Do you know what the typical first sign of aging is? Some might say wrinkles. Others say memory loss. But the first sign of aging is one we're all aware of — fatigue. The second sign goes right along with it — a lack of motivation. Once you start feeling these for no real reason, then you know you're aging. While there's no way to completely stop the aging process, there's plenty you can do to increase your energy and motivation.
When you start to feel tired for no apparent reason, you're feeling the effects of impaired cellular function. As your cells struggle, you struggle.
So is it possible to protect your cells and reverse the mechanism of aging that causes fatigue and lack of motivation? Researchers have looked for the answer to this question for decades. They know that even if you eat right, exercise, and live a healthy lifestyle, the best you can hope for is slowing down the aging process. This is likely the best we'll ever find. We won't find eternal life in our food, exercise, drugs, or supplements. That means the goal is to slow down the aging process as much as possible.
The best way to keep your cells in tip top shape is to eat fewer calories. This is one of the only proven ways to live longer. However, there are supplements that can help. I've told you about the amazing ability of fish oil, apple peels, and resveratrol to slow down the aging process. Now researchers think they've found another nutrient that works in a similar way. This nutrient is nicotinamide riboside.
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The first part of this nutrient's name may sound familiar. Nicotinamide is a form of niacin. You probably know it by the name niacinamide. So nicotinamide riboside is a new patented form of vitamin B3. It's a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is a cellular compound that transfers energy from the foods we eat to the cells. It also turns off the genes that contribute to aging.
It's interesting that most NAD+ precursors actually speed up the aging process. However, one study in the journal Cell found that nicotinamide riboside was able to extend lifespan without calorie restriction. In fact, it had similar effects on lifespan as calorie restriction, which is impressive.
And another study found that the nutrient does increase energy metabolism and it also protects your brain cells from damage. A third study found that it can protect your cells from the ravages of a high oxidized-fat diet.
Can nicotinamide riboside actually extend your lifespan? I'm skeptical of most life extension claims. I'm convinced that God can extend your life. I'm also convinced that we can do a lot of make the days we do have more vibrant. And it appears that nicotinamide riboside might play a role in that. This supplement is still in its infancy. I'd like to see more studies on its effectiveness. I'd also like to see the price come down. One bottle of 125 mg capsules can cost as much as $60 (lower priced bottles usually have much lower doses). I can understand that price for a proprietary formula that has loads of research behind it. But one nutrient without a lot of research is an expensive experiment. So if you want to try it, go for it. It might work wonders. The initial studies suggest this could be a powerful nutrient. But the jury is still out on whether it works better than the lower-priced and proven abilities of resveratrol, apple peel extract, and fish oil.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.