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Tru Niagen Reviews: Can this supplement transform your health?

Could your NAD use a boost? Is Tru Niagen safe and legit? We tested this ChromaDex supplement and pored over the research to help you decide if you should give it a try

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Nathan LeDeaux, MD
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Tru Niagen Review

As we get older, many things happen to us – some of them good, others not so good. Tru Niagen offers a supplement that studies suggest can improve how we maintain good health throughout aging. Though we need more research and more human studies to draw firmer conclusions, Tru Niagen might help us fend off certain biological conditions associated with a higher risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease, among others.

Is it a safe and effective supplement, and is it right for you? Here’s what we found.

Editor's Summary

Overall Rating 8.9 / 10

Tru Niagen benefits multiple body systems with a single pill containing one active ingredient. This helps simplify your supplement stack and lowers your risk of adverse effects. The FDA acknowledges its safety, and many clinical studies show its efficacy.

Pros

  • Studies prove that this supplement works to increase NAD
  • The FDA found Tru Niagen safe with no severe side effects
  • The company’s advisory board boasts two Nobel Prize winners
  • Affordable compared to many other supplements
  • Available as a powder mix
  • Contains no nuts, gluten, caffeine, animal byproducts, or artificial colors or flavors
  • You can save 15-30% when you subscribe to repeat delivery

Cons

  • Potential benefits are not sufficiently proven yet (research continues)
  • Most significant discounts require large supply and auto-renewal
  • No trial period or returns for opened products
Our Top Picks

Tru Niagen

Tru Niagen offers a supplement that the FDA considers safe and studies suggest may improve health and vitality as we age.

Our testers felt improvement in energy levels after several weeks of taking Tru Niagen. Studies are ongoing and long-term health benefits remain to be sufficiently proven. Be sure to inform your primary care provider if you choose to supplement.

3-month supply
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$120
1-month supply
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$47
6-month supply
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$230

How we evaluated Tru Niagen

Effectiveness

Rating: 9.1 / 10

Research into Tru Niagen and its primary ingredient nicotinamide riboside (NR) is ongoing. Still, the research that exists is extremely promising. It shows time and again an increase in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) among a majority of participants that far exceeds numbers in the placebo group. Eight weeks of NR supplementation at the Tru Niagen dose can boost NAD by over 50%. Research into what an abundance of NAD can do for the body indicates many potential anti-aging benefits.

Cost

Rating: 8.3 / 10

Tru Niagen isn’t particularly cheap, but it’s less expensive than some of its most intense competition. It’s also not too far outside the price range of comparable supplements aimed at other systems. It loses a bit of clout when you realize that NR is just a specific form of vitamin B and that vitamin supplements can often cost less than Tru Niagen. But compounding Tru Niagen is a process that differs from those that create other vitamins.

Safety

Rating: 8.9 / 10

Tru Niagen comes in a 300 mg dose. Several studies have looked at NR in doses between 1,000 and 2,000 mg. In those studies, side effects were rare and mild. Experiences of bloating, upset stomach, or flushing were at the top of a short list. There is evidence that certain nicotinamide strains and an overabundance of NAD can contribute to specific cancer risks. Still, those studies are too small and too few to impact our consideration at this time.

Customer Service

Rating: 8.8 / 10

Neither Tru Niagen nor its competitors offer a trial period, and their return policies aren’t great. Once you open the product, you own it – regardless of whether it works for you. That said, actually interacting with the customer support staff at Tru Niagen is a pleasant experience. Their live chat is rarely busy, and the people on the other end are well informed and courteous. Add free shipping on all orders to the picture, and you’ll see why we rate Tru Niagen so highly in this respect.

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health product and service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We base our evaluations on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review of Tru Niagen was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

Video review summary and unboxing

For those in a hurry, here’s a concise video describing our findings as well as showing you what you’ll receive in the mail if you order Tru Niagen.

Want to learn more about the science behind NR supplementation and this particular company and its products? You’ve come to the right place – let’s dive in.

What is NAD?

NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. For the record, and despite its name, nicotinamide is unrelated to nicotine, tobacco’s addictive and deadly constituent.

NAD is a coenzyme, a compound necessary for certain enzymes to function. In particular, it acts as a coenzyme for various mitochondrial enzymes, providing energy to your body’s cells.

Research indicates that NAD plays vitally essential roles in:

  • Metabolism
  • Cellular defense against damage
  • DNA repair
  • Achieving and maintaining good sleep patterns
nicotinamide riboside (NR)

Scientists identified NAD over a century ago, but it continues to be the subject of study. In 2004, Dr. Charles Brenner (then at Dartmouth College but now the chief science advisor for Tru Niagen) discovered how a substance called nicotinamide riboside (NR) can stimulate an increase of NAD in the body.

