NAD+ metabolism

Targeting the NAD+ metabolism

Our western society is characterized by an increase in the prevalence of obesity, which is accompanied by an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, obesity and aging have been correlated with lower muscle mitochondrial function.

Mitochondria are essential organelles in all the cells of our body, and are responsible for proper energy metabolism. Within the mitochondria, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an enzymatic co-factor that is essential for the function of several enzymes, especially sirtuins (e.g. SIRT1); the key regulators in energy metabolism and mitochondrial function. A considerable amount of evidence suggests that supplementing the diet with NAD+-precursors is an effective way to increase cellular NAD+ levels. Interestingly, it has also been shown that aging is associated with reduced intracellular NAD+ levels in skeletal muscle. Therefore, targeting mitochondrial function with a nutritional compound, such as NAD+-precursors, can be a promising and feasible strategy to not only improve metabolic health, but also improve age-related decline in muscle strength and functioning.

Examples of naturally occuring NAD+-precursors are tryptophan (an essential amino-acid) and vitamin B3 compounds (nicotinamide riboside (NR), nicotinic acid (NA), and nicotinamide (NAM)).


Project 1:

Nicotinamide riboside supplementation to improve metabolic health in healthy obese humans.

The aim of current research project is to investigate whether NR supplementation will improve metabolic health in healthy overweight and obese humans. Outcomes related to insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular risk, energy metabolism and mitochondrial function will be investigated.

This project is financed by a grant from CardioVascular Research Netherlands (CVON).

PhD-student: Carlijn Remie


Project 2:

The effects of NAD+-precursor supplementation on energy metabolism in physically compromised elderly

This research project aims to determine whether supplementing with a mixture of the NAD+-precursors NA, NAM, and tryptophan can stimulate skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in physically compromised, elderly humans. Outcomes related to mitochondrial function, energy metabolism, and physical function will be investigated.

This project is financed by a partnership between the Top Institute for Food and Nutrition (TIFN) and the Netherlands Scientific Organization (NWO).

PhD-student: Niels Connell