New Ingredient Backed by Scientific Evidence May Have Wide Appeal as a Dietary Supplement and Food Additive
The demand for anti-aging products among baby boomers is almost insatiable, and there is no shortage of companies looking to meet that demand. Whether it is cosmetic surgery, facial injections, supplements or newly touted concoctions, Americans will buy almost anything that promises to restore youth, vitality, physique and energy.
Many of the supplements and nutraceuticals that promise dramatic anti-aging and health benefits fail to deliver anything short of subtle results at best. Few, if any, can deliver on the promise of anti-aging benefits through a "beauty from within" concept.
There is, however, a genuinely innovative ingredient that has the promise to deliver pronounced results without invasive procedures or significant expense. It is NIAGEN™ from ChromaDex (OTCQB: CDXC), which was introduced this month as the first and only commercially available form of nicotinamide riboside. Also called NR, nicotinamide riboside is a metabolic booster found in milk and whey. Often referred to as a "miracle molecule", NR shows promise in research studies to help address many of the symptoms associated with aging and health care in general: obesity, cholesterol, muscle loss, energy decline, insulin sensitivity and more.
NR is a more potent form of the more commonly known vitamin B3 - niacin. It is an important part of the cellular metabolism of humans, improving the way cells use energy. On a cellular level, NR is used to create what is called the NAD+ coenzyme - nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide - a key part of a number of vital metabolic processes. NAD+ plays a key role in the way your mitochondria function. Mitochondria are known as the "energy powerhouses of the cell" because they are the source for most cellular chemical energy. But they are also involved with other tasks such as cell death, cell growth and control of the cycle of cell division. Research indicates that NR could be used as a nutritional supplement to improve metabolic and age-related disorders characterized by defective mitochondrial function.
You don't have to be a biologist to recognize that each of these functions may have something meaningful to do with the way we age as individuals and how our bodies change over time. The first and only commercially available source of NR, NIAGEN™ may help promote improved mitochondrial function, generating health benefits that are broad and meaningful.
In fact, studies lend a considerable degree of scholarly support to this concept. In 2007, for example, a trio of scholars from the Dartmouth Medical School's Department of Genetics and Biology performed a survey of the state of knowledge surrounding NAD+1 and found that higher levels of cellular NAD+ may offer a host of benefits. Some of these may include potentially positive cell protective and metabolic effects, enhanced cardiovascular health, more appropriate glucose levels and improved cognitive function.
Remarkably, that report came out only three years after NR was first discovered. In that time, interest among researchers in the potential of NR as a contributor to life extension has only grown. Some of the more compelling recent published findings include:
- Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland reported in the June 2012 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism that high doses of NR prevented obesity in mice that were fed a fatty diet. The same study also found that higher levels of NAD+ increased muscle performance, improved energy expenditure and prevented diabetes development, all without side effects.2
- A June 2013 study from Neurobiology of Aging reported that dietary treatment with NR might benefit the cognitive function of patients suffering with Alzheimer's Disease, and that as a supplement, NR may help reduce the presence of certain Alzheimer's-associated toxins in the brain.3
- A study in PLoS Biology from 2012 suggested that increasing NAD+ reduced the muscular degradation associated with Muscular Dystrophy in zebrafish - a species that is commonly used in early testing of medications, supplements and related products that may hold promise as treatments in humans. The authors noted that, "Taken together, these results define a novel cell adhesion pathway that may have future therapeutic relevance for a broad spectrum of muscular dystrophies."4
- A 2009 study in Current Pharmaceutical Design by researchers from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Utah School of Medicine reported that NAD+ therapy may prove beneficial in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The authors identify NR in particular as being "of potentially great clinical therapeutic significance" because it is "the only NAD+ precursor capable of providing NAD+ directly to neurons."5
As intriguing as these studies may be, they are only part of the growing body of research which suggests that NR may truly deserve that "miracle molecule" nickname. A number of new studies on NR are being conducted right now to advance the state of knowledge.
