Parkinson's disease: NR, a form of vitamin B3, may help with symptoms

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
doctor in blue scrubs faces older patient sitting on hospital bedShare on Pinterest

Clinical trial finds that NR supplementation could lead to clinical improvements in Parkinson’s. Image credit: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images.
  • More than 10 million people globally have Parkinson’s disease.
  • There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease.
  • For a few years, researchers have been looking at the energy molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) as a possible treatment for the condition.
  • A phase 1 clinical trial has found a high dose supplementation of NR, a form of vitamin B3, helps increase NAD+ levels in people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • The NR supplementation may be associated with clinical symptom improvement of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers estimate that more than 10 million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease, making it the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Medications, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery are used to manage symptoms through the disease’s stages.

Over the past few years, researchers have also looked at nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) — an important molecule that helps the body create energy — as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Previous research suggests people with Parkinson’s may have a Health">NAD+ deficiency, and Health">increasing NAD+ levels may have a positive effect.

Now, a phase 1 clinical trial has found that a high dose supplementation of Health">nicotinamide riboside (NR) — a source of vitamin B3 and precursor to NAD+ — increased whole blood NAD+ levels and expanded the Health">NAD+ metabolome in people with Parkinson’s disease, and may be associated with clinical symptomatic improvement for those with the condition.

The study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

After reviewing this study, Dr. Rocco DiPaola, movement disorders neurologist at the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, told MNT his first reaction is that it offers a potential treatment that may help slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

“There [are] currently no treatments that offer neuroprotection and this would be a treatment that may help prevent some of the long-term complications related to advancing disease. The current study was on a small scale and short duration to demonstrate safety. A large-scale trial with [a] longer duration of treatment would be necessary to further demonstrate safety and a neuroprotective benefit.”

– Dr. Rocco DiPaola

Dr. Truong agreed, noting that “[the findings are promising, but this is just one study, and its results need to be replicated and expanded upon in larger and longer-term trials, especially double-blind studies.”

“I am intrigued by the mechanism of action proposed in the study, namely the increase in NAD+ levels and its potential neuroprotective effects,” he continued. “They would be interested in how this could be integrated into current treatment protocols for Parkinson’s disease, considering the safety profile and patient tolerance.”

“Given the current status of treating Parkinson’s disease, any potential new therapeutic avenue is of interest,” Dr. Truong added. “The idea of a supplement that could improve clinical symptoms and potentially slow disease progression is particularly appealing.”

Share this Article