bottle of tru niagen supplement on textured background

Tru Niagen: Anti-Aging Powerhouse or Snake Oil? Dietitians Weigh In

It may help promote healthy aging processes and ward off adverse anti-aging side effects.

You may have seen Tru Niagen in your search for longevity-enhancing supplements. But what is it, and is it really the wonder supplement it claims to be? Tru Niagen is a dietary supplement that’s recently risen in popularity for its potential anti-aging benefits. Its key ingredient and active agent is nicotinamide riboside (often abbreviated as NR), which is a form of vitamin B3, or niacin, which supports overall health and well-being, cellular energy production, and potentially even longevity.
Tru Niagen is most associated with the ability to increase the body’s levels of the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, also known as NAD+, which in turn may help slow aging processes and delay the progression of age-related diseases (1).

Maintaining higher NAD+ levels in the body has the potential to help better regulate cellular and metabolic processes, including cellular function and repair, healthy aging and metabolic stress, cellular energy and overall energy production, mitochondrial functions, and more.

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What Does Tru Niagen Do for Your Body?

“When you take Tru Niagen, the nicotinamide riboside (NR) is absorbed by the body and cells, and is then converted into nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and further into NAD+, as a conversion carried out by specific enzymes in the body,” says registered dietitian Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD.

By boosting NAD+ levels, Tru Niagen may assist in the performance of various cellular processes. NAD+ also maintains the integrity of genetic material within cells and assists in repairing damaged DNA strands, which is needed to prevent mutations and maintain cellular functions and health, and also optimize cellular repair, Best notes. Thus, higher NAD+ levels may help to enhance DNA repair, protect cells from damage, and promote longevity.

“Research suggests that high NAD+ levels may also improve metabolic health by influencing processes such as glucose regulation, mitochondrial function, and fat metabolism,” Best adds.

What Are the Benefits of Taking Tru Niagen?

  • Supports a healthy aging process
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Improves brain function
  • Aids metabolic stress management
  • Improves muscle performance and mitochondrial function
  • Promotes cellular function, energy production, and DNA repair

Supports a healthy aging process

“Supplementing with Tru Niagen supports heart, brain, muscle, cellular energy production and repair, and lifestyle stress management, and is backed by over 25 human clinical studies about its involvement in cardiovascular health and muscle health,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club and The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook.

A 2017 study published in the journal PLoS One found benefits of NR intake to increase NAD+ levels (2) in relation to health factors, including muscle function, inflammation, and metabolism, among others. Still, more research is needed to support how Tru Niagen, NR, and NAD+ may positively impact healthspan, energy production, and cellular function.

Tru Niagen’s active agent, NR, is what makes such claims so promising. “NR can easily pass through the cell membrane and facilitate NAD+ production more efficiently than any other NAD+ supplement or precursor, and is clinically proven to significantly increase NAD+ levels in as little as two weeks and maintain elevated levels over time with ongoing supplementation,” says Harris-Pincus, based on results from a 2019 study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
And, since Tru Niagen benefits NAD+ levels and energy production in cells, Best suggests, “It may result in improved vitality and reduced fatigue as cells become more efficient at converting nutrients into energy—a benefit that may be particularly appealing to people who want to combat fatigue with increased energy production or improve physical performance during workouts.”

Supports cardiovascular & brain health

There’s also a cognitive component of Tru Niagen to consider. “NAD+ is involved in neuronal function and has been linked to cognitive health, so you may take Tru Niagen hoping to support brain function and potentially reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, which progressively become a concern as a result of the aging process,” Best says.

Research, such as a 2022 study published in the journal Aging Cell, found NAD+ to play a key role in the way neurons adapt to a range of physiological stressors and support processes associated with brain health, which is why NAD+ levels contribute to healthy brain aging.

And, like other vital organs, your heart needs NAD+, too.
“Every cell in your heart needs NAD+ for energy, and past the age of 30, NAD+ levels begin to decline steeply, which is why studies suggest increasing NAD+ levels to support a healthy heart as you age,” Harris-Pincus adds.

Thus, a lack of NAD+ may increase the risk of age-related cardiovascular disease and brain disease. NAD+ may also offer anti-aging and longevity benefits, but further research on humans is needed to fully support Tru Niagen’s claims. Yet, there’s potential based on studies conducted on animals that indicate lifespan extension, Best notes.

Why Should You Supplement With Tru Niagen?

We naturally lose NAD+ supply in our bodies as we age. “You may be in good health on the surface, but as less NAD+ is available, cells become increasingly at risk of being compromised, and when there isn’t enough NAD+ to meet the needs of cells, signs of aging begin to develop on a deep cellular level,” Harris-Pincus explains.

Every cell in your heart needs NAD+ for energy, and past the age of 30, NAD+ levels begin to decline steeply.

How Long Does It Take for Tru Niagen to Start Working?

