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Tru Niagen Review: A Dietitian’s Look into Effectiveness and Safety

Written by Markita Lewis, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on June 11, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

4.0

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:5.0
  • Value for the Price:4.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Tru Niagen is a nicotinamide riboside supplement that is backed by some emerging, but compelling research to increase NAD+ in the body to help keep your cells working properly. This supplement appears to be worth the price to add to your daily vitamin rotation.

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Tru Niagen Review: A Dietitian’s Look into Effectiveness and Safety

Pros

  • Backed by some clinical trials and is pending further research
  • Available in multiple forms for ease of use
  • Has third-party testing and is NSF Certified for Sport

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other forms of niacin vitamins
  • Strict returns policy does not have a 30-day money-back guarantee for trying the product
  • Dosage is lower compared to other studies on nicotinamide riboside

What Is Tru Niagen?

Tru Niagen is a vitamin supplement known as nicotinamide riboside chloride that is claimed to help with healthy aging, cellular energy production, cellular defense, and cellular repair by increasing NAD+ in the body.

Nicotinamide riboside is similar to vitamin B3 (niacin), and is a precursor for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).

NAD+ is an essential coenzyme in our bodies that is involved in hundreds of cellular processes, including energy production.

As we get older and are exposed to oxidative stress, levels of NAD+ decline in our bodies.

These decreases in NAD+ can result in mitochondrial dysfunction that limits the body’s ability to use the food we eat to create energy.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with aging and a number of chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, autoimmune conditions, mood disorders, musculoskeletal disease including fibromyalgia, and more.

Tru Niagen claims to increase levels of NAD+ in the body after initial use and sustain levels of NAD+ as you continue to take it regularly.

The supplement comes in a few forms, but no matter what the form, the daily dose provides 300 mg of True Niagen.

The Tru Niagen 300 mg capsule is taken once per day, while the smaller Tru Niagen 150 mg capsule is taken twice daily.

If you prefer taking this supplement in a beverage form, one Tru Niagen Stickpack can be mixed with most beverages and taken daily.

Niagen is a patent-protected form of nicotinamide riboside developed by ChromaDex and is the only known FDA-safety reviewed form of nicotinamide riboside.

Evaluation of Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride (300 mg)

Nicotinamide riboside is a precursor to NAD+, a coenzyme necessary for cellular health.

More research needs to be done on food sources of this micronutrient, but it is found in yeast-containing foods and milk-derived products.

Nicotinamide is effective in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in animal and human studies.

A study in which sepsis was induced in mice found that when given nicotinamide riboside before infection, mice had reduced production of reactive oxygen species, decreased cell death in endothelial cells (in the heart and lungs), and increased survival.

Inflammation is a common sign of aging. A clinical trial included 70 to 80-year-old men taking 1000 mg of nicotinamide riboside daily for 21 days to see if there were any effects on muscle and cytokines (inflammatory markers).

Nicotinamide riboside significantly decreased several markers of inflammation, demonstrating that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.

Nicotinamide riboside may also be effective for improving metabolism.

One study gave 1000 mg of nicotinamide riboside to 13 overweight or obese men and women daily for six weeks.

After six weeks, participants had increased markers of acetyl-carnitine (used for fatty acid metabolism) in the skeletal muscle and increased sleeping metabolic rate.

When looking at the research on nicotinamide riboside chloride specifically, only one study exists from the patent-holders, ChromaDex.

In their study, individuals either had a placebo or took Niagen (the crystalline form of nicotinamide riboside chloride) at doses of 100 mg, 300 mg, or 1,000 mg for 8 weeks.

At the end of the study, researchers found that blood NAD+ concentrations increased in a dose-dependent relationship to Niagen supplementation, and NAD+ metabolism significantly increased in the 300 mg and 1,000 mg group compared to a placebo.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Tru Niagen based on the available research:

  • Healthy agingModerate Evidence
  • Cellular energyModerate Evidence
  • Cellular defenseModerate Evidence
  • Cellular repairModerate Evidence

Side Effects and Safety

In the clinical trial of their patented product, ChromaDex noted some mild side effects to taking Niagen.

