Researchers in Norway have published the results of a pilot clinical study that explored the use of nicotinamide riboside in people with Parkinson’s. The data indicates that the treatment increased energy levels in the brain and reduced levels of inflammation – two key target areas associated with Parkinson’s.

Nicotinamide riboside is a different form of the vitamin B3, and it is used by cells in the body to make a molecule called NAD+ which is an important component of many biological processes. NAD+ declines as we get older and this is thought to impact on our mitochondria, the power packs in cells that turn food and oxygen into energy; stressed or damaged mitochondria are believed to play a role in Parkinson’s.

Research in preclinical models of Parkinson’s has demonstrated that treatment with nicotinamide riboside can have protective effects on the brain. Based on these findings, researchers in Norway initiated a small pilot clinical trial, the NADPARK study, to evaluate the biochemical effects of nicotinamide riboside in people with Parkinson’s; 30 patients were randomly assigned either nicotinamide riboside, or a placebo that had no active properties, daily for 30 days.

The investigators found that nicotinamide riboside treatment was well-tolerated and led to a significant increase of NAD+ levels and a reduction in inflammation markers, measured by brain imaging and blood samples.

Given these encouraging results, the Norwegian researchers are now conducting a much larger clinical trial, the NOPARK study, which involves 400 participants being treated with nicotinamide riboside or a placebo for one year. The results of this study are expected in 2024.

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