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The Roots of NAD+ Research

The Roots of NAD+ Research

The Roots of NAD+ Research

Have you ever noticed how powerful the roots of a tree can be? They can tether a palm tree to withstand a hurricane, split concrete pavement, and burrow deep in the earth to gather groundwater during a punishing drought. 

The roots are the lifeline. But they grow unnoticed, hidden beneath the surface. 

Likewise, your cells are the roots of your health. They work hard to ensure the proper function of your body, unnoticed and unappreciated.  

Luckily, modern science has allowed for discoveries that nourish these strong roots—namely Tru Niagen®, a scientific breakthrough in cell nutrition.  

Tru Niagen® looks after your cell health by supporting NAD+ levels, a vital resource for cellular energy and repair. 

Let’s explore the trailblazers that helped pave the way behind the science of NAD+.

The Mid-1800s 

Louis Pasteur collaborated with French brewers to study the microscopic forces at work during the brewing process. He identified microbes that could cause the beer to spoil and the critical role that yeast played in alcoholic fermentation.  

Pasteur’s discovery was quickly adopted by the wine and beer industries, applying a simple procedure of heating wine to kill these microbes. This later became known as “pasteurization.”  

Although he did not know it at the time, Pasteur’s research on yeast became the basis of NAD+ science today. 


Arthur Harden and William John Young expanded Louis Pasteur’s discovery of fermentation by cracking open yeast cells and separating the cellular components into two mixtures. One mixture contained the enzymes needed for fermentation, and the other contained several small molecules.  

Without their knowledge, the second small molecule mixture contained NAD+.  


A vitamin deficiency called pellagra disrupted the nation in the early 1900s. Known as “the black tongue,” pellagra caused symptoms such as dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia in people of all ages.   

Joseph Goldberger, a physician and epidemiologist, had identified pellagra as a nutritional deficiency. Unbeknownst to him, Goldberger’s discovery would pave future in-roads for the first NAD+ booster. 


A former art student, Hans von Euler-Chelpin, continued Harden and Young’s work. Euler-Chelpin studied the details of the reactions that happened during yeast fermentation.  

Euler-Chelpin was able to essentially “purify” NAD+, credited with uncovering the first insights about NAD+’s chemical shape and properties. 


A physicist, Otto Heinrich Warburg, had uncovered that NAD+ was an essential part of yet another crucial chemical reaction: hydride transfer.  

Hydride transfers happen any time there’s an exchange of a hydrogen atom and its accompanying electrons.  

Warburg’s research showed that NAD+ accepts a hydrogen atom and its electrons to become NADH


Conrad Elvehjem, an American biochemist, continued Joseph Goldberger’s work on pellagra. Elvehjem found that nicotinic acid, a form of vitamin B3, cured pellagra. 

Nicotinic acid, also known as niacin, would eventually be used as a vitamin supplement to cure pellagra nationwide. Elvehjem’s discovery would help discover the pathway to boost NAD+ using vitamins.  


Arthur Kornberg, an American biochemist, combined Euler-Chelpin’s and Elvehjem’s work to understand how your body creates NAD+. He separated NAD+ and recombined it with other isolated components, replicating the creation of NAD+.  

Kornberg discovered the first enzyme that builds NAD+ in the body.  


Jack Preiss and Philip Handler, scientists that delved deeper into Kornberg's work, published a paper illustrating how niacin (nicotinic acid) is converted into NAD+ in three steps and identified the proteins and enzymes responsible for them.  

These steps have been aptly named the Preiss-Handler Pathway.  


Paul Mandel of the University of Strasbourg’s Institute of Biochemistry identified a reaction that broke NAD+ into two separate parts: nicotinamide and ADP-ribose.  

Mandel's findings helped biochemists understand how essential NAD+ is to fuel cellular energy metabolism. 


Dr. Charles Brenner, continuing his predecessors’ work on yeast, discovered another pathway to create NAD+.   

Brenner discovered nicotinamide riboside, the active ingredient in Tru Niagen®, as a new form of vitamin B3 and precursor to NAD+. Later studies demonstrated it’s far more efficient at supporting NAD+ levels than other forms of vitamin B3.  

Tru Niagen® has strong roots. 

The path to Tru Niagen® began in a distillery in the 1800s and continues today through groundbreaking research across the globe. ChromaDex External Research Program, the R&D program behind Tru Niagen®, partners with hundreds of the world’s leading academic institutions. These pioneers built the necessary framework to make Tru Niagen® one of the most extraordinary supernutrients in modern science.   

While their science may seem futuristic, the ethos of our scientists remains the same. By preserving the same trailblazing spirit as their predecessors, our scientists hope to unlock the full potential of NAD+ and push the boundaries of aging.   


Learn more about our science.