Niacin – the NAD+ Booster to Help Make Cellular Energy
Niacin is one of the amazing B complex vitamins. It is a water soluble vitamin, also known as B3 and has multiple health benefits. Niacin is the common name for nicotinic acid and it is found in foods such as meat, eggs, fish and mushrooms. There are 2 other forms, niacinamide (nicotinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate. Niacin has different properties than the other forms. They also are available as dietary supplements, but with niacin one needs to use caution because of some high dose safety issues, therefore it is good to talk with your health care provider before taking it.
Niacin (nicotinic acid; nicotinamide)
What are the benefits of niacin and nicotinamide?
Niacin has been shown to help maintain cholesterol levels and may ease joint discomfort and promote cognitive function. It provides aid to neurons and the central nervous system (CNS), showing that it has neuroprotective benefits (Fricker RA et al, 2018).
Nicotinamide doesn’t have the same effects as niacin on cholesterol, but it does have other attributes. Nicotinamide has demonstrated to provide support to the inflammatory response of the skin (Niren NM, 2006). Also, it has been used to help the body maintain blood sugar levels (Cabrera-Rode E et al, 2006).
Niacin and nicotinamide are both essential in the metabolic pathway to make nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
NAD+ is a critically important molecule in the body necessary for overall health and it is worth investigating the best ways to keep its levels maintained.
In the body, niacin is absorbed and converted to the active form, coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is essential for over 400 enzymes that are necessary to accelerate reactions in the body.
NAD+ is important within cells to convert food nutrients into cellular energy. This energy increases blood circulation and causes muscles to contract. NAD+ is also the stimulus to initiate the repair of damaged DNA and is KEY during the aging process.
Healthy levels of NAD+ protect neurons in the central nervous system and helps to improve cognitive functioning and also helps to reduce oxidative damage (Fricker, 2018; Massudi H et al, 2012).
Research shows that low NAD+ levels are clearly involved in the aging process reducing the production of energy and the repair of DNA (Massudi H et al, 2012).
A new human clinical study was performed administering niacin to individuals with a NAD+ deficiency and also their control groups for 4 months and then for a 10 month follow up (Wartiovaara A et al, 2019). In all the individuals, blood levels of NAD+ increased up to 8 fold and NAD+ in muscle tissue rose to the same level of the control group. Muscle strength and mitochondrial biogenesis increased in all of the subjects.
The mitochondria is considered the powerhouse of cells where energy is produced. Mitochondrial biogenesis is an increased quantity of mitochondria in the muscles.
The study considered niacin to be a NAD+ booster.
Niacin is not for everyone and it is advised to check with your health care practitioner related to dose since there are side effects such as upset stomach, skin flushing or itching and can cause other types of problems.
In summary, niacin and one of its other forms, nicotinamide have important health benefits. Both are necessary in the metabolic pathway to manufacture NAD+. The importance of NAD+ has taken the center stage for longevity research, therefore this important B vitamin has great value for lifespan.