Also known as niagen, nicotinamide riboside is an alternative form of Vitamin B3. It exerts its anti-aging effects when your body converts it into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a helper molecule (coenzyme) that is present in all living cells. NAD+ is essential for several important biological processes including conversion of food into energy, DNA repair, immune function, and regulation of your body’s internal clock. Boosting your NAD+ levels in the body has been shown to produce several health benefits.  Nicotinamide riboside can be found in small amounts in fruits, vegetables, meat, and milk. It is also available in the form of supplements.
Overall Health Benefits
- Improves symptoms of diabetes and lowers blood sugar levels [2-4]
- Lowers blood pressure [5-7]
- Improves kidney function [8-10]
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease [11-13]
- Prevents muscle wasting [14-15]
- Boosts cognitive health [16-17]
- Prevents cancer [18-20]
- Lowers risk of stroke [21-26]
Proven Health Benefits
Improves Symptoms of Diabetes and Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Evidence shows that nicotinamide riboside has anti-diabetic effects:
- In mice with type 2 diabetes, nicotinamide riboside supplementation prevented the development of type 2 diabetes and nerve damage. 
- In mice, high dose of dietary nicotinamide riboside prevented blood sugar intolerance. 
- In overweight and obese patients, nicotinamide riboside supplementation increased skeletal muscle and induced minor changes in body composition and blood sugar. 
Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies also report that nicotinamide riboside has anti-hypertensive properties:
- A study showed that nicotinamide riboside supplementation lowers blood pressure by reducing arterial stiffness. 
- In hypertensive rats, nicotinamide riboside supplementation prevented age-related increase in blood pressure. 
- In healthy, middle-aged-older adults, nicotinamide riboside supplementation reduced blood pressure and increased NAD+ levels. 
Improves Kidney Function
Nicotinamide riboside has also been shown to play an essential role in maintaining optimal kidney function:
- A study showed that nicotinamide riboside can help prevent the development of kidney disease. 
- A study found that boosting NAD+ levels via nicotinamide riboside administration ameliorated experimental kidney injury caused by inadequate blood flow. 
- In dialysis patients, nicotinamide riboside supplementation reduced complications such as elevated phosphate levels. 
Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Studies show that nicotinamide riboside can help protect against heart disease:
- In obese rats, nicotinamide riboside supplementation increased antioxidant capacity which in turn reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. 
- A study showed that nicotinamide riboside can be used as a treatment for heart failure. 
- A study showed that modulating NAD+ levels through nicotinamide riboside supplementation can help prevent heart disease. 
Prevents Muscle Wasting
Studies suggest that nicotinamide riboside can help prevent muscle degeneration:
- In older participants, nicotinamide riboside supplementation increased skeletal muscle. 
- In overweight and obese patients, nicotinamide riboside supplementation increased skeletal muscle and induced minor changes in body composition. 
- In patients with muscle abnormalities, nicotinamide riboside supplementation restored the normal structures of muscles. 
Boosts Cognitive Health
Nicotinamide riboside also plays an important role in brain health:
- A study showed that the nicotinamide riboside supplementation protected brain neurons (nerve cells) from traumatic injury. 
- In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, nicotinamide riboside treatment restored cognitive function. 
Nicotinamide riboside also has potent anti-cancer properties:
- A study showed that nicotinamide riboside has a potential to be used in cancer prevention and therapy. 
- A study also showed that nicotinamide riboside can be a promising approach for skin cancer prevention. 
- A study showed that nicotinamide riboside can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. 
Lowers Risk of Stroke
A good deal of evidence shows that nicotinamide riboside can help lower the risk of stroke through different mechanisms:
- A study found that nicotinamide riboside lowers the risk of stroke by protecting the nerve cells in the brain against various forms of injury or damage. [21-23]
- In wild-type mice, nicotinamide riboside supplementation improved the recovery of the subjects from ischemic stroke (caused by inadequate blood supply). 
- A study showed that nicotinamide riboside can be a therapeutic intervention for stroke rehabilitation. 
- A study also showed that nicotinamide riboside has the capacity to restore the formation of new brain neurons. 
- Bieganowski P, Brenner C. Discoveries of nicotinamide riboside as a nutrient and conserved NRK genes establish a Preiss-Handler independent route to NAD+ in fungi and humans. Cell. 2004 May 14;117(4):495-502. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(04)00416-7. PMID: 15137942.
- Trammell SA, Weidemann BJ, Chadda A, et al. Nicotinamide Riboside Opposes Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy in Mice. Sci Rep. 2016;6:26933. Published 2016 May 27. doi:10.1038/srep26933.
- Shi W, Hegeman MA, Doncheva A, Bekkenkamp-Grovenstein M, de Boer VCJ, Keijer J. High Dose of Dietary Nicotinamide Riboside Induces Glucose Intolerance and White Adipose Tissue Dysfunction in Mice Fed a Mildly Obesogenic Diet. Nutrients. 2019; 11(10):2439. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102439.
