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Nicotinamide riboside shows promise for treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension [1].

June 13 2018. The June 5, 2018 issue of Cell Reports [2] documented findings from German researchers of a potential benefit for nicotinamide riboside in Parkinson’s disease [3]. Nicotinamide riboside is a precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an enzyme that plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy cellular metabolism, including support of the mitochondria, the energy-producing plants within our cells.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the death of nerve cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain. It has been observed that mitochondria contained in these cells have significant damage. “In our study we aimed to investigate whether damaged mitochondria were merely a side effect or whether they cause Parkinson’s disease,” explained lead researcher Michela Deleidi of the Helmholtz Association and the University of Tübingen.

To determine whether boosting mitochondrial biogenesis and function with an NAD+ precursor reduces Parkinson’s disease pathology, Dr Deleidi and colleagues tested nicotinamide riboside’s effects in neuronal stem cell lines derived from Parkinson’s disease patients with the most common Parkinson’s disease genetic defect and in fruit flies that also had the defective gene. They found that increasing NAD+ by administering nicotinamide riboside ameliorated the mitochondrial dysfunction that is evident in the diseased cells. “This substance stimulates the energy metabolism in the affected nerve cells and protects them from dying off,” Dr Deleidi reported.

In Parkinson’s disease flies, nicotinamide riboside prevented age-related loss of neurons that produce dopamine and protected against a decline in mobility. “Our results suggest that the loss of mitochondria does indeed play a significant role in the genesis of Parkinson’s disease,” Dr Deleidi concluded. “Administering nicotinamide riboside may be a new starting-point for treatment.”

“Other studies have shown that it is well tolerated by healthy test subjects and has potential beneficial effects on cardiovascular health,” she added.

—D Dye