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    Scientists discover that Vitamin B3 has a positive effect on Parkinson’s disease

Scientists discover that Vitamin B3 has a positive effect on Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. Around 140,000 people in the UK and nearly one million in the US suffer from Parkinson’s, but there is currently no cure.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. Around 140,000 people in the UK and nearly one million in the US suffer from Parkinson’s, but there is currently no cure.

There is now fresh hope for Parkinson’s patients, as scientists discover taking Vitamin B3 can help to stop nerve cells from dying. In what has been described as a potential ‘starting point’ for treatment, the study found that introducing Vitamin B3 restored cell’s mitochondria and could help restore function in nerve cells in people with Parkinson’s.

The study involved skin cell samples being taken from Parkinson’s disease patients and turned into nerve cells. The cells contained the GBA gene which is found in people with the Parkinsons. GBA causes slowness of movement, muscle stiffness, sleep disturbance, tremors, chronic fatigue. It can lead to an impaired quality of life and can cause severe disability.

The researchers, led by Dr Michela Deleidi, found the mitochondria in the cells taken from Parkinson’s disease patients did not function properly and produced less energy than normal cells – so they sought to stimulate the formation of new mitochondria.

The coenzyme NAD plays an important role in mitochondrial function and energy production. They ‘fed’ the cells nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3 and a precursor of NAD. This resulted in a rise in the concentration of NAD in the cells, and subsequently the nerve cells’ energy improved considerably, new mitochondria formed and energy production rose.

Following this they decided to feed flies with the nicotinamide riboside to observe the effects in an actual living organism. They observed that the flies that were fed with the vitamin were able to stave off the effects of Parkinson’s longer and showed that fewer nerve cells died.

“Our results suggest that the loss of mitochondria does indeed play a significant role in the genesis of Parkinson’s disease,” Deleidi commented. “Administering nicotinamide riboside may be a new starting-point for treatment.”

While further studies are needed to determine whether the vitamin can be of real help for patients with Parkinson’s disease, the research is a sign of hope for patients.

These findings build upon previous experiments which have already proven how important niacin – another form of vitamin B3 – is for keeping our brain cells healthy and working properly.

Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died. The researchers are planning to test the effects of nicotinamide riboside on patients further.

NAD+ is found in every cell in the body which helps manage aging process, repairs damaged DNA, helps us fight illnesses and allows cells to metabolize food. This study strengthens the potential for Vitamin B3 and NAD+ in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

While there is no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease at present, hundreds of scientific trials such as this one are underway to try and change that.

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