Life Extension Magazine®
Scientist using microscope studying Nicotinamide Riboside in NAD+ metabolism

In The News: February 2017

Nicotinamide riboside boosts NAD+ and longevity enzymes; melatonin reduces blood pressure; magnesium lowers glucose; and DHEA cuts diabetes risk.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on March 2021.

Nicotinamide Riboside Boosts NAD+ Metabolism in Humans

Found in every cell in the body, NAD+ is an enzyme that plays a critical role in maintaining youthful energy metabolism.

Nature Communications reported the results of the first clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3 known to boost NAD+ cell levels.* Researchers determined that the compound was more effective than niacin and nicotinamide at increasing beneficial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and sirtuin enzymes associated with longevity.

In 2004, Charles Brenner, PhD, discovered that nicotinamide riboside occurs in milk and that it can convert to NAD+ in humans. After conducting experiments in rodents, he tested it on himself by consuming a gram daily for a week, accompanied by blood testing that revealed a 2.7 fold increase in NAD+.

Acting on findings in mice, 12 human subjects were given 100 mg, 300 mg, or 1,000 mg nicotinamide riboside in different sequences with a week between each dose. The trial revealed the superiority of nicotinamide ribosome in boosting NAD+ and the activity of sirtuin enzymes.

Editor’s Note: The health-enhancing potential of nicotinamide riboside has not gone unnoticed by mass marketers. Aggressive advertising in 2016 touted the ability of nicotinamide riboside to reverse certain aspects of aging. Commercial companies began selling nicotinamide riboside (under a variety of trade names) at high prices. Consumers don’t need to pay these high prices if they look for formulas whose active ingredients include nicotinamide riboside as sold by reputable firms.


*Nat Commun. 2016 Oct 10;7:12948. 

Melatonin Helps Lower Blood Pressure, Study Shows

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A study from Thomas Jefferson University has found that melatonin supplements may help lower blood pressure in both younger people and older nonhypertensive individuals.*

While previous research had shown the pineal hormone melatonin to have a beneficial effect on both clinical and experimental hypertension in older subjects, this study was focused on the effect of melatonin on both younger and older people whose blood pressure is in the normal or prehypertensive range.

The pilot study of 23 subjects looked at blood pressure readings taken in the clinic as well as readings taken from ambulatory monitoring devices in order to obtain systolic and diastolic numbers over a 24-hour period. The devices took readings every 20 minutes during subjects’ waking hours, and every hour overnight. All the subjects in the melatonin group had both clinical and ambulatory readings taken before and after receiving 9 mg of controlled-release melatonin daily for six weeks. Patients in the control group did not receive melatonin, but had the same blood pressure measurements done before and after six weeks. The results showed that, on average, the office systolic reading of the entire melatonin group of subjects was a statistically significant 7.3 mmHg lower compared to baseline; control subjects dropped 4.4 mmHg compared to baseline (nonsignificant). In the older group, it was, on average, 13.3 mmHg lower (significant), versus 3.3 mmHg in controls (nonsignificant).

Editor’s Note: The melatonin used for this study was donated through the Life Extension Foundation® Buyers Club.


*Presented at AHA Hypertension Scientific Sessions, Sept. 14-17, 2016, Orlando, FL.

Association Between Magnesium and Lower Glucose in Diabetics

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A systematic review and meta-analysis appearing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition affirmed a reduction in plasma glucose in association with magnesium supplementation among those at risk of or diagnosed with diabetes.*

The researchers selected 12 randomized, controlled trials involving 670 diabetics who were followed for a median of 12 weeks and six trials that enrolled 453 men and women at high risk of diabetes followed for a median of 14 weeks.

Among the studies that involved diabetics, there was an association observed between reduced fasting plasma glucose and treatment with magnesium in comparison with a placebo. In studies that involved those at high risk of the disease, magnesium supplementation was associated with significantly improved plasma glucose levels compared to a placebo following a two-hour oral glucose tolerance test and a trend toward reduced insulin resistance.

Editor’s Note: Magnesium supplements given in the trials included magnesium oxide, magnesium picolinate, magnesium aspartate HCl, magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, magnesium lactate-citrate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate.


*Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug 17.

Higher DHEA Levels Associated with Lower Diabetes Risk

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An article in Diabetologia reports an association between higher levels of DHEA and a lower risk of type II diabetes.*

The investigation involved participants in the Rotterdam Study, which enrolled 7,983 men and women from 1990–1993 (Rotterdam Study I) and 3,011 participants in 2000 (Rotterdam study II).

Follow-up visits were conducted every three to five years.

The final study was limited to 5,189 subjects who were free of diabetes at enrollment. Over a median follow-up of 10.9 years, 643 cases of type II diabetes were diagnosed.

Among those whose serum DHEA levels were among the top third of participants, there was a 27% lower risk of diabetes in comparison with those whose levels were among the lowest third.

Editor’s Note: As possible protective mechanisms for DHEA, the authors note that the hormone is a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha agonist, as are fibrate drugs currently used to treat high triglyceride levels. The fibrate drug bezafibrate was found in one study to reduce the incidence and delay the onset of type II diabetes in subjects with impaired fasting glucose. DHEA has also been shown to be an insulin sensitizer and to help protect against advanced glycation end-product formation. Additionally, DHEA is associated with better endothelial function which, when impaired, has been associated with insulin resistance.


*Diabetologia. 2016 Oct 22.