Posted on Feb 11, 2019, 7 p.m.
Kaiser Health News recently reported on David Sinclair from Harvard University who is taking his own research product: a supplement boosting nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide which is a cofactor found in all living cells.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is involved with enzymes that let cells release energy via mitochondria, with age NAD levels decrease, as does mitochondrial function; NAD is also involved in DNA repair and other biochemical functions.
Compounds that boost NAD are under examination for a range of ailments including aging itself. There are financial incentives to these supplements, which can retail for about $60 a bottle. David Sinclair is listed as a founder, investor, equity holder, or board member of 28 companies, of which at least 18 are involved in anti-aging. One of these is MetroBiotech who has a filed patent related to nicotinamide mononucleotide.
The brain is energy dependent, when mitochondria age and stop using fuel such as ATP they are believed to become vulnerable. Microglial cells are specialized immune cells found in the central nervous system that remove damaged cells and debris to maintain CNS health, as well as fight infections and react to neuronal cells death by triggering inflammation which leads to neuronal cell death via friendly fire.
Increasing levels of ATP in microglial cells can help the cells to do a better job of clearing beta-amyloids and mutant cells versions carrying TREM2 Alzheimer’s genes, with results being less likely to become neuroinflammatory. With age we have less cellular energy which has much to do with mitochondria and ATP, NAD levels drop with age, if supplemented levels increase which starts to restore cellular energy which has implications with neurocellular resilience and Alzheimer’s disease.
Designing human clinical trials after preclinical animal studies are not the same, and are different that trying it on yourself as Sinclair has been doing. It is not that enthusiasm is wrong or misplaced, and it goes without saying there are incentives to saying they are doing great things for him. However human metabolism is different than that of rodents, and human life is not like a mouse in a cage, what is theoretically possible remains unproven in humans, and is not ready yet for sale, according to Felipe Sierra of NIH.
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