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 our 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.¹
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, though there is some concern about its potential to exacerbate tumor growth in cancer patients.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health product and service we review, including Tru Niagen and various other NAD-boosting supplements. Our team has experienced the ordering process, including shipping logistics and customer service, and we’ve taken the supplement ourselves to see how it felt.
On top of that personal experience, we’ve kept up with the evolving picture of NR and NMN science to determine what the best NAD-boosting products are and how Tru Niagen fits into that landscape. All told, we’ve read through more than 100 scholarly articles on NAD, its precursors, and cellular health in general.
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. As the field is evolving quickly, we’ll keep our attention fixed on Tru Niagen and its competitors to keep this content relevant.
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.
In evaluating Tru Naigen, we paid attention to several key criteria that allowed us to consider it on its own merits and in comparison with its competition. Effectiveness was our top priority, and Tru Niagen’s effectiveness rating weighs the most heavily in its overall score. After that, we considered cost and safety in roughly equal weight, followed by customer service.
Rating: 9 / 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. Healthy individuals above 30 can expect Tru Niagen to increase their circulating NAD, but exactly how that will affect individuals may differ. You won’t necessarily be able to feel whether increased NAD levels are bolstering your immunity, reducing oxidative stress, or curbing disease.² But increases in NAD are often found in muscle, which can result in increased strength and cardiovascular endurance.³ Some people may also see improvements in skin health after several weeks of use — both cosmetically and clinically.⁴
To be fair, other NR supplements offering similar doses will provide the same benefits, and alternatives to NR — like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) — also reliably increase NAD levels. But in its own right, Tru Niagen will help your body produce more NAD.
Rating: 8 / 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, and there aren’t a lot of NR manufacturers out there. Among them, Tru Niagen is one of the most affordable.
Tru Niagen also offers both bulk and subscription discounts. When you buy a larger quantity of capsules, the price per dose comes down. When you sign up for automatic shipments, the price comes down again. We often see alternatives in this space offering one form of savings or the other — rarely both. Life Extension, Tru Niagen’s closest competitor, offers both, but its bulk savings only start to kick in if you buy four or more bottles, which is more than you need to purchase from Tru Niagen to save extra money.
Rating: 7 / 10
Tru Niagen comes in a 300mg dose. Several studies have looked at NR in doses between 1,000 and 2,000mg. In those studies, side effects were rare and mild. Experiences of bloating, upset stomach, or flushing were at the top of a short list.⁵ However, there is evidence that certain nicotinamide strains and an overabundance of NAD can contribute to specific cancer risks. Those studies are on the small side and have been performed in vivo only with animals. But they should serve as a warning for certain groups of people.
Specifically, the studies associating NAD with cancer looked at whether starving tumors of NAD would damage them, and it did. The inference is that tumors also need NAD in order to thrive, so pumping your body full of it may exacerbate the growth or metastasis of certain cancers.⁶ That said, no studies to date show that an increase in NAD directly heightens tumor growth. And at the same time, other recent studies illustrate some of NAD’s cancer-fighting abilities.⁷
The picture is murky right now, so we recommend anyone with a cancer risk to consult with a physician before taking NAD-boosting supplements.
Rating: 7 / 10
Tru Niagen doesn’t offer any kind of trial period, so if you take it for a month and decide it’s not for you, you’re out of luck. Some of its competitors offer money-back guarantees that might make them better places to start if you’re really concerned about being able to recoup your investment. Life Extension is the best example, as its money-back guarantee lasts for an entire year.
That said, actually interacting with the customer support staff at Tru Niagen is a pleasant experience. Its 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.
Special Offer: Up to 30% OFF when you subscribe
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.
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:
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 the following:
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 illustrated 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,⁸ including retinal degeneration, cancer, liver disease, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer's disease.⁹ But these findings don’t show a direct correlation between increased NAD through supplementation and decreased risk or severity of these disorders.
The whole picture of NAD and its effect on our bodies will come only with further study. Research explores 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 our “Is Tru Niagen safe?” section.
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.¹⁸ 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.
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 also has a dedicated research program that funds universities and independent organizations interested in studying how NR acts on various disorders and bodily systems. The results of that continuing research become part of Chromadex’s product development process.
In addition to Dr. Brenner (who discovered the pathway for NR to stimulate NAD production), the company relies on a board of scientists to advise the company on the safety of its products and necessary studies to conduct. Some peers have criticized these kinds of advisory boards as window dressing, but it’s become a relatively common practice for such companies to employ experts to simultaneously bolster their credibility and improve their products.
In healthy individuals, NAD levels are typically well within beneficial ranges for the first 30 years of life. So, Tru Niagen would be a good fit for anyone over 30, either to prevent their NAD levels from declining in the first place or to recover them as much as possible.
NAD’s potential to improve mitochondrial function and overall cellular health makes it an interesting choice for the general population, but certain demographics stand to benefit even more than the average person. Those over 60 will see significant declines in their NAD levels and are at a point in their lives where disease risks rise sharply. Bolstering cellular function at advanced ages can potentially stave off these issues. There’s also evidence that NAD supplementation can improve exercise performance, and good exercise habits are essential to longevity.
If you know you’re predisposed to some of the ailments NAD studies suggest that supplementation may address, you might be especially interested in trying it. But there’s a flip side to each of these possibilities. For example, NAD is often found in liver tissues even if supplemental NAD boosters fail to generate meaningful levels in other tissues. That led some researchers to conclude that NAD can have positive effects on liver function. But if you want to increase NAD for liver function when you already have issues with your liver, you might not be able to process it in a beneficial way. The best thing you can do if you’re considering NAD for a specific concern, rather than just general aging, would be to talk to your physician about balancing benefits against risks.
