By Bryce Wylde, BSc, DHMHS, Homeopath
Energy is elusive. We want more of it. Energy equates with life. We equate low energy with illness and age. There are plenty of well-known “empty” or synthetic ways to obtain short-term energy. We have all resorted to a coffee binge or one too many “energy drinks” only to inevitably and quickly crash hard. Short cuts call us to account sooner or later. The challenge is to achieve pure and sustainable energy naturally.
You are made up of trillions of cells. Deep within every cell of our body, our mitochondria act like tiny power stations generating this elusive energy. We need it to live. Without healthy, active mitochondria we fade, tire, droop and die.
I'm bringing back memories of the cellular diagrams you drew in middle-school science class, aren't I? But stay with me here for a moment, because sustainable energy actually exists at the cellular level.
Mitochondria are the cells’ engines that power whatever the cells are programmed to do, from growing your hair to burning fat. As we age, our mitochondria can start to become defective. That’s called mitochondrial dysfunction.
If you're concerned about being healthy and living longer, then you will want to learn what you can do about mitochondrial dysfunction. In my opinion, mitochondrial dysfunction is the next frontier in health and nutrition.
Before I share the latest science behind fueling your mitochondria and achieving optimal energy, I need to tell you a bit about the B vitamins. I like to refer to them as “ener-b” because they are so crucial in the making of energy. They are also essential for metabolism, weight loss and nervous system support among other things.
For example, you may have heard of people turning to B12 injections for increased energy. B6 is also associated with energy because it helps the body convert food into fuel.
But the most important of all may be vitamin B3, the most well-known of which is niacin. They are used by the body to form NAD+ and NADP, which play incredibly important roles in cellular energy production.
But don't go rushing out to purchase mass quantities of niacin. There are more effective ways to maximize your NAD+ levels, and without uncomfortable side effects like flushing. The trick is to supplement with a different form of B3 called Nicotinamide Riboside (NR). When you do that, your cells can more efficiently produce that elusive energy you so desire. The latest research shows NR may also play a role in boosting your metabolism which is a key to weight loss, it works in the brain to support better cognitive function, and it activates special “longevity proteins” which are believed to help slow the aging process.
NR was actually first discovered in the 1940s. But it took years for scientists to discover that it has the ability to directly boost NAD+ levels in humans leading to enhanced mitochondrial function.
The world’s leading expert on NAD+ metabolism is Charles Brenner, PhD, the Roy J. Carver Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
In 2004, Brenner began the exciting work of understanding how NR might have the ability to boost NAD+ in a safe and more efficient way than can be achieved with its B3 cousins, niacin or nicotinamide.
The recent research published in Nature Communications was conducted by a team of researchers headed by Brenner along with collaborators at Queens University Belfast and ChromaDex. The researchers were successful in demonstrating that Niagen NR safely boosts NAD+ in people.
“We obtained convincing evidence that oral supplementation of NR boosts NAD+ and enhances the body’s utilization of NAD+ to a greater degree than the familiar forms of vitamin B3. NR is the most efficient NAD+ precursor,” Brenner shared.
This research complements another research study recently published in Cell Metabolism which found that replenishing NAD+ levels helps to restore muscle function in impaired mice to normal levels. The findings also suggest that supplementing with NR may help us to retain our muscle mass as we age.
Here’s the bottom line: taking a daily NR supplement – now widely available – safely and significantly increases NAD+ levels and its utilization in the body, and improves the body’s effectiveness at cellular energy production. This may lead to an improved sense of vitality and maintenance of a more youthful metabolism, which then translates into a higher resting metabolic rate, resistance to weight gain, and the ability to maintain muscle mass and resist tissue damage due to the normal aging process over time.
I’m excited about to see results from nine additional collaborative trials of NR in humans currently underway. My guess is that these will provide additional insights into the critical role NAD+ plays in people.