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Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Aug 1;108(2):343-353. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy132.

A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside in obese men: safety, insulin-sensitivity, and lipid-mobilizing effects.

Author information

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Section for Integrative Physiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Medical Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Medicine.
Department of Biochemistry, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
The MR Research Centre.
Department of Endocrinology.
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.



Animal studies suggest a positive role for nicotinamide riboside (NR) on insulin sensitivity and hepatic steatosis in models of obesity and type 2 diabetes. NR, an NAD+ precursor, is a member of the vitamin B-3 family now available as an over-the-counter supplement. Although data from preclinical trials appear consistent, potential effects and safety need to be evaluated in human clinical trials.


The aim of this study was to test the safety of dietary NR supplementation over a 12-wk period and potential to improve insulin sensitivity and other metabolic parameters in obese, insulin-resistant men.


In an investigator-initiated randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and parallel-group designed clinical trial, forty healthy, sedentary men with a body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2, age-range 40-70 y were randomly assigned to 12 wk of NR (1000 mg twice daily) or placebo. We determined the effects of NR supplementation on insulin sensitivity by a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp and substrate metabolism by indirect calorimetry and labeled substrates of tritiated glucose and palmitate. Body composition and fat mass distribution were determined by whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and MRI scans, and measurements of intrahepatic lipid content were obtained by MR spectroscopy.


Insulin sensitivity, endogenous glucose production, and glucose disposal and oxidation were not improved by NR supplementation. Similarly, NR supplementation had no effect on resting energy expenditure, lipolysis, oxidation of lipids, or body composition. No serious adverse events due to NR supplementation were observed and safety blood tests were normal.


12 wk of NR supplementation in doses of 2000 mg/d appears safe, but does not improve insulin sensitivity and whole-body glucose metabolism in obese, insulin-resistant men. This trial was registered at as NCT02303483.


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