The Vitamin that May Stop Brain Cell Death in Parkinson’s Disease

A vitamin that stops brain cell death? It sounds too good to be true but scientists are telling us that the key to stopping the progression of brain diseases like Parkinson’s may be found in a readily-available and affordable vitamin.

That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the medical journal Cell Reports. According to the study, researchers found that a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside preserved brain cells, which are also known as neurons, by improving the function of their energy centers—called mitochondria. Having strong and healthy cellular energy centers is critical for great health, so it’s no surprise that anything that can help ensure the health of the mitochondria in brain cells can help prevent the progression of brain diseases.

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. The condition develops gradually and usually starts with barely noticeable tremors in one hand. Tremors are the most known sign of the disease, but the condition also causes stiffness or slowing of movement, lack of expression and slurred speed. While there is no known cure for the disease, diet and lifestyle may help slow the condition and improve quality of life for suffers.

Well-known actor Michael J. Fox, the most notable sufferer of the condition, has used his celebrity status to help raise awareness of the disease and to start the Michael J. Fox Foundation which funds research to find a cure for the serious condition.

Niacin is the most common form of naturally-occurring vitamin B3 while niacinamide is the synthetic version of the same nutrient. The study used nicotinamide riboside, which is frequently referred to as the cellular regenerator in the nutritional world. According to the study’s author, Dr. Michela Deleidi, leader of brain research projects at the University of Tubingen and the Helmholtz Association, in Germany, nicotinamide riboside “stimulates the faulty energy metabolism in the affected nerve cells and protects them from dying off.”

Parkinson’s disease arises and worsens over time in large part due to the death of neurons, particularly those involved with dopamine production, movement, walking, coordination and balance. Dopamine is a feel-good brain chemical. Impaired production of this chemical is involved in brain diseases like Parkinson’s.

Other Benefits of Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is involved in many functions to help keep you healthy, some of which include maintaining the health of your skin, hair, liver, eyes and nervous system. It is involved in the production of hormones and in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Food Sources of Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is found in many foods. Some of the best food sources include: tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb, beef, sardines, peanuts, shrimp and brown rice. Other good sources include: passionfruit, yellow tomatoes, avocado, dates, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, edamame (green soybeans), rice bran and barley.

Supplementing with Vitamin B3

While there are many vitamin B3 supplements available, nicotinamide riboside was the form used to achieve the brain health benefits. A typical dose is between 2 and 17 milligrams daily, although more may be needed for those already experiencing Parkinson’s disease. Check with your doctor before using.

While this study specifically explored Parkinson’s disease, it is likely helpful to other brain diseases and overall brain health as well. Maintaining healthy brain cell energy centers is critical for brain health. While we won’t know for sure if the new research applies to other conditions until further research has been completed, eating more vitamin B3-rich foods and taking a B-complex supplement is supportive of our overall health that people will want to consider while they await additional research.

Update 7/9: An earlier version of this article stated an incorrect typical dose of nicotinamide riboside. It should be 2 to 17 milligrams. 

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the vegan cookbook: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.



Joseph P
Joseph Peck29 days ago

EDIT: this part of my first reply got lost. It should be after the paragraph below.. . . .. . .also known by it's brand name Niagen, does not cause flushing. Number two Niagen requires fewer chemical steps in the body to become NAD+ which is really the purpose of the molecule, and number three Niagen is a sirtuin enhancer and not a sirtuin inhibitor. Sirtuins are the chemicals linked by researchers to increased longevity typically studied in regards to resveratrol, the chemical found in red wine..

If people are genuinely interested in this item I suggest you go to Health Unlocked dot com, and search the user name "sunvox" the clink on the avatar to see scads of research and information related to Parkinson's and Ataxia and Niagen as well as a host of other related information. Joe in NY

Joseph P
Joseph Peck29 days ago

I am sorry, but this is a poorly researched and even more poorly written article. First, you even tried to correct yourself and still got the information incorrect on dosage. Nicotinamide Riboside is a patented molecule sold only by Chromadex and comes typically in 125 mg pill form. The recommended dosage on the side of the bottle sold by Chromadex directly is 250 mg. Second, there have been 3 human clinical trials all of which have been focused on safety and efficacy in the boosting of production of NAD in humans. The reason the researchers used Nicotinamide Riboside and not the traditional B3, niacin, is because Nicotinamide Riboside has 3 critical and distinct advantages over the older forms of B3. Number one, Nicotinamide Riboside, also known by it

Chad Anderson
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

Jeramie D
Jeramie D1 months ago


Shirley K
Shirley Klassen2 months ago

The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, sleeplessness, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor's knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped. Visit Natural Herbal Gardens official web page ww w.naturalherbalgardens.c om. My family are amazed at the change and rapid improvement. This herbal treatment is a breakthrough for all PD sufferers. SHARE WITH FRIENDS!!

Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

more pills ?

Biz M
Past Member 2 months ago

many thanks noted

Dennis H
Dennis Hall2 months ago


Hannah K
Hannah K2 months ago

thank you

BumbleBrie B
BumbleBrie B2 months ago

Thanks for this post; I go to a simply Wonderful day program for people who have had a brain injury, but I am going to share this with Pinterest and Facebook