Dietary Supplements: Cancer and Brain Metastasis Risk

Dietary Supplements

Previous studies link commercial dietary supplements to cardiovascular, neurological, and metabolic health. These supplements include nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3. However, new research conducted by the University of Missouri says otherwise. According to the research, NR can increase the risk of serious diseases, even cancer.

Furthermore, the study is being conducted by a team of international researchers led by Elana Goun at the University of Missouri. They said that NR can increase the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer. Moreover, it can also cause metastasis of cancer or cause it to spread to the brain. Additionally, when cancer reaches the brain, the results are deadly since there aren’t any viable treatment options available, said the corresponding author of the study Goun.

Goun said,

Some people take them [vitamins and supplements] because they automatically assume that vitamins and supplements only have positive health benefits, but very little is known about how they actually work,

Because of this lack of knowledge, we were inspired to study the basic questions surrounding how vitamins and supplements work in the body.

Goun’s father’s death from cancer provoked her to understand the disease’s scientific understanding and metabolism or the energy it spreads through better. Moreover, since nicotinamide riboside (NR) increases the levels of cellular energy and cancer feeds off it. Goun wanted to investigate its role in the development and spread of cancer.

She said,

Our work is especially important given the wide commercial availability and a large number of ongoing human clinical trials where NR is used to mitigate the side effects of cancer therapy in patients

With the help of this technology, the researchers examined how much NR levels were in the cancer cells, T cells and healthy tissues.

Goun further said,

While NR is already being widely used in people and is being investigated in so many ongoing clinical trials for additional applications, much of how NR works is a black box—it’s not understood,

So that inspired us to come up with this novel imaging technique based on ultrasensitive bioluminescent imaging that allows quantification of NR levels in real-time in a non-invasive manner. The presence of NR is shown with light, and the brighter the light is, the more NR is present.

Potential Side Effects

Moreover, she also said that the study’s findings emphasize the importance of careful investigations of the potential side effects of NR in people without diseases and people with health conditions.

Furthermore, Goun wishes to provide information about inhibitors that can help make cancer therapies, for example, chemotherapy effective. Additionally, the approach is to look at it from a personalized medicine standpoint.

Goun said,

Not all cancers are the same in every person, especially from the standpoint of metabolic signatures,

Often times cancers can even change their metabolism before or after chemotherapy.

The study “A bioluminescent-based probe for in vivo non-invasive monitoring of nicotinamide riboside uptake reveals a link between metastasis and NAD+ metabolism” was published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.


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