Form of Vitamin B3 May Help Manage Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers estimate that more than 10 million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease, making it the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Medications, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery are used to manage symptoms through the disease’s stages.

Over the past few years, researchers have also looked at nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) — an important molecule that helps the body create energy — as a possible treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Previous research suggests people with Parkinson’s may have a NAD+ deficiency, and increasing NAD+ levels may have a positive effect.

Now, a phase 1 clinical trial has found that a high dose supplementation of nicotinamide riboside (NR) — a source of vitamin B3 and precursor to NAD+ — increased whole blood NAD+ levels and expanded the NAD+ metabolome in people with Parkinson’s disease, and may be associated with clinical symptomatic improvement for those with the condition.

The research is still in its early stages, and it remains to be conclusively proven that NR supplementation can improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

This study was part of the ChromaDex External Research Program (CERP™), which donated ChromaDex’s patented NR ingredient, Niagen®, for the advancement of this research.

The phase 1 clinical trial included 20 study participants with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Participants received either 3,000 milligrams (mg) of NR in oral supplement form, or a placebo each day for 4 consecutive weeks.

Researchers found that NR significantly increased NAD+ levels and modified the NAD+ metabolome in whole blood, compared to those who received the placebo.

The study also reportedly found the high-dose NR was safe and well-tolerated by study participants, and was associated with a significant improvement of clinical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, measured by the Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS), suggesting augmenting NAD+ levels may have a symptomatic anti-Parkinson’s effect.


Berven, H., Kverneng, S., Sheard, E. et al. NR-SAFE: a randomized, double-blind safety trial of high dose nicotinamide riboside in Parkinson’s disease. Nat Commun 14, 7793 (2023).

Nature Communications. (2023). Form of vitamin B3 may help manage Parkinson’s disease. MedicalNewsToday. Retrieved December 21, 2023 from 

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels: