Niacin and Alzheimer's Disease

July 15, 2004

Researchers from the Rush Institute for Health Aging in Chicago studied local residents 65 years of age and older for more than 5.5 years. The older adults who got the least Niacin (a form of vitamin B3) were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who got healthy amounts. Those who got the most Niacin from their diets had a much slower mental decline than those who got the least. The study is published in the August issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Niacin is found in many foods including:

Niacin is converted into NAD and NADP, two coenzymes needed to convert carbohydrates, protein, and Fat into energy. Excessive amounts of Niacin supplementation can cause an elevation of liver enzymes, and the timed-release form of Niacin can actually be toxic to the liver - this is not true with Niacinamide, the other form of vitamin B3.

Elite Athletes May have Enlarged hearts

A recent study from France shows that over 50% of professional cyclists have enlarged hearts. This may have implications for screening elite athletes for heart conditions. Approximately 12% of the cyclists had such a great enlargement of the left ventricle that it could actually effect heart function. The study appears in the July 7th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Resveratrol May Extend Maximal Lifespan

Restricting how much you eat throughout your life may extend your lifespan. Research has shown this to be true in primates and other life forms. However, restricting calories in dogs and monkeys often made them lethargic and infertile. This new study adds to existing evidence that Resveratrol, the ingredient that makes red wine a healthy drink, mimics caloric restriction and may extend life beyond a normal span. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School says that taking a pill of Resveratrol may have the same benefits of strict dieting giving people a longer, and healthier life. Sir-2 molecules are involved in the anti-aging effects of lifelong calorie restriction through strict dieting. These Sir-2 molecules are found in creatures ranging from bacteria (including yeast) to humans. A prior study shows that Resveratrol greatly extended the life of yeast cultures. In the current study Resveratrol was given to fruit flies and worms that share the Sir-2 molecules with humans. Resveratrol made these animals healthier and they lived longer no matter how much they ate. The study appears in the July 15th issue of Nature.