For a while now, researchers have been studying the effects of nicotinamide – aka vitamin B-3. They’ve found that this vitamin is extremely powerful – so much so that researchers have given the proposal that it become an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s.
According to previous studies, large amounts of vitamin B-3 have shown to reverse memory loss in mice due to Alzheimer’s. To learn more about how vitamin B-3 works, a recent study has taken a deeper look into how nicotinamide riboside (NR) – a form of vitamin B-3 – affects the brain’s ability to repair its DNA due to brain damage from Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Medical News Today:
“The team added NR to the drinking water of mice that had been genetically engineered to develop the hallmarks of the neurodegenerative disorder. These included toxic buildups of the proteins tau and amyloid beta, dysfunctional synapses, and neuronal death — all of which resulted in cognitive deficits.
The mice drank the water for 3 months, and their brains and cognitive health were compared with those of control mice. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Compared with the controls, the NR-treated mice had less of the protein tau in the brain, less DNA damage, and more neuroplasticity — that is, the brain’s ability to “rewire” itself when it learns new things, stores new memories, or becomes damaged.
Additionally — probably as a result of NR’s ability to aid the self-renewal of stem cells, or cells that have the ability to transform into any other type of cell that the body needs — the mice in the intervention group produced more neurons from neuronal stem cells.”
In addition, fewer neurons experienced death or damage in the group of Alzheimer’s mice. However, both groups’ beta-amyloid protein levels were the same.
The researchers also took note of the hippocampi of both groups (aka the part of the brain that stores memory, and that shrinks and experiences damage when Alzheimer’s occurs). Interestingly, the group given the NR treatment had either a decrease or complete removal of existing DNA damage.
Plus, the group of mice that was given the NR treatment later gave a better performance in both object recognition and maze tasks than the control group.
This is very encouraging news, and researchers will continue to look into the benefits NR can potentially help the brain.