As scientists have conducted more and more studies, they’ve discovered numerous very intriguing things about NAD, including:

  1. NAD seems to play a fundamental role in our cellular health. It is linked to our cells’ capacity to produce energy and repair themselves.

  2. Your body’s production of NAD slows down considerably as you age. Human tissue studies demonstrate that our NAD levels decrease by as much as 50% from age 40 to 60.

  3. Lifestyle matters also. Stressors and certain lifestyle choices (like maintaining an unhealthy diet and drinking alcohol, for instance) can also deplete your body’s supply of NAD.

If this sounds to you like NAD is a potentially important puzzle piece in our understanding of how our health can naturally decline as part of the aging process and our lifestyle decisions, then you’re not alone. If our bodies naturally stop producing enough NAD as we age, then our energy production at the cellular level declines, meaning we don’t feel the same vigor we used to feel. We’d feel less healthy. And it goes beyond how we feel; the ability of our cells to repair themselves is fundamental to health and wellbeing.

Dr. Brenner proved that Niagen promotes NAD generation in the body. On average, taking 300mg per day of Tru Niagen for eight weeks increases NAD levels in the body by 40-50%.

Studies conclude that drops in NAD levels may be associated with several age-associated diseases and health problems, including retinal degeneration, cancer, liver disease, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The whole picture of NAD and its effects on our bodies will come only with further study. Studies explore how increased NAD levels could be involved in the recovery from liver disease, sleep disorders, cognitive issues, mood disorders, kidney problems, and more. At the same time, cancer researchers are studying how NAD could play a role in the growth of certain cancers. It’s a complex picture – see below in the safety and concerns section.

What is nicotinamide riboside (NR)?

We’re all probably familiar with niacin, a B-vitamin that you can find on the nutrition labels of bread, cereals, and other products at the grocery store. But nicotinamide riboside?

Nicotinamide riboside (or NR) is just a different form of vitamin B3 than niacin. You could find small amounts of NR naturally in products like milk. NR is also known as Niagen, a name patented by the company in focus here: Tru Niagen. But NR isn’t found in large amounts naturally.

Multiple studies show that when participants take a supplement containing a large enough quantity of NR, their bodies then produce an increased amount of NAD. Tru Niagen’s 300mg dose should be enough for most people to see an increase in NAD, but with some studies utilizing 1,000mg doses, there is evidence that 300mg might not be enough for everyone.

Tru Niagen even offers a 500mg supplement called Tru Niagen Pro, but you can’t buy it directly from the company unless you’re a healthcare provider. You don’t need a prescription to obtain Tru Niagen Pro, but it would be wise to have regular check-ins with a physician if you decide to take anything more than 300mg.

Is Tru Niagen a reputable company?

Niagen is the flagship ingredient of Tru Niagen’s parent company, ChromaDex, a nutraceutical company focused on the research and development of products that improve how we age. ChromaDex scientists are working hard on numerous studies with universities and researchers to understand what NAD does within our bodies. Along the way, ChromaDex is cataloging and providing reference materials on nearly 2,000 phytochemicals thus far, with the list continuing to grow.

In addition to Dr. Brenner (who discovered the pathway for NR to stimulate NAD production), the company relies on a board of distinguished scientists to advise the company on the safety of their product and on necessary studies to conduct. The board includes:

  • Not just one but two Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry
  • Leading authorities in Alzheimer’s and breast cancer research
  • Two nutritional experts

This is a pretty impressive gathering of recognized experts in their fields. Some peers have criticized these kinds of advisory boards as ‘window dressing.’ Still, in our opinion, the participation and advice of experts speak to the high level of interest and seriousness with which the broader scientific community regards the potential for NR supplementation and research to improve our wellbeing. It also reflects well on a company dedicated to validating the merits of their product and conducting rigorous studies.

Tru Niagen has over 20 licensed patents and collaborations in over a hundred studies of NR and NAD. There have been five clinical studies published so far.

Tru Niagen pricing and quantities

Tru Niagen used to arrange their purchasing quantities by the number of people in your household that would take it. But that model could be confusing, and one could imagine a particularly lonesome person feeling all the more lonely when selecting a shipment for one. Their current system is both kinder and easier to understand.

Tru Niangen 300mg

Recurring shipments save you 15-30%, with the most savings coming with the largest shipments. You can schedule shipments to occur every one, two, three, four, five, or six months.

Tru-Niagen offers three options for their suggested 300mg/day dosage:

  • 300mg capsule
  • 150mg capsules (two capsules per serving)
  • 300mg stickpack of flavorless powder

The company also offers Tru Niagen Pro, a product containing 500mg NR per capsule available exclusively through healthcare practitioners.