These mild effects that were reported as possibly related included nausea, muscle pain and soreness, sore back, high blood pressure, rash, elevated liver function tests.

One noted a moderate upset stomach during the study. All side effects were resolved by the end of the study.

No side effects were found in a small study of nicotinamide riboside supplementation (1,000 mg/day) for 6 weeks amongst healthy overweight and obese individuals.

One study examining the safety of the formulation of nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene (NRPT, commercially known as Basis) was found to cause moderate symptoms of fatigue, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and mild nausea and headache.

The dosing for this product was 125 mg nicotinamide riboside and 25 mg pterostilbene for 8 weeks.

Tru Niagen is recognized by the FDA as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Tru Niagen is also free of gluten, nuts, caffeine, animal byproducts, and artificial colors and flavors.

It is always recommended to consult with your doctor prior to taking a new supplement.

Tru Niagen is not intended for use by individuals under 18 years of age.

Information about third-party labeling was available for Tru Niagen, and it is NSF Certified for Sport as a vitamin.

Cost and Where to Buy

A 30-day supply of Tru Niagen 300 mg is $47, with discounts available for a 3-month supply ($119.95) and a 6-month supply ($229.95).

Tru Niagen Stickpacks are slightly more expensive and cost $54 per 30-count box.

For all products purchased from Tru Niagen, subscriptions are offered to provide significant discounts (7% to 30% off depending on the product).

Only products that remain in factory-quality condition with the original factory seal are eligible for refunds within 30 days from the date of purchase.

The company does not offer a money-back guarantee for partially used products.

Tru Niagen is available for purchase at other retailers, including Amazon, Whole Foods, and Bristol Farms.

How It Compares

Most supplements containing the standardized nicotinamide riboside chloride (aka Niagen) are around the same price point.

There are a few supplements that contained a lower concentration of Niagen per serving.

I did see that some Niagen supplements contained other anti-aging ingredients, including trans-resveratrol or quercetin phytosome extract, which is a bigger draw if you’re looking to take a Niagen supplement for its anti-aging capabilities.

Other supplements containing niacin were of different forms, including nicotinamide mononucleotide, which was considerably cheaper.

The Bottom Line

As Tru Niagen claims, it does appear to increase levels of NAD+, which potentially can have a number of positive effects on the body.

Because niacinamide riboside is relatively new in clinical trials, it lacks significant robust clinical research to fully back up the claims and how they apply to humans.

Furthermore, because Tru Niagen is at a lower dosage than what some studies have used, it is difficult to determine if 300 mg is actually enough to benefit the consumer beyond increasing NAD+ levels.

The people behind ChromaDex appear to be very serious about research development and collaboration with other scientists, which leads me to believe that this evidence will be more accessible in the near future.

According to the research, Tru Niagen is safe to use, and if you’re an older adult or dealing with inflammatory conditions, this supplement may be right for you.

A Word from Our RD

Metabolism is regulated through a number of modifiable and non-modifiable factors, and it is difficult to pinpoint a single piece that can be throwing everything off.

Out of the modifiable factors for metabolism, a focus on diet, sleep, exercise, stress management, and avoidance of alcohol and tobacco are things that you can do to support a regulated metabolism.

If you are concerned that your NAD+ may be down, start with checking your diet to see if you’re eating enough foods that contain niacin.

Niacin is found in different types of meat (including chicken, turkey, fish, and beef), liver, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy.

The additional protein from these foods can help maintain your body’s regular cellular function, help you recover from inflammatory conditions, and promote muscle growth when used in combination with regular exercise.

If you have concerns about mitochondrial dysfunction or healthy aging, speak with your doctor about a screening and treatment plan that’s right for you.

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