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New study demonstrates a unique role of the nutrient Nicotinamide Riboside in supporting liver health

New study demonstrates a unique role of the nutrient Nicotinamide Riboside in supporting liver health

Lausanne, October 11, 2019: Nestlé has completed an important study furthering the understanding of the role of the nutrient Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), in helping to maintain a healthy liver. The study recently published in Nature Communications, demonstrates that NR metabolism is critical to protect against diet-induced liver damage. These findings may provide new opportunities for nutritional solutions that work for long-term health maintenance.

NR is a natural precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) found in food and used as a dietary supplement. NAD+ is an important metabolite found in cells that plays a vital role in energy metabolism and help cells be more resilient in the face of metabolic stress. Decreases in intracellular NAD+ levels are a hallmark of metabolic and age-related diseases. NAD+ can be generated from several other precursors, yet it is unclear their individual contribution to the maintenance of NAD+ levels and whether they are functionally redundant and exchangeable.

The study investigated the impact on the liver when its cells lose the ability to use NR showing that a defective NR metabolism triggered the development of diet-induced liver diseases such as fatty liver and steatohepatitis. It concluded that the body’s natural ability to utilize NR is important for maintaining resilience during periods of metabolic stress such as a high-fat diet.


This new study provides additional evidence that NR is physiologically distinct from other NAD precursors and may play a unique role in maintaining cellular health and resiliency in the face of metabolic stress.


Dr Carles Canto, scientist at Nestlé and corresponding author of the study said, “This is the first paper suggesting a functional uniqueness of NR that cannot be mimicked by other precursors. This research highlights the opportunity for the development of dietary supplements and medical food products better tailored to specific states of NAD+ deficiency.”  


In December 2018, Nestlé Health Science entered into a license and supply agreement for NIAGEN® (Nicotinamide Riboside) with ChromaDex Corp., a science-based integrated healthy ageing nutraceutical company, for use in medical nutrition and consumer health products.


“Dr. Canto’s extraordinary preclinical findings demonstrate that NR is unique among other NAD+ precursors in its ability to sustain NAD+ levels during periods of high metabolic stress, such as with a high fat diet,” said Matthew Roberts, ChromaDex Chief Scientific Officer. “This work gives us confidence in NR’s potential to support liver health pending future human research.”



Endogenous nicotinamide riboside metabolism protects against diet induced liver damage (Nature Communications 10, Article Number: 4291. 2019).