Age Reversal with Nicotinamide Riboside and Resveratrol (or Pterostilbene)

The newest anti-aging fad is pretty soundly based in scientific research, albeit only if you are a mouse or a cell in a petri dish. Human studies are still wanting.

To wit, one school of thought on aging is that the mitochondria (powerhouses) in your cells gradually become sluggish with age. Your cells become energy inefficient and slow down or die. At the orgamismal level, you get old and slow and weak, even if you are otherwise healthy and have no chronic diseases. That's the natural process of aging.

But scientists can tinker with the cellular machinery of the mitochondria and they recently have, as this article in Scientific American summarizes.

Years ago, some scientists looking for an explanation for the health benefits of red wine figured out that a molecule in grapes, resveratrol, could stimulate mitochondrial activity by way of sirtuins, naturally occurring cellular enzymes that are involved in mitochondrial energy metabolism. More recently, a molecule related to resveratrol, called pterostilbene, was shown to be even more potent than resveratrol at charging up mitochondrial metabolism.

A cellular molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) has been implicated in the mechanism by which sirtuins ramp up mitochondrial function, and not surprisingly this molecule gradually decreases in cells as they age. When a precursor of NAD called nicotinamide riboside (NR) was fed to elderly mice, low and behold the NAD levels and mitochondrial function of the rodents' muscle cells increased to the level found in young mice (although an increase in muscle strength of the elderly mice was not seen).

Naturally, the promising cellular and animal studies to date have caught the attention of the nutraceuticals industry and even though there are no strong human studies on the effects of NR and resveratrol/pterostilbene on mitochondrial function and aging, several proprietary supplements are now on the market that contain various combinations of these molecules.

Following my mom's albeit inaccurate philosophy on nutritional supplements - "It can't hurt, but it might help!" - my wife and I now take a daily NR and resveratrol supplement from Life Extension, called Optimized NAD+ Cell Regenerator with Resveratrol. Does it work? That's hard to say. Thanks to a healthy lifestyle, I am quite energetic and spritely as I approach 50 years of age. I can say that it has not hurt as far as I can tell, supporting my mom's tenuous adage. 

This week I went on several long bike rides and I feel stronger than ever climbing hills and enduring long distances. This may simply be the effects of regular exercise and training. I also take another supplement containing Asian herbs that putatively boost energy. So I represent a very uncontrolled and unscientific human case study. I do trust the Life Extension brand, however, and we get most of our nutritional supplements from there.

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