Findings from a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial evaluating Niagen supplementation (ChromaDex) showed potential in improving blood pressure and cardiovascular health. The study has been published in Nature Communications.

The clinical study (N=30) evaluated middle-aged and older adults receiving Niagen (nicotinamide riboside chloride [NR]) 500mg, a unique formulation of vitamin B3, twice daily. The data showed chronic NR supplementation safely and effectively increased levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in humans by ~60% vs placebo. Patient adherence was high and NR was well tolerated at the study dose; no serious adverse events were reported. Nausea, flushing, leg cramps, and increased bruising were commonly reported during the NR phase.  

NR supplementation also showed reductions in mean systolic blood pressure (SBP; mean change -3.9mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP; mean change -2.0mmHg) for all patients; these findings were not statistically significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. A follow-up analysis revealed SBP was 9mmHg lower after NR supplementation vs placebo among patients with elevated/stage I hypertension. 

These findings further support the increased NAD levels seen with NR in an earlier study published in 2016. Study authors also evaluated various physiological factors associated with older age in the areas of metabolic function, motor function, and exercise capacity/performance. NR did not affect total energy intake/expenditure, oxidative fuel source, or physical activity patterns. Compared to placebo, researchers did not observe differences in body mass, BMI, or percent body fat.

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Overall, chronic oral supplementation with NR was well-tolerated and effective in boosting NAD+ metabolism in middle-aged and older adults. “Additionally, our exploratory analyses of the effects of NR supplementation on physiological function suggest that the ability of NR to reduce SBP and aortic stiffness, two clinically important risk indicators of cardiovascular function and health, are among the most promising hypotheses to test in a future larger-scale clinical trial, particularly in individuals with above-normal baseline SBP,” concluded lead author Christopher R. Martens.

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