Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Neurosci. 2019 Aug 13;13:1179069519869679. doi: 10.1177/1179069519869679. eCollection 2019.

Why Is Mom Stressed: Homeorhesis as the Potential Problem and Nicotinamide Riboside as the Potential Solution.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.


The remodeling of female mammalian physiology to support the development of a fertilized egg into an externally breathing individual and then to provide all the nutrition to this individual while remodeling back to nearly her pregestational state is without parallel in male mammalian physiological transitions. While it is common parlance to refer to postpartum depression as a not infrequent stress in women, the postpartum physiological changes after every birth constitute profound metabolic stresses that are understudied and have important nutritional, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental implications for the maternal and neonatal health of every mammalian species. We discovered that the postpartum liver of a lactating female mouse has a depressed nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) metabolome linked to circulation of higher levels of NAD metabolites in support of a >20-fold increase in NAD coenzymes in the mammary. Furthermore, by supporting a new mother's apparent higher demand for NAD precursors, we increased circulation of prolactin, superinduced mammary biosynthetic programs, increased her time of arched-back nursing, enhanced mammary production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, promoted postgestational weight loss, advanced the neurobehavioral development of her offspring, and allowed them to mature as stronger and more resilient adults with advantages in hippocampal neurogenesis and body composition. These results show that a new mother's capacity for biosynthesis and functionally important nurturing is apparently limited by NAD. Here, we discuss homeorhetic flow of resources from a new mother to her offspring in the context of NAD metabolism and suggest avenues for future investigation.


Postpartum; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; lactation; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; prolactin

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of conflicting interests:The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Charles Brenner developed intellectual property on uses of nicotinamide riboside, which were developed by ChromaDex, Inc. He holds stock in and consults for ChromaDex, Inc.

Publication type

Publication type

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center