01 Mar Delaware Scientists Study Supplement in Alzheimer’s Disease
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christopher R. Martens PhD
Director, Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research
Department of Kinesiology & Applied Physiology
University of Delaware
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: One of the main issues with Alzheimer’s disease is an impaired ability to make energy in the brain. NAD+ is critically involved in the creation of energy within cells and there is strong evidence that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a precursor to NAD+, can restore brain function in mice that exhibit similar characteristics as people with Alzheimer’s disease.
We had previously studied the effects of NR in healthy older adults and wanted to see whether it is even capable of getting into brain tissue. We used remaining blood samples from our original study and measured the amount of NAD+ within tiny “vesicles” in the blood that we are quite confident originated from the brain and other neural tissue
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: . We found that taking NR for 6-weeks resulted in an increase in NAD+ within these vesicles compared to taking a placebo.
What’s really interesting is that we also found changes in more established markers of Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., amyloid beta) after taking the supplement.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our results suggest that NR is capable of raising NAD+ and altering the metabolism of important molecular markers of Alzheimer’s disease. Our findings don’t necessarily mean that the supplement will lower these biomarkers or reverse any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. We view as initial evidence that the supplement can reach our intended target and as validation that we should continue studying its effects in people with cognitive impairment.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: We are already doing a follow-up study with this compound in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Our current study is a 12-week intervention and again is intended to establish the initial effects of the supplement on brain function, not to test whether the compound actually slows the disease. To confirm whether the supplement actually lowers Alzheimer’s disease risk will take much larger and longer-duration (>1 year) clinical trials in much larger groups of people with cognitive impairment. Ideally, these would be done across multiple study sites and include a diverse group of older adults that includes minority groups that have historically been underrepresented in other major clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease.
Vreones, M., Mustapic, M., Moaddel, R., Pucha, K. A., Lovett, J., Seals, D. R., Kapogiannis, D., & Martens, C. R. (2023). Oral nicotinamide riboside raises NAD+ and lowers biomarkers of neurodegenerative pathology in plasma extracellular vesicles enriched for neuronal origin. Aging Cell, 22, e13754. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.13754
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