300mg capsules

Here’s how Tru Niagen’s 300mg capsule pricing works out with different quantities on a subscription and non-subscription basis:

  One-time purchase Subscription
30-count $47 $40
90-count $199.95 $105
180-count $229.95 $198

150mg capsules

Tru Niagen only offers one quantity for their 150mg capsules. The bottle contains 120 capsules, which is enough for one person to use for two months.

  • 120-count one-time purchase: $87.95
  • 120-count subscription: $79

You can choose the frequency of subscription shipments on the 150mg product from every month to every six months.

Stickpacks

Stickpacks

A stickpack includes 30 individually packaged powder sticks. Drink the powder mixed with a beverage once per day. Each stick contains the suggested 300mg dose and healthy insoluble fiber inulin from chicory root extract. The stickpacks are the most expensive Tru Niagen product, but they’re an excellent choice for those who prefer an alternative to pills.

  • 30-count one-time purchase: $54
  • 30-count subscription purchase: $49.95

Tru Niagen Immune

While Tru Niagen traditionally focused on their nicotinamide riboside supplement alone, the company has since added a new product to their lineup: Tru Niagen Immune. It contains a small handful of vitamins and minerals that research shows play significant roles in immune system performance. However, the star of the supplements is an altered form of curcumin called Theracurmin.

Theracurmin is curcumin that has undergone special processes — including wet-mill grinding to reduce its particle size — all to increase its bioavailability. Papers comparing it to unaltered curcumin are scarce, but the company that produces it claims that it’s more than 27 times more bioavailable than standard curcumin extracts.

Tru Niagen Immune also contains 150mg of NR. This presents an exciting opportunity for those who want to maximize their NAD production. Tru Niagen says that they designed Immune for you to take in conjunction with standard Tru Niagen. Together, that would give you a 450mg daily dose of NR. That’s nearly the amount in Tru Niagen Pro, which is much harder to come by.

Here’s how the pricing for Tru Niagen Immune breaks down:

  One-time purchase Subscription
30-count $37.50 $32
60-count $75 $64
30-count + Original Tru Niagen 30-count $84.50 $72

If you add the two product’s individual prices together, you’ll see that the bundle doesn’t save you any additional money. It’s more a matter of convenience than anything else. That means you can freely try Tru Niagen on its own and add Immune to your regular shipments if you want to get that specialized curcumin and increase your NAD production further.

Shipping and returns

Tru Niagen offers free shipping on all products. Unfortunately, that same consideration does not extend to their return policy.

You can return any unopened bottles of Tru Niagen within 30 days of purchase. There is no recourse if you have opened the product and wish to return it. Given that it takes several weeks to a few months for most users to notice the benefits from Tru Niagen, we’d prefer to see a trial period with a money-back guarantee. This would especially benefit people who might not feel any different after a few months or might experience adverse reactions.

In Tru Niagen’s defense, this practice is common among NAD supplements.

Safety and possible concerns

The FDA concludes NR supplements are safe

The FDA has studied the unique B3 formulation patented by Tru Niagen. Specifically, the FDA found Tru Niagen to be safe at the company’s recommended dosage of 300 mg per day. Tru Niagen enjoys NDI (New Dietary Ingredient) status. The FDA has issued three safety notifications thus far for Tru Niagen, validating it as a safe supplement.

Studies of humans taking even 1,000-2,000 mg per day of NR (significantly higher than recommended Tru Niagen dosage) showed no significant harmful effects, though some people taking this higher dose experienced mild side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea

NAD and cancer

NR isn’t the only NAD-stimulating supplement on the market. Other mechanisms exist for increasing NAD levels in the body. One of these – nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) – was the subject of a study on mice that showed that NMN increased the rate of cancer. Some warn against jumping to conclusions based on one study (which is a valid warning) while also pointing out that it wasn’t an extensive study and its results haven’t yet been replicated. But we’re still early in our exploration of NAD and studies about it are coming up every day.

If NAD is vital to cellular health, how could it also increase cancer rates? It’s a fascinating subject, and the short (and incomplete) answer is that cancer cells require robust metabolism. Even as scientists study the benefits of increasing NAD levels, cancer researchers are busy studying how starving cancer cells of NAD could be a successful way of fighting cancer.

Could this same concern exist for NR supplements? A 2014 study of NR on mice showed that supplementation with NR helped protect the mice against liver cancer.

No study has demonstrated a connection between NR supplementation and any negative effect at this time, cancer or otherwise, and the FDA considers it safe.

But the picture isn’t necessarily as simple as, “we should all increase our NAD to stay healthy.” It could very well be the case that increasing our NAD levels brings both positive and negative long-term effects. Anti-aging and cancer-stimulating effects aren’t necessarily incompatible; both could coincide. Increased NAD levels could help fight certain cancers while increasing the risk of others, especially if a person is genetically predisposed to those specific cancers.

