Is your brain getting older faster than you’d like? On his blog, Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses some ways to potentially slow brain aging. He writes:
When you eat a varied diet based on whole foods, your body enjoys access to the myriad nutrients contained therein. The trace nutrient nicotinamide riboside (NR), a precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and a form of vitamin B3, is among them.
Found in milk as well as in supplement form, NR may help to boost levels of NAD+, which typically declines in the brain with age, leading to metabolic and cellular dysfunction.1 By raising NAD+ levels, NR may modify neurodegenerative disease in humans, helping to slow brain aging.
NR Restores NAD+ in the Brain
NAD+ modulates energy production and many enzymes and in so doing controls hundreds of processes in your body including the survival of cells and energy metabolism.
NAD+ is influenced on a daily basis by what you eat, exercise levels and more, and also declines with age, leading to changes in metabolism and an increased risk of disease.2 Dr. Christopher Martens, director of the Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research, told Medical News Today:3
“NAD+ is essential for cells to create energy and there is strong evidence from animal studies that aging and metabolic dysfunction results in a depletion of NAD+ within cells. Therefore, there is strong rationale that replenishing the NAD+ within the brain could have a positive effect on brain function.”
In a study published in the journal Aging Cell, Martens and colleagues found that NR supplementation increases NAD+ levels and lowers biomarkers of neurodegeneration in plasma extracellular vesicles enriched for neuronal origin (NEVs).4
Among the 22 older adults who took NR at a dosage of 500 milligrams twice a day for six weeks, NAD+ levels in NEVs increased while kinases involved in insulin resistance and neuroinflammatory pathways decreased.5 The results suggest NR, by increasing NAD+, could help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Martens explained in Medical News Today:6
“We don’t have definitive proof that the supplement itself crosses the blood-brain barrier, especially not from our data. What we do know is that taking the supplement results in an increase in NAD+ within tiny vesicles that likely originated in the brain and other neural tissue.
This is one of the big challenges in the field — [d]etermining whether the compound can reach its intended target. [A]lthough we do not have direct evidence, the results of our study suggest that it is having an effect on the brain and also changing the metabolism of molecular pathways known to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
… What’s really interesting is that we also found changes in more established markers of Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., amyloid beta) after taking the supplement.”
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