Nicotinamide Riboside Cured Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
I'm 53 years old, and suffered from moderate to severe Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) for about twenty years. I didn't think it was curable.
Then three months ago (August 2016) I saw the Harvard study demonstrating that older mice aged backwards when their NAD+ levels were increased.
Articles in New York Magazine and Scientific American, and this video lecture by the lead researcher from Harvard, convinced me to try boosting my own NAD+ levels with a nicotinamide riboside supplement. I hoped I might feel younger, stronger, smarter, or maybe I'd just have better skin -- or maybe nothing.
So I bought a month's supply of Elysium Basis.
A few weeks after taking the Basis I noticed that my chronic Restless Legs Syndrome had completely stopped. (My IBS also ended, but that will be a different post.)
Because I was not looking for an RLS improvement, and did not notice it for a weeks, the cessation of RLS was probably not a psychosomatic response. And it also does not seem to be a temporary response, because now three months later, and I have not had a single episode of restless legs. [UPDATE: December 2018. Two years later, I only occasionally experience RLS, and when I do, I take some extra Niagen, and the RLS recedes, so I am more convinced than ever that NR replenishment works for me.]
That inspired me to seriously research what is going on with NR. I'll summarize below (with references for anyone who wants to dig in).
In sum, the causes of RLS are not well-understood, and the impacts of nicotinamide riboside replenishment in humans are not well-studied (many human studies are now underway, but the results aren't yet in).
However, we do know that:
(1) Bio-availability of NAD+ naturally decreases with age
(2) RLS frequently develops later in life,
(3) The positive effects of NAD+ replenishment according to some research includes prevention of neurodegenerative disease and peripheral neuropathy, and
(4) Oral supplementation of nicotinamide riboside increases the bioavailability of NAD+ in humans.
So it is not a far-fetched idea that NAD+ replenishment via nicotinamide riboside supplements could relieve RLS symptoms.
I would encourage anybody with RLS to try
nicotinamide riboside supplementation for
a month to see if it makes a difference.
Only one company makes nicotinamide riboside supplements -- Chromadex. Chromadex brands their NR as "Niagen" (rhymes with Niacin, because it is an alternate form of Vitamin B3). You can buy Niagen on Amazon, or maybe save by buying directly from the only licensed manufacturer, Tru Niagen (fast free shipping either way).
Elysium Basis is the best known source of nicotinamide riboside (bundling Niagen and pterostilbene, a blueberry extract that has anti-oxidant properties comparable to resveratrol, but with greater bioavailability than resveratrol. Pterostilbene might have other health benefits, but for curing Restless Legs, I suspect that the NR would be doing all the work, so any source of Niagen should do).
The reason I am writing this is because although there are human studies underway examining the effect of nicotinamide riboside replenishment on obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, mental acuity, physical fitness, immunity, aging, IBS, and more, I am unaware of any inquiries involving Restless Legs Syndrome. I hope that if others who share the lived experience of relief from RLS symptoms via NR supplementation spread the word, the science will catch up sooner rather than later.
Here are some additional resources:
1. Basis v. Niagen Comparison CHART
Wired Magazine article on Elysium Basis
Buzzfeed article on Elysium Basis
MIT Technology Review article on Elysium basis
Johns Hopkins Research suggests that RLS is caused by excess glutamate. NAD+ helps break down glutamate, so that would be an obvious area of inquiry.
Nobel Laureates advising Elysium (their only product is Basis)
How NAD+ supplementation can prevent age-related DNA damage
More than you want to know about NR
One of the earliest studies on Nicotinamide Riboside:
"There is growing evidence that substantially greater rates of NAD+ synthesis may be beneficial to protect against neurological degeneration..Current data suggest that nicotinamide riboside may be the only vitamin precursor that supports neuronal NAD+synthesis..."
-- Annual Review of Nutrition, August 2008