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  • Should You Take Niacin-Like Pills With Resveratrol?

    May 9, 2015: by Bill Sardi

    Question: Should resveratrol users also add niacin-like pills to their dietary supplement regimen?

    Answer: A decade ago David Sinclair PhD at Harvard Medical School announced the red wine molecule resveratrol molecularly mimicked a life-and-health prolonging calorie restricted diet. Humans would not need to deprive themselves of food to double their healthspan and lifespan as demonstrated in the animal laboratory.

    The opposite biological signal of food deprivation is provided by niacin (vitamin B3) since it is ubiquitous in foods. So should niacin be avoided when taking resveratrol pills? We don’t want to send two biological signals at the same time do we?

    The biological answer to that question gets a bit complicated.

    First, a primary target of resveratrol is the Sirtuin1 survival gene. Sirtuin1 requires a vitamin B3 (niacin) metabolite called NAD (nicotinamide dinucleotide) to produce cellular energy in the form of adenotriphosphate (ATP).

    Low ATP levels are associated with aging and disease states. Without NAD cell energy declines and cell death may result. [PLoS One April 26, 2011]

    A limited calorie diet or fasting increases ATP cell energy.

    The biological process of producing NAD production is so critical that the body has four redundant systems to elevate NAD. The four ways to boost NAD levels are:

    1. Provide the amino acid tryptophan, which is abundant in shellfish, wild game, egg whites and spirulina as a vegetarian source.
    2. Provide niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide), the most dominant precursor of NAD in mammals. Niacinamide is provided in fortified foods and vitamin pills. Nicotinic acid, another form of vitamin B3, only generates NAD half as well as niacinamide (nicotinamide).
    3. Generate a co-enzyme of niacin called nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT). Generally NAMPT converts nicotinamide (niacinamide) to NAMPT, but in the case of obesity or high-fat diets, NAMPT synthesis may be impaired.

    In that case……

    1. For those who are overweight and/or consume a high-fat diet that negates NAD production they may choose to consume one of the newly introduced derivations of niacin such as nicotinamide riboside (Basis: Elysium Health/ Niagen: Chromadex). [MIT Technology Review Feb. 3, 2015] David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School has also published a study on the use of nicotinamide mononucleotide that is also an NAD booster but it isn’t commercially available yet. Nicotinamide riboside was cited in 2007 as an anti-aging molecule that does not depend upon calorie restriction. [Cell May 4, 2007]

    Overlooked is the fact that resveratrol also activates NAMPT. NAMPT then converts nicotinamide to nicotinamide mononucleotide. [Oncotarget March 2015]

    Also it should not be forgotten that vitamins are required for NAD synthesis and include vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin C (ascorbate). [Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition]

    This author penned a lengthy report that there is published evidence linking niacinamide to anti-aging effects that dates back as far as 1953. [Resveratrol News Jan 3, 2014]

    Do longevity seekers need to take nicotinamide riboside pills? Regardless of how clear I was in saying that requirements for NAD for healthy non-obese people can be met with less than 20 milligrams of daily niacin or niacinamide (the non-flushing type of niacin), readers still appeared to be confused over whether to take these newly-hyped pills or not. [Resveratrol News Feb 23, 2015; Annual Review Nutrition 2008]

    For most young to middle-age adults, a multi-vitamin that provides niacinamide will be sufficient to maintain adequate NAD levels. For those adults who are overweight or who consume a fatty diet or who are of advanced age, resveratrol is probably the best choice to raise NAD levels via NAMPT because it offers so many other health benefits.

    By the way, the animal studies showing nicotinamide riboside is an effective anti-aging molecule utilized 500 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 lbs. of body weight) or the human equivalent of 35,000 milligrams for a 160-lb. adult. The first nicotinamide riboside human study reveals supplementation does in fact elevate NAD levels in humans. [Medical News Feb 11, 2015]

    As a final note, readers may become confused when they read that NAD/NAMPT inhibitors rather than boosters are actually being utilized for cancer therapy. [Pharmacology & Therapeutics Feb 2015] Since living cells die without NAD, researchers are already in clinical trials with NAD-inhibitors to treat cancer. Since cancer cells require more NAD and ATP cell energy than non-cancerous cells, NAD/NAMPT inhibitors would target cancer cells more than healthy cells which makes them less toxic. The problem with this approach is that it is much like the anti-folate (folic acid) drugs used to treat cancer. Without folate (vitamin B9) DNA won’t be adequately repaired and living cells will never get well. Neither will the patient. Anti-folate drugs (methotrexate) have only increased cancer survival by a few months. [Medscape] The effectiveness of NAD-NAMPT inhibitors may go the same road that anti-folate drugs have gone. — ©2015 Bill Sardi,

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