- Carlijn M E Remie, Kay H M Roumans, Michiel P B Moonen, Niels J Connell, Bas Havekes, Julian Mevenkamp, Lucas Lindeboom, Vera H W de Wit, Tineke van de Weijer, Suzanne A B M Aarts, Esther Lutgens, Bauke V Schomakers, Hyung L Elfrink, Rubén Zapata-Pérez, Riekelt H Houtkooper, Johan Auwerx, Joris Hoeks, Vera B Schrauwen-Hinderling, Esther Phielix, Patrick Schrauwen, Nicotinamide riboside supplementation alters body composition and skeletal muscle acetylcarnitine concentrations in healthy obese humans, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 112, Issue 2, August 2020, Pages 413–426, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa072.
Martens CR, Denman BA, Mazzo MR, et al. Chronic nicotinamide riboside supplementation is well-tolerated and elevates NAD+ in healthy middle-aged and older adults. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):1286. Published 2018 Mar 29. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03421-7.
- Bushehri N, Jarrell ST, Lieberman S, Mirdamadi-Zonozi N, Birkmayer G, Preuss HG. Oral reduced B-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) affects blood pressure, lipid peroxidation, and lipid profile in hypertensive rats (SHR). Geriatr Nephrol Urol. 1998;8(2):95-100. doi: 10.1023/a:1008242900153. PMID: 9893217.
- Martens CR, Denman BA, Mazzo MR, et al. Chronic nicotinamide riboside supplementation is well-tolerated and elevates NAD+ in healthy middle-aged and older adults. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):1286. Published 2018 Mar 29.
- Hershberger KA, Martin AS, Hirschey MD. Role of NAD+ and mitochondrial sirtuins in cardiac and renal diseases. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2017;13(4):213-225. doi:10.1038/nrneph.2017.5.
- Ralto, K.M., Rhee, E.P. & Parikh, S.M. NAD+ homeostasis in renal health and disease. Nat Rev Nephrol 16, 99–111 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41581-019-0216-6.
- Lenglet, A., Liabeuf, S., Guffroy, P. et al. Use of Nicotinamide to Treat Hyperphosphatemia in Dialysis Patients. Drugs R D 13, 165–173 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40268-013-0024-6.
- de Castro JM, Assumpção JAF, Stein DJ, Toledo RS, da Silva LS, Caumo W, Carraro CC, da Rosa Araujo AS, Torres ILS. Nicotinamide riboside reduces cardiometabolic risk factors and modulates cardiac oxidative stress in obese Wistar rats under caloric restriction. Life Sci. 2020 Dec 15;263:118596. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118596. Epub 2020 Oct 17. PMID: 33080243.
- Available from https://www.ahajournals.org/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1161%2FCIRCULATIONAHA.116.026099.
Emerging potential benefits of modulating NAD+ metabolism in cardiovascular disease, Daniel S. Matasic, Charles Brenner, and Barry London, American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2018 314:4, H839-H852.
- Elhassan YS, Kluckova K, Fletcher RS, et al. Nicotinamide Riboside Augments the Aged Human Skeletal Muscle NAD+ Metabolome and Induces Transcriptomic and Anti-inflammatory Signatures. Cell Rep. 2019;28(7):1717-1728.e6. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.043.
- Ryu D, Zhang H, Ropelle ER, et al. NAD+ repletion improves muscle function in muscular dystrophy and counters global PARylation. Sci Transl Med. 2016;8(361):361ra139. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf5504.
Available from https://www.pnas.org/content/115/8/E1876.
- Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2617713/.
- Nikas IP, Paschou SA, Ryu HS. The Role of Nicotinamide in Cancer Chemoprevention and Therapy. Biomolecules. 2020;10(3):477. Published 2020 Mar 20. doi:10.3390/biom10030477.
- Fania L, Mazzanti C, Campione E, Candi E, Abeni D, Dellambra E. Role of Nicotinamide in Genomic Stability and Skin Cancer Chemoprevention. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 26;20(23):5946. doi: 10.3390/ijms20235946. PMID: 31779194; PMCID: PMC6929077.
- Hwang ES, Song SB. Nicotinamide is an inhibitor of SIRT1 in vitro, but can be a stimulator in cells. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017 Sep;74(18):3347-3362. doi: 10.1007/s00018-017-2527-8. Epub 2017 Apr 17. PMID: 28417163.
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- Griffin SM, Pickard MR, Hawkins CP, Williams AC, Fricker RA. Nicotinamide restricts neural precursor proliferation to enhance catecholaminergic neuronal subtype differentiation from mouse embryonic stem cells. PLoS One. 2020 Sep 14;15(9):e0233477. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233477. PMID: 32925933; PMCID: PMC7489539.
- Zhao Y, Guan YF, Zhou XM, Li GQ, Li ZY, Zhou CC, Wang P, Miao CY. Regenerative Neurogenesis After Ischemic Stroke Promoted by Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase-Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Cascade. Stroke. 2015 Jul;46(7):1966-74. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.009216. Epub 2015 Jun 9. PMID: 26060246.
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- Wang SN, Xu TY, Li WL, Miao CY. Targeting Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase as a Potential Therapeutic Strategy to Restore Adult Neurogenesis. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2016 Jun;22(6):431-9. doi: 10.1111/cns.12539. Epub 2016 Mar 28. PMID: 27018006; PMCID: PMC6492912.