If you’re under 30, you likely won’t see an increase in NAD levels in a way that offers any benefits. Your NAD levels are likely normal.
Tru Niagen’s safety is not a settled issue. Acute use appears to be well-tolerated by study participants, with some flushing and GI distress among occasional adverse reactions. It’s the long-term use and the use by certain populations that requires more research. Typical studies include relatively healthy participants, and few studies last more than 12 weeks.
One significant issue that needs to be addressed through longer studies in a specific population is tumor growth. Studies looking into NAD’s role in cancer treatment have found that starving tumors of NAD can stop their growth and even cause the tumors to suffer oxidative damage that can help wipe them out. By extension, there’s a concern that increasing NAD when cancer is present may fuel the growth of tumors.
On the one hand, a 2014 study of NR on mice showed that supplementation with NR helped protect the mice against liver cancer.¹⁰ And on the other, continuing research demonstrated successful tumor growth inhibition by reducing NAD.¹¹ Further NAD studies in human subjects with known cancers can help researchers determine how an increase in NAD can affect tumor size and spread.
Until that research is done, it might be wise for anyone with cancer or who has recently survived cancer to avoid NAD-boosting supplements. Those with a history of cancer in their families might also want to consider waiting until more research comes in.
The FDA has studied the unique B3 formulation patented by Tru Niagen and found it safe at the company's recommended dosage of 300mg 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 the recommended Tru Niagen dosage) showed no significant harmful effects, though some people taking this higher dose experienced mild side effects such as:
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 mutually exclusive; 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.
Tru Niagen used to arrange its 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. Its current system is both kinder and easier to understand.
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 its suggested 300mg/day dosage:
The company also offers Tru Niagen Pro, a product containing 500mg NR per capsule available exclusively through healthcare practitioners.
Here's how Tru Niagen's 300mg capsule pricing works out with different quantities on a subscription and non-subscription basis:
|300mg 180-count (two 90-count bottles)||$229.95||$198|
With a cursory glance, it would seem that the 120-count bottle is some incredible deal. How could you get 120 capsules for less than you’d pay to get 90? Well, Tru Niagen’s 30-, 90-, and 180-capsule offerings include capsules that contain 300mg each. The serving size is one 300mg capsule. But the 120-count bottle contains 150mg capsules, and the serving size is two capsules. So, if you go by dose count instead of capsule count, the 120-count bottle is actually a 60-count bottle, and its price tag suddenly makes sense.
If, for one reason or another, you want to start out with a much smaller dosage than 300mg, you can purchase 100mg Tru Niagen capsules, as well. These capsules only come in quantities of 30, and there is no opportunity to save by subscribing to them. Of all the ways to get your hands on Tru Niagen, this may be the least economical, at least in terms of cost per gram of its main ingredient.
A single 30-count bottle costs $19.97. Here’s how that compares per gram to other options:
|Lowest monthly price||Cost per gram of NR|
|300mg 180-count (two 90-count bottles)||$33||$0.61|
As you can see, compared to a quarterly subscription of 300mg Tru Niagen, the 100mg option is more than five times the ultimate cost.
A stickpack includes 30 individually packaged powder sticks; you 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.
While this isn’t the most economical way to take Tru Niagen, you don’t typically see NR in powder form. NMN is often sold this way, but NR is less so. That makes it stand out against much of the NR competition.
While Tru Niagen traditionally focused on its nicotinamide riboside supplement alone, the company has since added a new product to its 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 ingredients list 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.
Here’s Tru Niagen Immune’s full ingredient list:
As you can see, 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 it 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:
|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.
Tru Niagen offers free shipping on all products. Unfortunately, that same consideration does not extend to its 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 of 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 experience adverse reactions.
In Tru Niagen's defense, this practice is relatively common among NAD supplements, though Life Extension, which offers the same Chromadex-produced Niagen at the same dose, offers a one-year money-back guarantee.
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.
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-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and neuroprotective effects, some research suggests it can be problematic for cholesterol (particularly for LDL).¹³
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:
|Lowest monthly price||$33||$40|
|Ingredient(s)||Nicotinamide riboside (NR)||NR, pterostilbene|
|NR amount per dose||300 mg||250 mg|
|FDA status||NDI and GRAS||No|
|Vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free|
|Potentially raises bad cholesterol|
|May contain trace toluene|
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.
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a compound that’s incredibly similar to NR, and both have been shown to raise NAD levels in studies.¹⁴ The argument in favor of NMN has to do with absorption, as there’s some disagreement in the scientific community as to which compound — NR or NMN — absorbs better.
Proponents of NMN point out that it has a dedicated transporter that lives in the small intestine and helps the body take it in to eventually turn it into NAD.¹⁵ Detractors point to an inferior uptake at the cellular level, though the evolution of this science points toward NMN’s ability to penetrate cells after all.
In our guide to the best NAD boosters, we have more NMN supplements than NR supplements. Based on our research, NMN seems like a slightly superior choice, so long as you get the right kind of NMN that can either absorb into the bloodstream immediately (by sublingual or intranasal delivery) or bypass the acidic environment of the stomach in certain types of capsules. But another reason for this is that there are more high-quality NMN supplements on the market than there are high-quality NR supplements, so the fields are imbalanced. Your decision may come down to cost, or you might try each and see how they make you feel.
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