Last updated: Sep 2, 2017
The foundational strength of our brain is a small part of each cell called the mitochondria. When we use cognitive enhancers and nootropics that improve mitochondrial health, we can increase our energy and increase our resilience and longevity. That is the key of nicotinamide riboside, which has a wide variety of benefits.
Popular among biohacking communities, nicotinamide riboside (NR) increases the health of our mitochondria (the powerhouses of each cell) . Similar to CoQ10 and PQQ, nicotinamide riboside supplements can boost both physical and cognitive function. NR has a preserving effect on neurons suggest neuroprotective capabilities .
The same mechanism of nicotinamide riboside can also enhance cognition and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in animal models . As with many foundational nootropics, the nicotinamide benefits come with few side effects.
Also Known As
Niagen, NR, nicotinamide ribose, vitamin NR
Editors’ Thoughts on Nicotinamide Riboside
Anything that improves mitochondrial function is a boon in my experience. While the beginner might be alarmed there is no significant “feeling”, the supplement works long term and has foundational support for mitochondria (as mentioned above).
At least a few times per week I don’t consume any nootropics or stimulatory drugs, but focus only on the options that can boost mitochondrial function or act as antioxidants. I like NR supplements and don’t feel the need to take high doses daily.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Nicotinamide Riboside Benefits
There are many nicotinamide riboside benefits beyond the brain. Because this molecule is important for basic mitochondrial function, it impacts every cell in the body. Similar to creatine, when we supplement with NR, we see benefits universally.
Before we dive into the cognitive benefits, it’s useful to note that nicotinamide riboside can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress . There are also nicotinamide riboside cancer benefits as well. Studies show NR can reduce tumor growth and protects DNA synthesis within cancer patients .
All of this culminates in general longevity and antiaging advantages. The byproduct of NR helps reprogram dysfunctional cells, which rejuvenate and enhance overall cell function . Because our cell function starts to decrease with age, this is a method of improving lifespan and quality of life.
There are a host of nicotinamide riboside benefits for the brain specifically. There are over 5 million Americans struggling with Alzheimer’s disease , which is the 6th highest cause of death. One 3 month study found that nicotinamide riboside could increase cognition and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease .
A separate study showed that nicotinamide riboside (NR) could delay the death of brain cells, which suggest a neuroprotective effect .
Anyone considered elderly can find nicotinamide riboside benefits almost immediately, but young healthy adults can as well.
What is Nicotinamide Riboside?
Nicotinamide riboside is a molecule similar to vitamin B3, though different enough to have unique effects . It is a combination of niacinamide and ribose, which is often found in cow’s milk, whey protein, and brewer’s yeast.
The NR supplement is so effective because it acts as a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) . The NAD is the source of most benefits within the cells and throughout the body.
Nicotinamide Riboside Side Effects
There are few nicotinamide riboside side effects, but as with any other compound risks are associated with the supplement. One animal study suggests NR supplementation could reduce physical performance by up to 35% compared to a control group (10%) . While this may not apply to humans, it is worthwhile to note especially for athletes.
Otherwise, there are few nicotinamide riboside side effects. The compound is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B3 suggesting it’s generally safe. Even at high doses of 5000 mg / kg, there weren’t adverse effects .
Most users will not experience nicotinamide riboside side effects unless physically active. Even then, the loss of physical performance is theoretical based on animal models while there is no human evidence.
Vitamin NR Dosage
Getting the vitamin NR dosage correct can help avoid nicotinamide riboside side effects as well. Most of the studies are in the thousands of milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, but the suggested NR supplement dose is 1 – 200 mg per day.
There are plenty of anecdotal reports of doses up to 600 mg per day, which can increase mental energy and focus, but these are neither common nor recommended for first time users. It’s best to take niagen within the 1 – 200 mg per day dose range.
How and Where to Buy Nicotinamide Riboside
Nicotinamide riboside supplements are easy to find on the internet and may be available at a local health food store. It is relatively new in supplement form and uncommon, but there may be local vendors selling the product.
The better bet is to purchase from a brand that has a good reputation in the community. Life Extension is a reliable brand with a nicotinamide riboside supplement.
Nicotinamide Riboside Food Sources
Anyone can take advantage of nicotinamide riboside food sources without needing a supplement. The main dietary sources of this nutrient are as follows:
- Cow’s milk
- Whey protein
- Brewer’s yeast
For many people (the editor included), dairy is off limits for other reasons. The nicotinamide riboside food sources might be effective, but are less efficient than a NR supplement.
Selected Online Experiences
“Its hard to say. Started taking it 3 days ago, but I have had the flu the entire time. I do feel that I have enhanced alertness and energy that is sustained until the moment that I fall asleep. Anecdotally, My vision seems to have improved. Since I have been sick, I have been wearing my glasses which are old (I have gotten 3 contact prescription increases since I got them) but I can see perfect detail with them now.”  – mootbrute
“23 year old male, I haven’t noticed anything from it either, unfortunately. PQQ is more noticeable for me.”  – Sherlockian_Holmes
“In terms of what I felt subjectively:
- I felt significantly better after eating large meals, no food comas.
- The first few days I felt my mood and energy levels were much better. The effect seemed to diminish with time.”  – ZombieChalmers
Nicotinamide Riboside Reviews
There are few studies of nicotinamide riboside on healthy adults (or humans specifically), which prompts investigation into anecdotal information. The nicotinamide riboside reviews are worthwhile to better ascertain what experience you can expect.
The nicotinamide riboside reviews should not be the only data point from which to research, but is an effective tool for making purchase decisions nonetheless.
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