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Researchers to explore NR effects in obesity
IRVINE, Calif.—ChromaDex Corp., the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University are teaming up in a collaborative human clinical study of NIAGEN (nicotinamide riboside) in obesity. The study began this week with the enrollment of the first patients in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized study of 40 obese healthy men to determine the potential effects of daily NIAGEN supplementation over the course of 12 weeks. Endpoints include insulin sensitivity, body composition and overall metabolism.
The study expands on the first successful clinical trial held last year, which showed that a single dose of NIAGEN is both safe and capable of elevating the co-enzyme NAD+ in the blood by as much as 2.7-fold, the first time an increase in NAD+ in humans had been achieved through NR supplementation.
“We are honored to collaborate with Dr. Treebak’s lab on this clinical trial. The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research is one of the leading research institutions studying diabetes and obesity. The human study is designed to provide a better understand on how NR can help people optimize their physical and metabolic functions,” Frank Jaksch Jr., founder and CEO of ChromaDex, commented in a press release.
ChromaDex's NIAGEN is the first and only commercially available form of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a naturally occurring vitamin B3 metabolite found in milk. There is preexisting support for the potential of NR to provide significant benefit in obese and/or diabetic patients. A study conducted in 2012 by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, demonstrated that mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with NR gained 60 percent less weight than mice receiving the same high-fat diet without any NR supplementation. In addition, the mice treated with NR showed no indications of developing diabetes, and their energy and cholesterol levels improved as well, without side effects. Dr. Anthony Sauve, associate professor of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College, said in a press release on the 2012 results that “The bottom line is that NR improves the function of mitochondria,” adding that “The research also suggests that the effects of NR could be even broader.”
As for NAD+, it also plays a key role in mitochondria health. The mitochondria of the body, also known as the 'powerhouses' of cells, are responsible for producing energy for cells. But in recent years, research has revealed that mitochondria also play a role in general health, aging and multiple disease conditions. Sufficient levels of NAD+, which is used to generate energy efficiently, are key to mitochondrial function. When NAD+ levels are diminished or NAD+ is redirected, as with cancer cells, mitochondrial function dissipates.
Dr. Jonas Treebak, the principal investigator of the study and a researcher at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, remarked, “The ability to maintain mitochondrial function in insulin sensitive tissues in the body appears to be tightly linked to development of insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes. With support from ChromaDex, it is possible for us together with researchers from the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, to engage in this important and exciting research area to answer fundamental questions regarding the role of NAD+ metabolism in these diseases; hopefully, for the health benefit of millions of people worldwide.”