Tru Niagen benefits may vary based on individual and personal factors, such as baseline NAD+ levels, overall health, specific health goals, level of dosage, and intake consistency. “Maintain regular, consistent supplementation based on recommended dosage in hopes to see desired benefits, and be patient, to be able to assess the full impact of the supplement, while working with a healthcare professional to offer insights as to what to expect,” Best says.

However, with consistent daily supplementation, research has found an ability to dramatically boost NAD+ levels relatively soon. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Scientific Results, results may appear after two weeks of niagen supplementation, as long as you’re consistent with your dosing routine.

When studying a 300mg daily dosage, one study found it will take approximately eight weeks of daily intake of Tru Niagen to reach a new baseline in levels of NAD+, for about a 40 to 50 percent increase in NAD+ levels when compared to starting supplementation.

Depending on daily stressors and general lifestyle habits you face when first starting, you could have different effects and results. “Whether you notice changes or not, you’ve replenished much of what years of time and stress have stolen from your body’s cells, which is a great thing, and it matters,” Harris-Pincus says.

You may want to add more Tru Niagen based on your body’s response and flexibility with your budget. “The brand recommends starting at 300mg and increasing from there, and it’s safe to consume up to 2,000mg/day of Tru Niagen,” Harris-Pincus says. Always consult your healthcare provider first before increasing your dosage, though.

Can You Take Tru Niagen With Other Supplements?

Supplementation with precursors, or building blocks of NAD+, is great for increasing NAD+ levels. “Although a common misconception, the best way to elevate NAD+ is not by supplementing with NAD+ directly, but rather through NAD+ precursors,” Harris-Pincus says. Precursors can include forms of vitamin B3 (niacin and nicotinamide), nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), as well as tryptophan, which are all known for increasing NAD+ levels and lending support.

While you can take Tru Niagen with supplements, it’s important to speak to a primary care doctor to make sure there aren’t risks based on your individual needs, health concerns, or medications.

“This precaution is essential because some supplements can interact with one another, which can potentially affect absorption or effectiveness,” Best says.

Is Tru Niagen Just Vitamin B3?

Not exactly. There is a difference between Tru Niagen and Vitamin B3. “Vitamin B3 refers to several naturally occurring molecules including niacin (NA), niacinamide (NAM), and nicotinamide riboside (NR), and while you can get some Vitamin B3 through diet in forms of foods including milk, fruits, and vegetables, you’re not able to consume enough naturally to effectively increase NAD+ levels,” Harris-Pincus says.

For instance, one dose of Tru Niagen (a 300mg capsule) is equivalent to 66.6 gallons of milk. Clearly, that’s not realistic for any man, so it’s best to take a high-quality Tru Niagen supplement and any other anti-aging supplements as a complement to a healthy diet to maximize Tru Niagen benefits and effectively increase and maintain NAD+ levels.

Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a relatively newer form of vitamin B3, and while it does contain a form of vitamin B3, it is primarily valued for its ability to boost NAD+ levels by converting nicotinamide riboside to NAD+. “This action on NAD+ is distinct from the typical roles associated with niacin (such as its effects on cholesterol levels) and is one of the key reasons why Tru Niagen and NR supplements may be used for this type of need or function,” Best says.

What Are the Risks of Taking Tru Niagen?

Tru Niagen is generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended dosages. Yet, there are some potential risks or considerations to note, and if you experience any adverse side effects from supplements, cease use and speak to your physician. “Some individuals may experience mild side effects and digestive discomfort, such as nausea or diarrhea, although the risks and these effects are relatively rare,” Best says.

Tru Niagen’s active agent has been shown to lead to fewer instances of unwanted side effects. “NR, patented as the sole active ingredient in Tru Niagen, has been shown to be a more efficient and superior precursor over NMN and NAD+ itself and may offer fewer side effects, and other additional benefits when compared to other precursors,” Harris-Pincus notes.

Still, one thing to keep in mind regarding safety is possible drawbacks to long-term consumption, or high doses exceeding FDA recommendations or those advised by your doctor. “Long-term use and taking high doses hasn’t been extensively studied, so caution is advised,” Best says. Responsible use and consulting with your physician regularly should be sufficient to avoid any risks or hazards.

Is Tru Niagen Really Worth It?

Whether any dietary supplement is “worth it” depends on personal factors, including health goals and conditions, use of other medications, and budget matters. However, since NAD+ levels decrease with age, keeping them elevated with Tru Niagen could be wise.

“If you want to support energy levels and cellular health, and perhaps improve longevity, and you’ve discussed it with a healthcare provider, it may align with your health goals,” Best says.

While there’s scientific interest in and some available research to support a need for high NAD+ levels, it’s a topic that’s still evolving. “Some benefits are supported by animal studies and limited human trials, and so more extensive research is needed to confirm long-term effects in humans,” Best explains.

Ultimately, you should first assess whether there are other or more established ways to achieve health goals and support a healthy aging process. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle habits such as adequate sleep and lower stress levels, can be impactful and cost-effective methods of promoting healthy aging.