A recent study suggests that dietary supplements based on nicotinamide riboside, a derivative of vitamin B3, increase the risk of cancer and seeing it metastasize. What is it really ?
” Some people take vitamins and supplements because they assume they only have health benefits, but very little is known about how they actually work. », said Elena Goun, professor of chemistry at the University of Missouri. With her team, she discovered that supplements made with nicotinamide riboside (NR,) a derivative of vitamin B3, marketed for their benefits on aging, cardiovascular health and the brain, could increase the risk of developing breast cancer. triple-negative breast and seeing it metastasize to the brain.
A dietary supplement that promotes cancer?
Scientists have developed a technique that uses bioluminescence to track uptake of NR by cells both in vitro and live. The more NAD+ cells have taken up, the brighter they appear in microscopic images. The technique developed, Elena Goun’s team tested it on several types of cells: healthy cells, lymphocytes and cancer cells. It turns out that cancer cells absorb much more NR than others. In cells, NR is transformed into NAD+, an important coenzyme involved in many different biochemical reactions, especially in cellular respiration which consists of transforming glucose into ATP, the basic energy unit of cells.
The observation was made on laboratory animals for triple negative breast cancer and its metastases in the brain. According to scientists, taking NAD+ supplements significantly increases the risk of triple-negative breast cancer and brain metastases in some people. ” Not all cancers are the same in all people, especially from a metabolic perspective. Often cancers can change their metabolism before or after chemotherapy “, continues Elena Goun.
In the past, NAD+ had shown interesting abilities against cancer because it increases the activity of cytotoxic T cells which infiltrate tumors to destroy them. NR is sometimes used in patients undergoing chemotherapy to reduce side effects, a practice that could change if the preliminary results of Elena Goun’s team are confirmed in the future.