Now that NIAGEN™ has been launched, ChromaDex is hopeful the ingredient will be incorporated by consumer product companies both as a dietary supplement as well as a food additive.
The company expects little in the way of direct competition as it has been busy over the past two years acquiring a number of the important patents relating to NR - so much to the extent that ChromaDex now "believes its patent rights create a significant and meaningful barrier to entry for would-be competitors in the NR market". Investors should assume that these patent rights to NR will be an important advantage for ChromaDex as the consumer marketplace learns more about the myriad of the potential health benefits of NR.
Already, ChromaDex has entered into business relationships that are bringing NIAGEN™ to market and promoting its potential as a supplement. High Performance Nutrition recently announced the launch of N(NYSE:R)™, a daily supplement that features NIAGEN™ as its key ingredient to provide neuroprotection and help protect against axon degeneration caused by mechanical or neurological injury, with particular applications in contact sports where concussions and head trauma is common. Given all of the heightened concerns about concussions in the wake of former NFL player Junior Seau's death, the neuroprotection benefit of NR may become quite relevant.
With the newly-launched NIAGEN™ as one of its lead ingredients, ChromaDex will be attractively positioned to perform well in a biotech sector that has already been on an upswing. This past April, in fact, Barron's magazine welcomed in what they referred to as "the golden age of R&D," reporting on the biotech sector's 111% gain over the past two years. Smaller companies like Neptune Technologies and Bioresources (NASDAQ: NEPT), which offers a brand of krill oil that it claims may help lower cholesterol levels while improving brain and joint functioning, are poised to take advantage of growing interest. Others, such as Martek - recently purchased by DSM (OTC: RDSMY) for $1.1 billion on the strength of its line of omega-3 and omega-6 additives - have already reaped the rewards of investor attention.
ChromaDex, with a unique business strategy designed to maximize the value of its innovative ingredient portfolio, may be a particularly attractive target for investors. Once ChromaDex has acquired relevant intellectual property rights to an ingredient, like it has with NIAGEN™, it begins commercial production and branding around specific marketing channels. The company then enters into distribution, licensing and partnering agreements designed to generate ongoing revenue and it performs clinical trials to prove efficacy. Whereas the Company has a number of compelling patented ingredients in its product portfolio, none may have the potential to drive shareholder value like NIAGEN™ nicotinamide riboside. Investors should keep a watchful eye on future developments regarding NIAGEN™.
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ABOUT CHROMADEX® (OTCQB: CDXC)
ChromaDex® is an innovative natural products company that discovers, acquires, develops and commercializes proprietary-based ingredient technologies through its unique business model which utilizes its wholly-owned synergistic business units, including ingredient technologies, natural product fine chemicals (known as "phytochemicals"), chemistry and analytical testing services, and product regulatory and safety consulting (as Spherix Consulting). The Company provides seamless science-based solutions to the dietary supplement, food & beverage, animal health, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. To learn more about ChromaDex please visit http://www.chromadex.com/.
1Belenky P. et al. "Nad+ Metabolism in Health and Disease." TRENDS in Biochemical Sciences Vol.32 No.1.
2Canto, C. et al. "The NAD+ Precursor Nicotinamide Riboside Enhances Oxidative Metabolism and Protects against High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity." Cell Metabolism 15, 838-847, June 6, 2012.
3Gong, B. et al. "Nicotinamide riboside restores cognition through an upregulation of proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1α regulated β-secretase 1 degradation and mitochondrial gene expression in Alzheimer's mouse models." Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Jun;34(6):1581-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.12.005. Epub 2013 Jan 9.
4Goody, MF. et al. "NAD+ biosynthesis ameliorates a zebrafish model of muscular dystrophy." PLoS Biol. 2012;10(10):e1001409. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001409. Epub 2012 Oct 23.
5Penberthy, W.T., Tsunoda, I. "The Importance of NAD in Multiple Sclerosis." Curr Pharm Des. 2009 ; 15(1): 64-99.
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