Naigen is the name of a new form of Vitamin B3, patented and produced by the company Chromadex. Niagen has shown remarkable anti-aging and performance-boosting ability, capable of reversing the effects of aging in animal studies. There’s some exciting research to help back up these claims and a quick overview is all it took to get us really excited.
Niagen, also called Nicotinamide Riboside or Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride (NS), is deeply involved in your body’s ability to produce energy. This amazing new form of Vitamin B3 has shown tremendous potential to help provide a powerful supply of all-natural energy and rejuvenation. Your body converts Niagen into a compound called Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) which is known to help maintain proper energy levels and mitochondrial function (R). While such conversion happens with other common types of Vitamin B3 (such as Niacin) this form has shown a remarkable ability to affect anti-aging pathways in the body!
Recommended Niagen Supplement
Benefits of Niagen
Niagen is found in some of the last steps taken in your body’s NAD conversion process. This compound is the same compound that Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic Acid/Niacin) is eventually converted into as well. Compounds such as Niacin may eventually convert to Nicotinamide Riboside but Niagen offers the benefit of increasing overall NAD levels without the typical side effects of large doses of Vitamin B3 (such as Niacin flushing) which can be seen in doses as low as 50 mg. This novel action qualifies nicotinamide riboside as a candidate for many novel applications.
Niagen has also been found to directly modulate the activity of Sirtuins. These proteins are thought to be directly involved in promoting cellular health and extending longevity. When we are young, we have much higher natural levels of NAD. These higher levels are associated with vibrant, youthful energy. As age, NAD levels drop by as much as 50% which is thought as an integral footprint of our natural aging process (R). Nicotinamide Riboside has shown tremendous potential to slow this aging process—even reversing it in some cases (R).
Calorie Restrictive Mimetic
Amount and activity of Sirtuins are known to be directly dependent on levels of NAD, suggesting that Niagen would be able to directly impact Sirtuin pathways in the body (R). This type of cellular communication is largely involved in processes such as the removal of free radicals (redox reactions) and overall cellular metabolism. Calorie-restricted diets have also been shown to directly affect Sirtuin levels, and the investigation of their impact is a powerful illustration of how vital Sirtuins are in the aging process (R). Niagen is thought to stimulate Sirtuin activity similar to that seen in calorie-restricted diets which may offer the same types of benefits. In other words, supplemental nicotinamide riboside might be similar, at least in the way it impacts NAD levels, to calorie restricted diets!
One study, conducted on Rhesus monkeys, took place over a period of decades, involved hundreds of test subjects, and is one of the most comprehensive studies on the dynamics of the aging process to date (R). This study demonstrated that calorie-restricted eating can help regulate hormones, prevent things like male-pattern baldness, and maintain more youthful energy levels. One way these conclusions were measured were by the activity of cellular mitochondria.
Mitochondria are tiny little parts of our cells that are responsible for creating Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which is what our bodies use for energy. No ATP means no energy. Recent recognition of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide’s role in facilitating and preserving Mitochondrial communication is why people are so damn excited about Niagen. There’s plenty more research needed but so far it looks like Niagen may be among the first anti-aging supplements that are more than just sensationalist marketing.
Niagen is regarded as being the only among the Vitamin B3 compounds able to provide beneficial action to neural cells which makes it an attractive Nootropic as well. During periods of increased activity in neural glutamate pathways, NAD+ depletion can lead to the death of brain tissue. Niagen’s ability to actively increase NAD+ levels may make it an ideal candidate for supporting brain health. Animal studies also suggest that nicotinamide riboside may be helpful in reducing brain damage following head trauma (R).
No High-Dose Flushing
As mentioned, Niacin ultimately gets converted into nicotinamide riboside by our bodies’ natural metabolic processes. When taken in high doses, niacin is known to cause very unpleasant flushing. This eliminates niacin as an NAD+ increasing agent because the flushing occurs a doses much too small to metabolize NAD-affecting amounts of nicotinamide riboside.
In addition to niacin flushing, high doses of common forms of B3 have been known to cause irregular heartbeats, lactic acidosis, liver damage, headaches, and several other semi-serious issues. The takeaway here is that it’s probably a bad idea to increase one’s dose of niacin with the idea that it might provide the same benefits of a nicotinamide riboside supplement.
In November 2016, ChromaDex received FDA approval for Niagen to be considered a ‘New Dietary Ingredient’ (NDI). This means that Niagen is considered as safe as compounds such as Niacin in dietary supplements or food products. As of August 3, 2016, the FDA awarded Niagen a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status. This allows Niagen to be used in such applications as food fortification (niacin is commonly used.) What this means for the supplement market is that there has been a new flood of products containing the Chromadex Niagen compound. Below are some of the Niagen-containing supplements we regard as the best Niagen supplements on the market today.
Thorne Research – Niacel
Thorne Research NiaCel is offered as Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride (NR) and is likely the best Niagen supplement available at the time of writing this article. Thorne Research stands out among the crowd and is regarded as one of the highest quality supplement brands available on the market. Thorne Research has forged a relationship with partners such as the Mayo Clinic to help provide additional clinical data for the effectiveness of supplements and dietary compounds in the treatment of disease and ability to improve the lives of healthy individuals.
Niagen is an exciting new compound that has some promising research to suggest it might offer anti-aging benefits. So-called anti-aging supplements are a dime-a-dozen when searching online (not really, they’re quite expensive) though few have much solid evidence to suggest their claims.
With regards to Niagen supplements, there are non-Niagen Nicotinamide Riboside products out there—the compound isn’t new itself. However, the majority of products we’ve seen contain the Chromadex-patented Niagen compound. It’s important to realize that all these products source the active ingredient from the same place—Chromadex. Therefore, the only differences will be in the fillers, flow agents, and encapsulating ingredients used. Buying from trusted vitamin and supplement brands will reduce the likelihood of potential toxins and unwanted compounds.
Nicotinamide riboside has strong scientific evidence to demonstrate its ability to increase NAD+ levels on the cellular level. Other studies, particularly the decades-long study on the caloric-restriction of rhesus monkeys, have shown that calorie restriction also impacts NAD+ levels in beneficial ways.
These considerations tell us two things; nicotinamide riboside is mimetic of calorie-restrictive eating and that it also likely offers many of the benefits associated with such. We’re talking about benefits on the cellular level, such as increased mitochondrial activity. Popping a Nigen supplement won’t mimic the whole not-eating-as-many-calories part of a calorie restrictive diet.
We’re really excited about Niagen. The initial scientific data suggests that this compound has strong promise in helping stave off the detrimental cellular effects of aging. No one’s trying to push miracles here but, as far as anti-aging supplements go, Niagen is one of the few we’d consider promising.
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