November 04, 2008
Vitamin B3 Prevents Alzheimer's Memory Loss In Mice
Niacinamide (aka nicotinamide or B3) prevents Alzheimer's disease memory loss in mice.
An over-the-counter vitamin in high doses prevented memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s disease, and UC Irvine scientists now are conducting a clinical trial to determine its effect in humans.
Nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, lowered levels of a protein called phosphorylated tau that leads to the development of tangles, one of two brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The vitamin also strengthened scaffolding along which information travels in brain cells, helping to keep neurons alive and further preventing symptoms in mice genetically wired to develop Alzheimer’s.
“Nicotinamide has a very robust effect on neurons,” said Kim Green, UCI scientist and lead author of the study. “Nicotinamide prevents loss of cognition in mice with Alzheimer’s disease, and the beauty of it is we already are moving forward with a clinical trial.”
Nicotinamide even boosted cognitive abilities in normal mice. Hmmm...
The nicotinamide, in fact, slightly enhanced cognitive abilities in normal mice. “This suggests that not only is it good for Alzheimer’s disease, but if normal people take it, some aspects of their memory might improve,” said LaFerla, UCI neurobiology and behavior professor.
Scientists also found that the nicotinamide-treated animals had dramatically lower levels of the tau protein that leads to the Alzheimer’s tangle lesion. The vitamin did not affect levels of the protein beta amyloid, which clumps in the brain to form plaques, the second type of Alzheimer’s lesion.
Nicotinamide is pretty low toxicity. So it is worth consideration for Alzheimer's sufferers.
Nicotinamide opposes the histone deacetyalase activity of sirtuins, though.
If nicotinamide does work by inhibiting histone deacetylases, as the press release suggests, then so may some other HDAC inhibitors like valproic acid and the readily available curcumin and sulforphane (broccoli, esp. sprouts).
Here is a related very recent press release -
"Valproic Acid May Treat Alzheimer's"
Wait till the Scientologists get hold of this. They believe niacin in high doses detoxifies the system from addictive drugs, IIRC. It has about as much basis in fact as any other religious belief, yet they'll probably attempt to use the information as evidence that it's healthy to take niacin until you get a skin flush reaction (which is ridiculous).
Lou, that's excellent and very interesting information, thanks.
Niacinamide pads are also available for treating acne and are marketed as "Niapads". Niacinamide is fast approaching Vitamin C status as cure-all.
"Niacinamide is fast approaching Vitamin C status as cure-all."
There is no "cure-all" (as I'm sure anyone who posts here knows), and until further studies are done on humans, I'd take this with a grain of salt. Too often people get their hopes up when they read something like this, only to have them dashed when they're faced with the realization that most animal trials produce no new treatments or cures for human diseases.
The real danger of disseminating studies like this on the Net is there will undoubtedly be a lot of healthy people who will reason that if nicotinamide arrests or possibly reverses cognitive decline in mice with AD then taking megadoses of it while healthy should stave off the disease altogether. It can't hurt. After all, nicotinamide has a high therapeutic index so megadosing it must be safe, right? WRONG!