Nicotinamide riboside—A missing piece in the puzzle of exercise therapy for older adults?

Carlo Custodero, Sunil K. Saini, Myung J. Shin, Yun K. Jeon, Demetra D. Christou, Mary M. McDermott, Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Stephen D. Anton, Robert T. Mankowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Maintaining physical mobility is important for preventing age-related comorbidities in older adults. Endurance and resistance training prevent mobility loss in aging, but exercise alone does not always achieve the expected improvements in physical and cardiopulmonary function. Recent preclinical evidence suggests that a reason for the variability in exercise training responses may be the age-related dysregulation of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) metabolome. NAD+ is an essential enzymatic cofactor in energetic and signaling pathways. Endogenous NAD+ pool is lower in several chronic and degenerative diseases (e.g., cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, muscular dystrophies), and also in aging. Exercise requires a higher energy expenditure than a resting state, thus a state of NAD+ insufficiency with reduced energy metabolism, could result in an inadequate exercise response. Recently, the NAD+ precursor nicotinamide riboside (NR), a vitamin B3 derivate, showed an ability to improve NAD+ metabolome homeostasis, restoring energy metabolism and cellular function in various organs in animals. NR has also been tested in older humans and is considered safe, but the effects of NR supplementation alone on physical performance are unclear. The purpose of this review is to examine the preclinical and clinical evidence on the effect of NR supplementation strategies alone and in combination with physical activity on mobility and skeletal muscle and cardiovascular function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110972
JournalExperimental Gerontology
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Cardiovascular function
  • Exercise training
  • NAD+ metabolome
  • Nicotinamide riboside
  • Older adults
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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