Vitamin B3 is an essential nutrient in supporting optimal health, though the common form of Niacin can cause unwanted skin issues, among other side effects. Another form of this compound, Nicotinamide Riboside (Niagen) has been gaining popularity as a more effective form of this nutrient. Early research shows Niagen as able to restore cellular energy, prolong age-related disease, and even boost stem cell activity in skin cells—all while avoiding the side effects of Niacin.
What is Nicotinamide Riboside
When one consumes Niacin, the most-common form of Vitamin B3, it gets converted into different compounds before the body is able to fully utilize it. This form is technically called Nicotinic Acid by scientists and can cause unpleasant side effects such as flushing, rashes, and itchy skin, when taken in larger, does.
A deficiency in Niacin is common among those suffering from dermatitis, among other things. Niagen is a pre-converted form that is more easily utilized by the body. This avoids flushing and unwanted side effects, though omits the cholesterol-lowering action related to Niacin. Avoiding side effects is one of the strongest selling points of Niagen, but it also has a much greater effect on the products of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+).
NAD+ Boosts Energy, Reverses Aging Effects
Anti-aging is the holy grail of research and development among skin care and nutrition companies. There is little science to support the ocean of claims out there, but Nicotinamide may be the exception. To better understand how this compound may reverse the aging process there are a few dots that have to be connected.
NAD+ & Mitochondria
The first dot is of NAD+ and how it is thought to affect the aging process. Research has shown that NAD+ production naturally decreases as we age. This leads to lower levels of mitochondrial function, which is shadowed by lower energy levels. Research has shown that NAD+ levels are correlated to overall mitochondrial health and that the natural decrease in mitochondrial activity that occurs with aging may be prolonged by anything that can sustain NAD+ levels.
Not only does an increased level of NAD+ signify higher energy levels, but it has also been shown to repair already damaged Mitochondria. Simply put, boosting NAD+ levels can help prolong some of the effects of aging, and also repair some damages that have already happened.
NAD+ & Niagen
The second dot is Neogen’s ability to increase natural NAD+ levels to the point where this type of activity can be seen. This action has been observed as providing results mimetic to a calorie-restricted diet. In animal studies, the differences in those on calorie-restricted diets are dramatic, to say the least.
This has been observed over periods longer than a decade and is marked by observably higher levels of NAD+ among those on restricted diets. These higher NAD+ levels are associated with longer lifespan, delayed onset of disease, and better energy levels.
In animal studies, Niagen has shown the ability to directly impact NAD+ levels to such a degree as to provide these same types of effects. To learn more, and see some images of the differences in aging among animals with higher NAD+ levels, check out this article on Niagen.
Stem Cells and Skin Care
One of the latest crazes in skin care therapies is the use of plant-based stem cells. Stem cells are types of cells that are able to turn into other types of cells, based on need. That’s to say, stem cells can turn into nerves, muscles, or even new skin!
The most effective stem cells are generally regarded as living human embryonic stem cells. These are also among the most controversial and highly-regulated forms of stem cell therapy, and usually cost-prohibitive for most people.
Plant Based Stem Cell Therapy
Plant-based stem cells may seem to offer a novel way to avoid cost here—but they aren’t actually living stem cells. These products contain nourishing enzymes and growth factors that are found inside of stem cells, but the way in which they are processed ultimately kills the stem cells. This isn’t to say they aren’t still powerful skin care options—just that they aren’t the same as living stem cell therapies.
Natural Stem Cell Support
Another strong selling point of Nicotinamide Riboside is that research has shown it to increase natural stem cell activity. While this likely isn’t comparable to exogenous stem cell treatments—it’s one of the few natural compounds to demonstrate such powerful activity on stem cells.
This research has only been conducted on animals thus far and is far from being an FDA-approved method of supporting natural skin health. The FDA has formally issued Niagen Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status allowing it to be included in such applications as food fortification.
Niagen is a powerful natural compound that has shown the ability to affect NAD+ levels and modulate anti-aging action. Such actions are hallmarks of longevity science, though human studies are still lacking. NAD+ increasing compounds have been shown to increase natural stem cell activity. There is still a high demand for research to confirm initial results, but for energy levels and natural skin care—nicotinamide riboside compounds such as Niagen seem to offer a promising future!