Get calorie restriction’s anti-aging benefits without the hunger

Was there ever a time in your life when you tracked every calorie you ate? You analyzed every label, researched how many calories were in fresh foods and kept a daily tally — all in the name of weight loss.

It’s not much fun. But if you did your math right, in the end, you lost the weight.

Nowadays, a lot of people are moving away from calorie counting for weight loss. They’re using less rigid, more intuitive approaches to lose weight, like cutting back on added sugar, refined grains and processed foods.

But there are still a bunch of calorie counters out there… they’re just doing it for a different reason. They’re doing it because it’s one of the most promising ways to stay young and healthy.

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Hungry to stay young

You may have heard that calorie restriction (i.e. reducing the calories you consume) can extend lifespan, slow aging and fight age-related diseases in fruit flies, roundworms, rodents and people. It’s quickly gaining a reputation as the next best thing to the fountain of youth.

But despite these amazing benefits, calorie restriction isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t do it because of health issues or life situations that make it unrealistic or dangerous. Others just know they don’t want to spend their precious time counting calories.

If you fall into either of these categories, I may have an alternative for you…

There’s a supplement that could provide some of the benefits of calorie restriction without the hassle or hunger. In fact, a new study from the University of California, Boulder shows that this supplement impacts the body just like calorie restriction and even has the potential to improve heart health.

Nicotinamide riboside: calorie restriction in a pill?

University of Colorado Boulder researchers recently found that a form of B3 called nicotinamide riboside (NR) triggers the same biological response in your body as calorie restriction.

Their 12-week study included 24 men and women between 55 and 79 years old. Participants were split into two groups. One group took a placebo for the first six weeks and nicotinamide riboside for the second six weeks, and other group took nicotinamide riboside for the first six weeks and a placebo for the second six weeks.

Researchers took blood samples and physiological measurements after participants took the nicotinamide riboside, and they noticed an amazing response in their bodies…

When people took this supplement, their nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels increased by 60 percent. NAD+ activates enzymes in your body called sirtuins, and these enzymes are what make calorie restriction so effective against aging and disease.

NAD+ decreases with age, and so do sirtuins. But when you replenish these compounds in your body, you begin to slow — or even reverse — the aging process. That’s why calorie restriction and nicotinamide riboside could be the best anti-aging tools around. They both have direct impact on NAD+ and sirtuins.

People in the study also experienced better blood pressure levels after taking nicotinamide riboside. On average, systolic blood pressure levels dropped 10 points lower after supplementation. Researchers say that would equate to a 25 percent drop in heart attack risk. Calorie restriction has been shown to have a similar effect on blood pressure and artery health in animal studies.

Staying youthful with nicotinamide riboside

Now, there’s an important fact to remember here…

This was a very small study, and more research is needed to see if the results hold true in larger studies. Still, the findings are promising for people who want to ease the aging process without restricting calories.

People in the study took 500 mg of nicotinamide riboside twice per day. They didn’t experience any side effects, and most studies show that nicotinamide riboside is well-tolerated, even at high doses.

But there’s no reason to take more than they did in this study. In fact, many people notice an immediate boost in energy after taking 250 mg of nicotinamide riboside twice per day. It’s better to start slow with supplements anyway to see how they affect you.

So, give nicotinamide riboside a shot if you’d like. It’s a great anti-aging alternative for those of us who see calorie restriction as cruel and unusual punishment.

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  1. Dietary supplement shows promise for reversing cardiovascular aging — MedicalXpress. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  2. Imai and L. Guarente. “It takes two to tango: NAD+ and sirtuins in aging/longevity control.” — npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, 2016.
  3. R. Martens, et al. “Chronic nicotinamide riboside supplementation is well-tolerated and elevates NAD+ in healthy middle-aged and older adults.” — Nature Communications, 2018.
  4. B. Conze, et al. “Safety assessment of nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3.” — Human & Experimental Toxicology, 2016.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and