B3 Nicotinamide, The Anti-Aging Silver Bullet

May 16, 2016

B3 - Nicotinamide, the Anti-Aging Silver Bullet 

 References: Science May 2016,  Published May 16, 2016

Nicotinamide is the B vitamin your body makes after taking Niacin. Niacin makes you flush when you take a bunch of it, and that is caused by the conversion to Nicotinamide. Our bodies being as crafty and complex as they are, probably each has separate functions as well, but their functions is thought to be identical. The production of nicotinamide is the next step in the B3 vitamin production, and eventually becomes the compound NAD which plays a critical link in the electron transport chain.

This is the key process of extracting energy from fat and sugar that goes on in our mitochondria. It is at the very core of life. The amount of each and their ratio determines how much energy you have to burn. That makes nicotinamide and its offspring, NAD a key player in keeping us alive.

 That is what this week's paper speaks to. In the journal Science is published an article about examining the role of NAD in regenerating mice muscle. As we age, our key organs, heart, liver and kidneys, muscles can no longer regenerate themselves as well as they used to. That leads to a lot of the basic diseases of aging as those organs wear out and can't replace themselves. Part of them wearing out may just be that their energy source isn't what it used to be.

If you can't make energy, you can't repair. This is particularly important in stem cells. In this paper, the authors looked at the stem cells in muscles and their ability to renew and repair themselves. They showed the importance of the amount of the oxidized form of cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and its impact on mitochondrial activity as a pivotal switch to modulate muscle stem cell senescence.  

Given nicotinamide, those mouse stem cells showed a dramatic increase in the mitochondria unfolded protein response. And that correlates with younger, longer living mitochondria, and thereafter stem cells. Simply said, those mice lived longer. This isn't the first report of B3 helping mitochondria. A couple of years ago,  it was reported that milk contains B3 and is shown to treated injured mitochondria. Well, that has turned out to be prescient!

 WWW.What will work for me! Wow. This is pretty big. We don't have human studies yet, but we have given Niacin to people for decades in the ill fated attempt to raise HDL cholesterol. With Niacin, I could get my HDL from 28 to 31 with 30 minutes of facial flushing every day. That didn't work. I may have been prolonging my life, however, with that strategy, without knowing it. The issue is the amount of NAD+ and NADH, their ratio and how we can manipulate that to our benefit. That would be huge. I'm waiting eagerly for that advance, once we learn how to do it right.  

 Pop Quiz ‪1. Mitochondria are our cells energy factories? T or F Bingo. We have about 200 per cell. 2. Mitochondria age, just like cells age. Also true. 3. Nicotinamide appears to turn on the regeneration of stem cells in critical organs. T or F Again, that's the key ‪4. I can prolong my life taking B3. T or F Whoops! Hold on. Works in mice and mice are a pretty good model for humans when it comes to basic science, but not quite proven in humans. 5. The ratio of NAD to NADH might be a useful thing to know about oneself, once we know what it all means. T or F Yup.