Milk ingredient could protect against obesity – research

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers identify milk ingredient that burns fat

Related tags Metabolism Nutrition

An natural ingredient found in milk could protect humans against obesity, even while enjoying a diet high in fat, research has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and Cornell University in New York, discovered that mice fed high doses of nicotinamide riboside (NR) along with high-fat food, burned off more fat and became better protected against obesity.

Mice fed NR gained 60% less weight than mice eating the same diet minus the NR supplementation.

The Mice that consumed NR also became better runners thanks to greater muscle endurance.

The research document, the NAD+ precursor nicotinamide riboside enhances oxidative metabolism and protects against high-fat diet induced obesity, ​indicated that NR could also play an important role in preventing weight gain and diabetes in other mammals including humans.

Metabolism supplement

“The scientists hypothesize that these effects are the results of an improvement in mitochondrial function. Upon further investigation, they were able to show that supplementing with NR indirectly stimulated the activity of sirtuin enzymes,”​ said the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne statement.

“These enzymes improve metabolic functions associated with mitochondria, such as lipid combustion and cellular oxidative capacities.”

“These beneficial effects aren’t the only advantages of this ‘hidden vitamin’. The fact that it is naturally present in many foods will make it significantly easier for the public to accept its use in a nutritional or therapeutic context,” ​added the statement.

The researchers added that, at the moment it is impossible to know how much milk a human would need to consume to benefit, as researchers were unable to measure the concentration of NR in milk.

As a result, it is more likely that NR would serve as a new kind of metabolism-boosting supplement.

Improve metabolism and longevity

The researchers identified NR while searching for an alternative way to boost the SIRT1 gene, which has been found to control metabolism and longevity.

Researchers have previously pinpointed resveratrol – an ingredient found in red wine - as one component capable of doing this.

However, the researchers suspected there may be a simpler way to boost the SIRT1 gene – by boosting levels of NAD+.

“NR was recently identified as a NAD+ precursor, with conserved metabolism from yeast to mammals. Importantly, NR is found in milk, constituting a dietary source for NAD+ production,” ​said the research document.

“Consequently, our results indicate that the natural vitamin NR could be used as a nutritional supplement to ameliorate metabolic and age-related disorders characterised by defective mitochondrial function.”

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