Vitamin B3 To Treat Alzheimer's
.A past study showed that large doses of nicotinamide - also known as Vitamin B3 - could reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer's disease
Likewise in a recent study, which focused on the effects of nicotinamide riboside (NR) which also showed the same research results.
More specifically, a study led by Dr. Vilhelm A. Bohr, head of the National Institute of Aging (NIA) Molecular Gerontology Laboratory, and Dr. Yujun Hou, postdoctoral investigator in the laboratory.
They focused on how NR affects the brain's ability to repair its DNA, a function that is impaired by Alzheimer's disease.
As the scientists explain, a lack of the brain's ability to repair its DNA leads to dysfunction of the cells' mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles within cells – which, in turn, leads to neuronal dysfunction and lower production of neurons.
NR itself is very important for mitochondrial health and biogenesis, namely cells that are able to increase stem cell self-renewal, and neurostress resistance. Thus, Dr. Bohr and his colleagues wanted to explore the effects of NR supplementation in a mouse model of neurological disease.
The team added NR to the drinking water of mice that had been genetically engineered to develop traits of a neurodegenerative disorder.
These include toxic buildup of the tau protein and dysfunctional amyloid beta
synapses, and neuronal death — all of which result in cognitive deficits.
In the process, the mice drank water for 3 months. During that time, the researchers checked their brains and cognitive health compared to other mice. The findings were later published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NR Improves neural and cognitive health
Compared to others, mice treated with NR had less tau protein in the brain, less DNA damage, and more neuroplasticity - that is, the brain's ability to "reconnect" itself when learning new things , and save new memories.
In addition - the ability of NR is also claimed to help the renewal of stem cells, or cells that have the ability to transform into other types of cells that the body needs.
In this case, mice fall into the group that produces more neurons than nerve stem cells. In addition, fewer neurons died or were damaged in mice. On the other hand, what was interesting was that their beta-amyloid protein levels remained the same as those of the other mice.
Thus, the researchers say that in the hippocampi - an area of the brain involved in memory that is often shrunken or damaged by Alzheimer's - suggesting that through the mice that received the treatment, NR appeared to either eliminate existing DNA damage or stop it from spreading.
All brain changes were supported by results from cognitive and behavioral tests. All NR-treated mice performed better in completing the maze task as well as object recognition tests. They also show stronger muscles and an improved gait.
In the future, the researchers plan to further investigate how NR works that could be used to prevent Alzheimer's-associated cognitive deficits, and to stage clinical trials in humans.