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Vitamin B3 Can Slow Down the Progression of Muscle Disease

Jun 15, 2020 by Iris Dawn Tabangcora

Vitamin B3 slows progression of mitochondrial myopathy

Mitochondrial myopathy is a fairly common disease with 1 in 5,000 people being affected. Mutations in the mitochondria, the cell's energy factory, leave people with muscle weakness and cramps which may eventually lead to mobility issues, among other complications. Aside from these, multiple organs are at stake as this condition is associated with lactic acidosis, free radical production, and progressive low energy levels. Physical therapy helps in facilitating range of motion but currently, there is no proven curative treatment.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki reported that Vitamin B3 (niacin) can delay disease progression in patients with mitochondrial myopathy. The study found that forms of niacin have boosted the energy metabolism of rodents. Niacin is a known precursor of NAD+, the switch between fasting and growth in cellular processes. A caveat is that it is uncertain as to whether NAD+ deficiency exists in rodents and humans or not. Therefore, niacin as a NAD booster is still elusive.

Still, researchers claimed that niacin as a treatment option remains possible as it efficiently increased NAD+ levels in the blood of both healthy and mitochondrial myopathy patients. In fact, it has been able to restore blood levels to normal as evidenced by improved large muscle strength and the oxidative capacity of the mitochondria. It has done it so effectively that the metabolism of the study patients was shifted towards that of healthy patients. This is an open pilot study and further studies are to be done to answer the remaining questions.

Researchers conclude that niacin is an effective metabolic modifier of NAD+ and boosters of this vitamin can increase its level with the net effect of optimizing the functions of the mitochondria. It can delay the progression of mitochondrial myopathy giving researches time to find a cure. This is a significant development for targeted therapy for progressive muscle diseases.


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