May 30, 2024

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This vitamin may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis

This vitamin may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis


Warning! This common vitamin supplement may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis. 


With the progress and development of society, accelerated pace of life, and increased work pressure, more and more modern people are paying attention to health and wellness.

In recent years, a wide variety of dietary supplements have been active in consumers’ sight, and many people choose to take dietary supplements as a “firewall” for their health.


However, a recent study has sounded the alarm, suggesting that consuming such common dietary supplements may have counterproductive effects and even increase the risk of cancer metastasis.


Recently, a team led by Elena Goun at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology published a research paper titled “A bioluminescent-based probe for in vivo non-invasive monitoring of nicotinamide riboside uptake reveals a link between metastasis and NAD+ metabolism” in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

The study found that a vitamin B3 supplement, nicotinamide riboside (NR), if not supplemented properly, may increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancer and may also lead to the spread of cancer to the brain.

This vitamin may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis




The myth of the “elixir of youth”

Nutritional supplements are defined as basic food ingredients that provide nutritional and medical health benefits.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an important coenzyme that plays a central role in cellular energy metabolism.

The decrease in its level is associated with various pathological and physiological conditions, including pathological changes caused by aging.


The reduction of NAD+ in the body is closely related to organismal aging.

However, due to the poor bioavailability and serious side effects of NAD+, it has not been widely used in clinical medicine.


Therefore, attention has turned to nicotinamide riboside (NR), which is a vitamin B3 found in milk, yeast, and beer. It is one of the most studied NAD+ precursors and is easily absorbed and utilized by the human body.

Supplementing with NR can increase NAD+ levels, which can have beneficial effects on metabolism, cardiovascular and nervous systems, and has great potential for clinical applications.


Although nicotinamide riboside is considered to have many benefits, the ways and concentrations of nicotinamide riboside uptake in different cells and tissues are still unknown due to the lack of non-invasive in vivo imaging tools.


To break the limitations of understanding in this area, researchers have developed a bioluminescent probe for NR uptake (BiNR), which enables non-invasive longitudinal imaging of NR uptake in vitro and in vivo.

This technology quantifies NR levels in real-time in a non-invasive manner, with the brightness of the light indicating higher concentrations of NR.


Furthermore, to enable the application of the BiNR probe in clinical samples, the researchers have also optimized the detection method, which allows monitoring of NR flux without the need for transfection of the luciferase gene, making the BiNR probe applicable to clinical samples.


This vitamin may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis




The Role of Nicotinamide Riboside in Cancer Development and Metastasis

The communication author of this study, Professor Elena Goun, lost her father to colon cancer just three months after his diagnosis.

Since then, Elena Goun has been seeking a better scientific understanding of cancer metabolism or the energy behind cancer’s spread within the body.

As NR is a known supplement that helps increase cellular energy levels, and cancer cells replenish this energy through increased metabolism, Elena Goun wanted to investigate the role of NR in cancer development and metastasis.


Using the BiNR probe, the research team quantified the uptake of NR in four human breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231-luc, MDA-MB-468-luc, MCF-7-luc, and BT-20-luc) and found that a highly invasive triple-negative breast cancer cell line had the highest uptake of nicotinamide riboside.


Next, they used an MDA-MB-231 xenograft tumor mouse model to explore whether NR would increase cancer incidence and metastasis.

Surprisingly, the research results showed that NR supplementation led to a significant increase in the incidence and brain metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer in mice.


Among the NR-supplemented group, 7 out of 10 mice developed detectable tumors (70%), compared to only 55% of the control group mice. This data suggests that NR supplementation increased tumor incidence by 27%!


Furthermore, NR supplementation also significantly increased the formation of brain metastasis. In the NR-supplemented group of 11 mice, 9 mice formed multiple metastases (81.8%), while in the control group of 12 mice, only 3 metastases were found (25%).

The research team also measured the bioluminescent signals in the brain regions of both groups of mice and observed a 3.8-fold increase in signal in the mice fed NR-rich feed, reflecting the number of metastatic tumors in the brain.


In summary, these data indicate that the addition of NR leads to a significant increase in cancer incidence and promotes brain metastasis.


This vitamin may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis


Professor Elena Goun speculates that considering the role of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in increasing cellular energy, promoting repair, and delaying aging, supplementing NAD+ and its precursors to individuals with cancer cells may have the opposite effect, causing cancer cells to grow faster and cancer to spread more rapidly.


Although this study only covers mouse cancer models, further research is needed to investigate whether supplementing nicotinamide riboside (NR) promotes tumor occurrence and metastasis in humans.


However, these findings emphasize the importance of carefully investigating the potential side effects of dietary supplements like NR for different health conditions and approaching them from the perspective of personalized medicine.







Paper link :

This vitamin may increase the risk of cancer occurrence and metastasis

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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.