Vitamin B3 vs nicotinamide riboside (NR): Are you using the right one for your health?

Vitamin B3, known as niacin, is crucial in energy metabolism and DNA repair. It comes in two forms: niacinamide and nicotinic acid.

Another compound gaining attention for its potential health benefits is nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3 that acts as a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a molecule involved in various cellular processes [1].

Niacin, found in foods like meat, fish, and grains, can be converted into niacinamide, essential for enzyme function and cellular energy production. However, high doses of niacin may cause flushing, itching and liver damage [2].

On the other hand, Nicotinamide riboside is a form of vitamin B3 found in trace amounts in foods like milk and yeast. It is believed to increase NAD+ levels more efficiently than niacin, potentially offering benefits for aging, metabolism and overall health.

NR supplements have gained popularity for their claimed antiaging effects and potential to improve mitochondrial function, which may enhance energy production and support healthy aging [3].

Research suggests that NR supplementation may benefit various aspects of health, including metabolic function, brain health and longevity [4]. Some studies have shown promising results in improving glucose metabolism, protecting against age-related cognitive decline and extending lifespan in animal models [56] .

However, while NR holds promise, more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects and optimal dosage for different health conditions [7]. It’s also important to note that NR supplements can be expensive and unsuitable for everyone.

Choosing between niacin and NR depends on individual health goals and preferences. Niacin remains a cost-effective option for addressing niacin deficiency and supporting overall health, although with the risk of side effects at high doses.

On the other hand, NR offers a potentially more efficient way to increase NAD+ levels without causing flushing, but its long-term safety and efficacy still require further investigation.

Before starting any new supplement regimen, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional, especially for those with underlying health conditions or taking medications.

Additionally, focusing on a balanced diet rich in niacin-containing foods, such as meat, fish, nuts and whole grains, can provide essential nutrients for overall health and well-being.

Both niacin and NR offer potential health benefits, but their choice depends on individual needs, preferences and considerations regarding safety and cost.


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