A natural dietary supplement can reach the brain, can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease

NEWARK, Del. — For the first time, a team of researchers reveals that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a natural dietary supplement, can access the brain. The finding is valuable because it supports the idea that NR can alter biological mechanisms that contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the University of Delaware claim that when people consume NR, it converts to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is crucial for repairing cellular and DNA damage. DNA and cell damage play a key role in the development of several chronic diseases.

“NAD+ is gradually lost as we age or develop chronic diseases. Loss of NAD+ is linked to obesity and other negative lifestyle habits like smoking,” says Christopher Martens, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology and director of the Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research, in an academic statement, “Because more NAD+ is needed to counteract these negative consequences, it is more likely to be depleted from lifestyle habits. negative.”

In the first study Martens conducted on this concept, he found that NAD+ levels could increase in the body if people consumed NR, but it was unclear whether the effect would extend to other tissues. bodily.

“We had some preliminary signs of effectiveness, including lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure at baseline,” the study author continues. “But until now, it was unclear whether NR reached targeted organs like the brain to have a real therapeutic effect.”

Scientists discover biomarkers revealing improved neuronal function

It is difficult to measure NAD+ levels, especially in the brain. MRI and other techniques that can do this do not give the full picture and are often expensive and inconvenient to use. So Martens and his colleagues measured NAD+ directly in extracellular vesicles, which are small particles in the blood that come from neurons. This can give researchers real insight into what’s going on at the neural level.

“Each vesicle has a unique molecular signature on its surface, including proteins that give you clues to where it came from,” says Martens. “In our case, we selected vesicles that carry markers characteristic of neurons, and we are therefore convinced that the NAD+ that we measured there reflects what is happening in neurons, and by extension in the brain.”

brain supplement
Christopher Martens, assistant professor of kinesiology and applied physiology and director of the Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research, is working with blood samples as part of his groundbreaking research into Alzheimer’s disease.

Using samples from their first clinical trial, the researchers found that NAD+ levels increased in the vesicles after six weeks, giving them insight into its link to brain disorders.

“When NAD+ rises in these vesicles, we see an association with some of the biomarkers of neurodegenerative disease,” Martens reports. “In particular, in people in whom we saw an increase in NAD+, we also saw changes in biomarkers such as beta-amyloid and tau, both of which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Human trials could begin soon

Looking ahead, Martens is already actively recruiting participants for a 12-week study of NR supplementation in older adults with mild cognitive decline. Its objective is to see how the increase in the consumption of this supplement could affect this particular segment of the population.

“They come in with cognitive deficits and therefore are more likely to have a buildup of some of these biomarkers in their brains, so there’s a chance we’ll see greater reductions in these biomarkers because they’re have more. in their cells”, concludes the researcher.

The results appear in the journal Aging cell.

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