One point of agreement within the scientific community is that more research into NR and NAD is critical, carrying great potential for us to develop better ways of staying healthy and fighting disease.

Frequently asked questions about Tru Niagen

Is Tru Niagen FDA-approved?

The FDA has determined on three separate occasions that Tru Niagen is a safe supplement when taken as directed. It has received the standard “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) distinction and has New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) status. FDA approval is a designation that applies to prescription medications and other products; dietary supplements aren’t subject to FDA approval. It’s a standard to which you couldn’t reasonably hold Tru Niagen or any other supplement.

Is Tru Niagen good for you?

Studies are promising and indicate that Tru Niagen is good for you, though research continues. It’s too soon to know the whole story about all of the health benefits of Niagen and whether this supplement really could help us avoid some major health pitfalls associated with aging. Here is an overview of what research indicates.

The chief reason that NR supplementation would be good for you is that NR is a NAD precursor in our bodies. In other words, ingesting Niagen replenishes our body’s NAD supply.

A 2014 study found that NR supplementation protected mice against certain types of liver cancer. NAD allows other beneficial enzymes to work more effectively within the body, such as:

  • Sirtuins, which help lower inflammation and repair DNA
  • PARPs – or poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases – which scientists believe play a role in longevity and healthy aging by reducing the damage to DNA

By taking an NR supplement, the goal is to keep NAD levels healthy in our bodies. Studies conclusively prove that Tru Niagen achieves this effect, raising NAD levels by 40-50%.

When should I take Tru Niagen?

Users should take Tru Niagen in the morning. Take one capsule, which contains 300mg of NR. This dosage has been shown in clinical studies to be safe and effective in increasing NAD levels within the body.

How long does Tru Niagen take to work?

It takes about two months for most users to increase NAD levels. This can lead to a greater sense of energy and focus. Anti-aging effects take longer to realize, but several years of supplementation should show a slowing of common age factors like fatigue, increased illness, and wrinkles.

How does Tru Niagen compare to the competition?

Tru Niagen’s main competitors in the nicotinamide riboside market are Elysium, Thorne, and Life Extension.

Tru Niagen vs Elysium Basis

Elysium’s main NR product, called Basis, contains 250mg of NR and 50mg of pterostilbene, an antioxidant found in certain foods like blueberries. While studies show that pterostilbene has anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, and neuroprotective effects, some research suggests it can be problematic for cholesterol (particularly for LDL).

Basis is also much pricier than Tru Niagen at $60/bottle (a month’s supply) with a one-time order. Setting up a monthly subscription brings the cost down to $50/bottle, and a year’s prepaid subscription puts each bottle at $40.

Several years ago, ChromaDex petitioned the FDA to investigate Elysium for the presence of toluene in its Basis supplement. (For some background, ChromaDex originally supplied the NR and pterostilbene for Basis, but the business relationship dissolved in 2016.)

Elysium’s response was less than reassuring – that the trace amounts of toluene (an industrial solvent found in paint thinner and glues) were within legal limits for pharmaceuticals.

This reaction and the presence of even small amounts of toluene are pretty discouraging in a supplement, particularly when other products, such as Tru Niagen, are available. Small quantities of toluene should not be permissible in a product intended to be taken daily in perpetuity.

Here’s a look at how the two companies compare directly:

  Tru Niagen Basis
Lowest monthly price $33 $40
Ingredient(s) Nicotinamide riboside (NR) NR, pterostilbene
NR amount per dose 300 mg 500 mg
FDA-approved status Yes - NDI and GRAS status No
Vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free
Yes
Yes
Potentially raises bad cholesterol  
Yes
May contain trace toluene  
Yes

Tru Niagen vs. Thorne

Thorne offers a product called ResveraCel with 415mg of its proprietary form of NR (bound to hydrogen malate) and four additional anti-aging ingredients: pterostilbene, trans-resveratrol, quercetin phytosome, and betaine anhydrous. It’s considerably cheaper than Elysium’s Basis and on par with Tru Niagen’s pricing. While Thorne’s product presents a comparably priced alternative for those interested in multiple anti-aging ingredients, Tru Niagen, for now, remains the simplest and most studied source of NR.

Tru Niagen vs. Life Extension

Finally, Life Extension sells NAD+ Cell Regenerator, which contains the patented Niagen owned by ChromaDex, the maker of Tru Niagen. You get the same active ingredient at the same dose. At first glance, Life Extension may appear to offer a superior price. However, since subscribers can take 15% off their purchase of Tru Niagen, you can get the original product from the original manufacturer for less.

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