metabolite called NAD+. Our cells need NAD+ to change sugars, proteins and fats into energy, but our bodies made less of it as we age.
"There is a real fascination right now in the world of personalized nutrition, biotechnology and pharmaceutical research to find strategies to boost NAD+ levels, and NR has emerged as the lead molecule to elevate NAD+ metabolites," Charles Brenner, PhD, professor and Roy J. Carver chair of biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, said in a release about the study, which he coauthored. Brenner discovered NR as an unexpected vitamin precursor of NAD+ in 2004.
In his latest research on mice, Brenner and his team found that NR was associated with lower blood sugar levels, reduced buildup of fat in the liver and less peripheral nerve damage in mouse models of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Results of the study were published in Scientific Reports.