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MU research: popular anti-aging supplement can increase cancer risk – Columbia Daily Tribune

Those thinking dietary supplements thinking they can’t hurt may want to think again based on international research that includes researchers at the University of Missouri.
The international team of researchers was led by Elena Goun, MU associate professor of chemistry, in a study that found that a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside can increase the users’ risk of breast cancer and brain cancer.
The study is “A bioluminescent-based probe in vivo non-invasive monitoring of nicotinamide riboside uptake reveals a link between metastasis and NAD+ metabolism.” It was published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics with funding from the European Research Council and the Swiss National Foundation.
Despite the name “nicotinamide” the chemical is a common anti-aging supplement and not related to tobacco, Goun wrote in an email.
While most probably take supplements thinking they may be helpful or, at worse, benign, Goun wrote that could be incorrect, based on her and other established research.
“For example, most of the cancers are highly metabolically active and supplying them with biologically metabolites could fuel their progression and metastasis,” Goun wrote. “In the case of NR, this was confirmed in several independent studies published in high-impact journals.”
The chemical is a precursor central to metabolism and energy production in cells, causing cancer cells to feed off them, she wrote.
Researchers used bioluminescent imaging in small animal models, she wrote.
“We developed a new bioluminescent imaging probe that produces bioluminescent light proportional to the amount of NR being taken up by cells,” Goun wrote. “Next, we identified particular cancer cells that greatly depend on this nutraceutical to grow and have singly high uptake.”
It’s probably not worth the risk to take this supplement, she wrote.
“Given all the previous work in the field done by several independent research groups, I think more studies need to be done to understand how it works before recommending it to certain patient populations,” she wrote.
Getting vitamins and nutrients from food is a better option than supplements, Goun wrote was her personal opinion.
“I personally strongly believe in healthy diet and exercise,” she wrote.
Other MU authors in the study are Arkadiy Bazhin, Pavlo Khodakivskyi, Ekaterina Solodnikova and Aleksey Yevtodiyenko. Also involved were researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Switzerland and Nestle Institute of Health Sciences in Switzerland.
Roger McKinney is the Tribune’s education reporter. You can reach him at rmckinney@columbiatribune.com or 573-815-1719. He’s on Twitter at @rmckinney9.

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