Why I stopped Nicotinamide Riboside, NR, and Why I’m Still a Fan

  • After seven months of using Tru Niagen® NAD+ precursor, I stopped using it.
  • Did I stop because it wasn’t working for me?
  • Did I decide it wasn’t worth it?
  • Had it felt like snake oil?

Nope, none of this. I’d been very happy with the benefits I noticed with this anti aging supplement. Among other things, I was regularly being mistaken for being 15-20 years younger than my true age. Very nice! Of course, my 35+ years of religiously using sunscreen, good skin care, and nutrition were certainly contributing factors to this very encouraging ego lift. And yet I did notice more improvements…right along with other people. And still I stopped because I wished to really feel and see the difference between using it and not using it.

My research confirmed my anecdotal experiences and made me a power user. Per the clinical research, optimal use of Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) is a low, steady drip so as not to trigger an biochemical decrease in NAD+ production. I decided to limit my dosing to the ChromoDex-recommended two 300 mg Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride capsules per day. This was already a sizeable monthly investment. Others, in the human potential-verse, are dosing NAD+ precursor 1,200+ mg daily in multiple doses. This is not sustainable for the average person. Using the two capsule investment as my baseline, what could I get from this initial threshold of wonder.

Barriers to Measuring My Gains

I hadn’t measured my NAD+ levels during this time. How exactly do I do this?
According to Cherí Thomas, Consumer Interaction Specialist at ChromoDex, “Optimal NAD+ levels in humans haven’t yet been established as this research has really only just begun.” When I asked Cherí about getting my NAD+ levels tested she said, “While some scientists have developed methods to measure NAD levels for research, they have not yet translated these measurements from the laboratory bench to the clinic. At some point in the future, we expect the analytical method to be standardized so that NAD analysis can be introduced into clinical laboratory use. More work will be needed to bring this exciting technology to the bedside where it is informative for patients and their healthcare providers.”

Without testing I wondered how much of my improvements could be attributed to the placebo effect. I trust my own experiences, but I also acknowledge my blind spots. Researchers know they have bias, building controls and peer-review into good science. Anecdotal benefits are highly subjective. And of course, there’s the implicit bias of what’s focal is causal. As I mentioned before, I didn’t find the cost easily absorbed each monthly. It was a dedicated investment. In fact, Tru Niagen®’s cost was one of the ranking factors I used that resulted in me giving it an overall 3.5 star review.

How Much Can Be Observed?

Since I’ve strictly using my own anecdotal evidence, a tricky measure if ever there was one, I remembered this story.

Many years ago, when I was a practicing esthetician, I attended a class taught by an industry great, Rebecca James Gadberry. She was speaking about skin care products and the measurable increase in skin firmness certain ingredients can produce in the skin. She brought to our attention that laboratory gains don’t always translate into consumer satisfaction.

In clinical trials, even if a specific ingredient produced a measurable increase in skin firmness, consumers will not notice this improvement until it has surpassed the 35% increase in firmness threshold. Lesser amounts of firmness are of course measurable, but not perceptible. To get consumer happiness, a threshold of performance must be 35% increase or better. And then it will show in photos, be noticed in the mirror, and garner compliments from others.

Despite these apparent good results, I went off of NR.

That was four months ago.

Six days ago I started right back up, again at two capsules a day, and I am already noticing one of the more enjoyable benefits; my libido has kicked back up and I have more energy.

Surpassing This Threshold Got My Attention

Anecdotally, I must have noticed a minimum 35% increase in my skin’s firmness, tone, and my overall physiological vigor during my initial seven months of use. Subtle gains accumulate daily, becoming the new baseline even before you’ve realized it.

I’m going with this.

Without NR in the last four months, I’ve felt myself slipping backwards in my energy levels, my ability to maximize my good days when the work injury wasn’t at its peak, to sleep better, and feel more mentally alert. All of these changes took time took time to become noticeable.

I Lost This, So Must Have Gained That

I also noticed my skin starting to have enlarged pores and a rough, grainy texture. Because of my professional skin care background, I look at myself under a microscope with a highly-detailed eye. What I see others usually don’t, but I noticed this. Then I recalled having this same, sad epiphany back in my late 30s. I’d forgotten about this, so it must have been out of sight, out of mind. But now…my skin was looking rough and grainy, again.

FYI: This grainy texture is of due to the deeper levels of the skin losing strength and structure. This can be the result of age-related responses, such as reduced blood supply, changing hormonal influences, toxic chemical exposure, increased stress hormones, and a wide variety of oxidative damage. This all results in lost density of the deep, supporting connective tissue of the skin, reduced collagen and elastin production cross-linking of collagen, reduced protein synthesis, DNA damage, shortened telomeres, and a vast array of reduced biochemical homeostasis.This results in loss of skin tone. And it’s this loss of skin tone that allows the pores to hang open, appearing enlarged and grainy.

I hadn’t realized how much of this I’d gotten rid of until it returned. Augh!

I also noticed my hair being less dense. Now, I’ve had some issues with my hair being thin on top as I’ve inherited my father’s androgenetic alopecia. It also happens for many women after 40s, and I’m one of them. However, I’d had a good, sustained hair regrowth using NR and the Red Light Therapy together. I’d been optimizing NAD by also using Red Light Therapy.
Even stopping NR sue, I’ve continued using Red Light Therapy, in the biologically active wavelengths of 660 nm and 850 nm. In fact, I am convinced that when used together, I optimized my NR and Red / NIR Light therapy (photobiomodulation). They have a shared mechanism of action and it’s in the mitochondria of your cells. I wrote an article about how to optimize these ideal complementary companion therapies and you can read my article here.

Did I lose weight while using NR?

I can’t say that I saw weight loss when I using NAD, but I have an unusual situation. You see, I’ve been dealing with a serious work injury for over three years. This under-treated work injury has progressed into a pain syndrome and has changed my life. It has profoundly impacted my ability to move around normally, even landing me in bed for days at a time. As a result of this, I’ve had a very sedentary life and I’ve gained 12 lbs in the last three years. Nothing changed while I was on the NR, nor since I’ve been off of it.

I’m back to NAD+ best practices as I move forward on this optimal aging experiment. I’ll keep you updated as I move forward, and yes, I’ve taken baseline photos…again.

If you’re interested, this is how I will try and validate if Tru Niagen is working for me once and for all.