Friday, May 4, 2007

Vitamin NR - nicotinamide riboside extends life in yeast and probably for us

Vitamin Extends Life In Yeast, Scientists Find ScienceDaily 5/4/07 "...a cousin of niacin prolongs lifespan in yeast ..."If we could do this in humans -- give people a drug or vitamin that would mimic effects of calorie restriction without having to skip lunch -- we would be able to provide some of the benefits of calorie restriction, which are pretty striking in model organisms," said Brenner, also a member of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center...providing a newly discovered vitamin activates the yeast anti-aging gene product Sir2, which resembles sirtuins found in humans. The new work builds on Brenner's prior discovery of the vitamin, termed NR (nicotinamide riboside), a natural product found in milk. Like the B3 vitamin, niacin, NR is a precursor to a versatile cellular factor that is vital for all life...The factor, called NAD, short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is elevated by calorie restriction...At the molecular level, elevating NAD to turn on Sir2 actually enables the yeast to silence genes that are not supposed to be expressed. In any organism, not all genes are on at once; in yeast, there are sets of genes that Sir2 normally represses. "We showed that that we could improve Sir2-dependent gene silencing with NR and increase the longevity of yeast grown in high glucose conditions," ...Yeast cells formerly capable of dividing 13 times, divided over 23 times when given NR. ...Granted that the human anti-aging apparatus is more complex, but animal studies indicate potential. Perhaps the best known sirtuin activator is the red wine compound resveratrol. Overfed mice on high dose resveratrol have healthier livers, better endurance and possibly longer lifespan. While resveratrol and NR work through different mechanisms to increase sirtuin activity, Brenner said, "the two compounds could be complementary or synergistic." ...More testing remains for NR in humans, but Brenner foresees intriguing possibilities. "As a natural product found in milk, we expect the compound to be much safer than most drugs, and to be a more specific remedy than most vitamins." ..."

What a week for anti-aging research.
It's exciting that NR might work synergistically with resveratrol. How many extra years might these two compounds grant us?

A little more information on NR in the filing of a patent. David Sinclair is listed as one of the patent inventors of NR as used for medical purposes. Charles Brenner isn't. Not with Sirtris apparently (correction he is, see UPDATE below). . Much more info about nicotinamide riboside at that link.

"0007] The present invention is directed to nicotinamide riboside and analogs thereof, including their use in methods of treating diseases or conditions, such as diabetes/insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and obesity. It is believed that nicotinamide riboside and its analogs directly or indirectly activate sirtuins, such as the human protein SIRT1...compounds that are capable of modulating sirtuin activity may be useful in a variety of medical conditions in mammals (e.g., mice and humans), such as those that are caused by or associated with changes in gene expression and age of the individual. These medical conditions include disorders related to aging or stress, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, blood clotting disorders, inflammation, cataracts, flushing, cell death, cancer, appetite, and/or weight gain."

If the ambition of the patent is an indication of the confidence of the researchers as to the benefits of this one sirtuin activator, then we'll be hearing much more on this.

Sirtuin activators and prenatal choline - these will probably be two of the biggest stories this century... after global warming - one continues to hope.

UPDATE: A reader corrects me in comments - Charles Brenner is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Sirtris and holds earlier patents on NR. Thanks for the correction.

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1 comment:

interested reader said...

Actually Brenner did file a patent both for therapeutic and nutritional uses for nicotinamide riboside plus the nicotinamide riboside kinases as compositions of matter. Brenner's invention is owned by The Trustees of Dartmouth College. See

Priority date is February 10, 2004, which is prior to Brenner's first Cell paper on NR.

Also, maybe Sirtris licensed this technology, at least for therapeutics, because I notice that Charles Brenner is on the Sirtris SAB. See