Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a new form of Niacin (vitamin B3) that offers unique anti-aging benefits – including skin recovery from sun damage.
Whether embarking on a sunny vacation – or enjoying a getaway in your own backyard – it is necessary to protect your skin from the sun.
The sun offers numerous benefits. It gives us energy and helps us sleep. It boosts our mood, and heals our tissues.
Too much sun exposure can lead to cell damage.
UV light damages cell organs called mitochondria and creates direct insults to DNA. Impaired DNA leads to errors in cell division – and finally, errors in cell division can develop into higher risk for cancer development.
The body has a number of protective mechanisms to protect and recover from mitochondrial and DNA damage.
One of these central regulators of mitochondrial health and cellular recovery is NAD+. NAD+ can be readily made by the body from a special form of Vitamin B3 known as Nicotinamide riboside (NR).
Commercially, it is known as TruNiagen.
NR has been shown to regulate anti-aging genes and most aspects of daily metabolism – largely through its conversion to NAD+. NAD+ has been called the “central regulator of metabolism”.
Stress, overeating, alcohol intake, poor sleep, and sun damage will deplete NAD+ from your body.
Excess sun exposure leads to skin damage and greater concerns for skin cancer development.
The UV rays may deplete you of your NAD+ reserves – leaving you vulnerable to oxidative stress, metabolic inefficiency, and poor tissue recovery.
You can resupply NAD+ reserves immediately by supplementing with NR.
Problems with Commercial Sunscreen
Many have turned to sunscreen to protect their skin from the sun.
Many brands contain oxybenzone chemicals which are implicated in cancer and irritation on their own.
Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association made mainstream headlines when they discovered that sunscreen chemicals are passing into the bloodstream (1).
When I use sunscreen, I use the old fashioned zinc sunscreen that leaves a white film – it’s the oxybenzone chemicals in part that allow a spray or cream to go on clear. Avoid products that contain chemicals with “__-benzone” in the name
I am sure to get sun exposure every day, but I’m also careful not to overdo it. I’m also careful not to dose myself with chemicals if I use sunscreen.
After thirty minutes or so of the sun during the peak hours of the day, I’m finding shade or going back inside.
Men are at higher risk for skin cancers as they are more likely to work outside, and more prone to addictive behaviors which can include smoking, drinking, and overeating – all of which deplete the body of valuable NAD+.
I take nicotinamide riboside to support skin recovery from the sun.
And, everyone can benefit due to the wide benefits for health beyond the skin.
Nicotinamide Riboside Benefits for Whole Body Health
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell that produce energy in the form of ATP.
Mitochondria are located everywhere in the body but are densely located in nerve and muscle tissue where energy demands are the highest at any given moment.
Cellular repair of body tissues is dependent on healthy mitochondria and stem cells. NAD+ helps the mitochondria work more efficiently. So if NR is boosting NAD+ and having a positive effect on mitochondria, we should see benefits for muscle and nerve health.
Research has supported benefits of nicotinamide riboside for muscle and nerve health:
- NR has been shown to help rejuvenate and maintain muscle and nerve health in animal models, and prevent functional loss with age (2).
- Mitochondrial health is greatly diminished in Parkinson’s disease. NR has the ability to rescue mitochondrial function (3).
- I also like vitamin K2-7 to rescue mitochondrial health for similar reasons – it helps the body efficiently produce ATP from the food we eat with minimal collateral damage to delicate cell organs. Read more on the many vitamin K2-7 benefits which make it one of my daily supplements in addition to nicotinamide riboside (TruNiagen PRO to be specific).
- Other studies corroborate a neuroprotective effect of NR due to its ability to boost NAD+ levels in the body (4).
- NR boosts the expression of anti-aging genes and suppresses the expression of age-promoting genes. Read more on the Anti-aging Benefits of Nicotinamide Riboside.
When it comes to skin health, NR’s rejuvenation of mitochondrial health supports critical cellular healing processes.
Nicotinamide Riboside Benefits for the Skin
A landmark study published in Nature demonstrated that NR was bioavailable in humans, and led to increases in NAD+ in a dose-dependent manner (5).
The findings demonstrated a “proof of concept” that taking this new substance works as advertised.
We know that…
- NR has a positive effect on mitochondria, helping to boost metabolism, minimize damage to our mitochondria, and promote healthy cellular aging.
- It readily leads to the increase of NAD+ levels in the body.
- And, that NAD+ is involved in EVERYTHING – so much so that it is referenced as the “central regulator of metabolism”.
Now, do those findings extrapolate to the skin?
As mentioned above, excess sun exposure promotes cellular skin damage from ultraviolet rays.
Some UV light exposure is healthy and necessary for the body. Too much creates an excess of oxidative stress, suppression of immune cells, and collateral damage to vulnerable cell components like DNA.
It’s exciting that each of these areas has been studied in respect to nicotinamide riboside supplementation.
- Human study has demonstrated the ability of NR to protect against immunosuppression from UV damage (6).
- NR also increases the repair of mitochondrial ATP production in UV-damaged skin cells by at least two separate mechanisms. This is direct evidence of cellular survival after extended sun exposure (7)
- In a new clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 386 high-risk skin participants with non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and actinic keratoses) were assigned to a treatment group of 500mg of NR taken twice a day, or a placebo. At 12 months, the rate of new skin cancers in the NR-treated group was 23% lower than the placebo (8).
Now, I can sit in the sun a little more confidently with nicotinamide riboside in my toolbox.
I take 300mg of TruNiagenPRO (one capsule) twice a day as a part of my daily supplement routine.
Because NR works at the level of the mitochondria and metabolic pathways, nicotinamide riboside benefits can be experienced across all body tissues. NR does need to be taken on a continual basis to to see benefits. When you stop taking it, you are back to the day-to-day risks of deficiency.
What’s the Difference Between TruNiagen and TruNiagenPRO?
You can still see benefit by taking one capsule per day of either product (150mg-300mg), and some is better than none. I take one capsule twice a day of TruNiagenPRO, but you can still support NAD+ levels with 150-300mg once or twice a day.
How much Nicotinamide Riboside Should I Take?
Charles Brenner, Ph.D., who discovered NR, recommends taking 300mg twice a day (12 hours apart), yet once a day is surely better than not at all. No adverse reactions have been reported. Once you stop taking NR, you no longer yield benefit from the NAD+ support – so it is something to choose to take on an on-going basis (or to recovery from an overeating or overdrinking).
If I consume alcohol, had a poor night’s sleep, traveled across more than two time zones, ate more than I should, or sat in the sun too long, I may take an extra capsule for added NAD+ support.