NR is a Next-Generation Form of Vitamin B3
NR stands for nicotinamide riboside which is a member of the vitamin B3 family. It can be found naturally in trace amounts in milk.1,2 Other milk-derived products such as whey and yeast-containing foods are also presumed as natural sources of NR.3
What We Need to Know About Each of the Vitamin B3s
NA (nicotinic acid/niacin)
- Discovered in the late 1930’s
- Identified as a treatment for pellagra, which is the late stage of severe niacin deficiency. Pellagra was common in the southern US during the early 1900s where income was low and corn products were a major dietary staple.5
- Found in foods including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains
- The most commonly recognized B3 due to its use as a treatment for elevated cholesterol for decades
- Known to cause an uncomfortable side effect called ‘flushing’ when taken as a supplement6
- Tryptophan can be converted to niacin within the body, although the efficiency of conversion is low in humans6
- Discovered in the late 1930’s around the same time as NA
- Derivative (metabolite) of NA6 and NR
- Sometimes referred to as niacinamide
- Became popular due to the fact that it is not known to cause flushing
- The form of niacin typically used in nutritional supplements and in food fortification6
- “Turns off” longevity promoting proteins within the cells called sirtuins when consumed in higher doses
NR (nicotinamide riboside)
- Discovered in the 1940’s
- Identified as a natural product found in trace amounts in milk in 2004 by Dr. Charles Brenner
- At the same time, Brenner also discovered the gene (NRK1) which enables NR to boost NAD+ levels in humans1
- “Turns on” or activates longevity promoting proteins (Sirt2)
- Not known to cause flushing
To better understand these critical differences, you must understand more about the body’s key to unlocking cellular energy production – and that is called NAD+.
- Bieganowski, P. & Brenner, C. (2004). Discoveries of nicotinamide riboside as a nutrient and conserved NRK genes establish a Preiss-Handler independent route to NAD+ in fungi and humans. Cell 117, 495-502.
- Trammel, S. A., Yu, L., Migaud, M.E., Brenner, C.(2016). Nicotinamide riboside is a major NAD+ precursor vitamin in cow milk. Journal of Nutrition, 146(5), 957–63.
- Chi Y & Suave AA (2013) Nicotinamide riboside, a trace nutrient in foods, is a vitamin B3 with effects on energy metabolism and neuroprotection. Current Opinion in Clin. Nutr. and Metab. Care 16, 657-661.
- Wylde, B. (2016, October 12). Published studies reveal how a superior form of vitamin B3 called NR may play an important role in helping us enjoy longer, healthier lives – Diet & Nutrition Info and Tips. Retrieved November 02, 2016, from http://www.empowher.com/community/share/published-studies-reveal-how-superior-form-vitamin-b3-called-nr-may-play-im
- Linus Pauling Institute – Micronutrient Information Center. Niacin. Retrieved October, 2016.http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins
- Higdon, J., PhD., V. J. Drake PhD, B. Delage PhD. Linus Pauling Institute – Micronutrient Information Center. Niacin, Retrieved August, 2016, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/niacin
- Trammell, S. A., Schmidt, M. S., Weidemann, B. J., Redpath, P., Jaksch, F., Dellinger, R. W., Abel, E.D., Migaud, M.E., Brenner, C. (2016). Nicotinamide riboside is uniquely and orally bioavailable in mice and humans. Nature Communications, 7, 12948. doi:10.1038/ncomms12948
- Nature Education. (2014). Cell Energy and Cell Functions. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/cell-energy-and-cell-functions-14024533
- Belenky, P., Racette, K.L., Bogan, K.L., McClure, J.M., Smith, J.S. & Brenner, C. (2007). Nicotinamide Riboside Promotes Sir2 Silencing and Extends Lifespan via Nrk and Urh1/Pnp1/Meu1 Pathways to NAD+. Cell 129, 473-484