While previous research has linked commercial dietary supplements like nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3, to benefits related to cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological health, new research from the University of Missouri has found that NR may actually increase the risk of serious diseases including cancer.
An international team of researchers led by Elena Goun, associate professor of chemistry at MU, discovered that high levels of NR could not only increase someone’s risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer, but it could also metastasize or spread to the brain. . When the cancer spreads to the brain, the results are fatal because there are no viable treatment options at this time, said Goun, who is the study’s corresponding author.
“Some people take them [vitamins and supplements] because they automatically assume that vitamins and supplements have only positive health benefits, but very little is known about how they actually work,” said Goun. “Because of this lack of knowledge, we were inspired to investigate the basic questions of how vitamins and supplements work in the body.”
After the death of her 59-year-old father just three months after she was diagnosed with colon cancer, Goun was moved by her father’s passing to pursue a better scientific understanding of cancer metabolism, or the energy by which cancer spreads in the body. Since NR is a known supplement to help increase cellular energy levels, and cancer cells feed on that energy through their increased metabolism, Goun wanted to investigate the role of NR in cancer development and spread.
“Our work is particularly important given the large number of commercially available and ongoing human clinical trials using NR to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment in patients,” said Goun.
The researchers used this technique to compare and examine the levels of NR present in cancer cells, T cells and healthy tissue.
“While NR is already widely used in people and has been studied in so many ongoing clinical trials for further use, much of how NR works is a black box — it’s not understood,” Goun said. “So it inspired us to come up with this new imaging technique based on ultra-sensitive bioluminescence imaging that allows quantitative NR levels to be measured in real time in a non-invasive way. The presence of NR is indicated by light and the brighter the light, the more NR is there.”
Goun said the study’s findings emphasize the importance of carefully researching the potential side effects of supplements like NR before using them in people who may have different health conditions. In the future, Goun wants to provide information that could potentially lead to the development of specific inhibitors to help make cancer treatments such as chemotherapy more effective in treating cancer. The key to this approach, Goun said, is looking at it from a personal medical perspective.
“Not all cancers are the same in every person, especially from a metabolic syndrome perspective,” Goun said. “Often cancers can even change their metabolism before or after chemotherapy.”
“A luminescent probe for in vivo noninvasive monitoring of nicotinamide riboside uptake reveals a link between metastasis and NAD+ metabolism” was published in the journal Biosensors and bioelectronics.
Tamara Maric et al., Bioluminescent probe for in vivo noninvasive monitoring of nicotinamide riboside uptake reveals link between metastasis and NAD+ metabolism, Biosensors and bioelectronics (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2022.114826
Provided by the University of Missouri
Quotation: Study: Popular Dietary Supplement Raises Cancer Risk, Brain Metastases (2022, November 11) Retrieved November 11, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11-popular-dietary-supplement-cancer-brain.html
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