Nicotinamide riboside, or niagen, is an alternative form of vitamin B3, also called niacin.
Like other forms of vitamin B3, nicotinamide riboside is converted by your body into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme or helper molecule.
NAD+ acts as fuel for many key biological processes, such as (1, 2):
Converting food into energy
Repairing damaged DNA
Fortifying cells defense systems
Setting your bodys internal clock or circadian rhythm
However, the amount of NAD+ in your body naturally falls with age (3).
Low NAD+ levels have been linked to health concerns like aging and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers disease and vision loss (1).
Interestingly, animal research has found that raising NAD+ levels may help reverse signs of aging and lower the risk of many chronic diseases (4, 5, 6).
Nicotinamide riboside supplements such as niagen have quickly become popular because they appear to be especially effective at raising NAD+ levels (7).
Nicotinamide riboside is also found in trace amounts in cows milk, yeast and beer (8).
In addition, nicotinamide riboside may provide several other benefits:
May aid weight loss: Nicotinamide riboside helped speed up the metabolism of mice. However, its unclear whether it would have the same effect in humans and how strong this effect really is (23).
May lower cancer risk: High NAD+ levels help protect against DNA damage and oxidative stress, which are linked to cancer development (24, 25).
May help treat jet lag: NAD+ helps regulate your bodys internal clock, so taking niagen may help treat jet lag or other circadian rhythm disorders by resetting your bodys internal clock (26).
May promote healthy muscle aging: Raising NAD+ levels helped improve muscle function, strength and endurance in older mice (5, 27).
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Nicotinamide riboside is likely safe with few if any side effects.
In human studies, taking 1,0002,000 mg per day had no harmful effects (28, 29).
However, most human studies are short in duration and have very few participants. For a more accurate idea of its safety, more robust human studies are needed.
Some people have reported mild to moderate side effects, such as nausea, fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, stomach discomfort and indigestion (30).
In animals, taking 300 mg per kg of body weight (136 mg per pound) daily for 90 days had no harmful effects (31).
Whats more, unlike vitamin B3 (niacin) supplements, nicotinamide riboside should not cause facial flushing (31).
I took Niacin for a couple of months and had so much energy I was pulling all nighters getting all kinds of work done. I moved fast, felt lighter, better.
I ran out and a few months later I’m taking cat naps like I ordinarily do and trudging my way out in the morning. The difference really is pretty big.
I’m going to order more once my next client pays up.
How much beer would one need to drink to bring the level above 'trace'?
Other than Vitamin D, nicotinamide riboside chloride (brand name Tru Niagen) is the only supplement I take. I take 500 mg per day, half in the morning and half at night.
One of the effects Ive noticed is very vivid dreams at night and I actually remember them when I wake up. Anyhow, no bad side effects and Ill see how it works out longer term. Its not cheap if you get the real stuff.