University of Missouri researchers made the discovery while using bioluminescent imaging technology to study how nicotinamide riboside supplements work.
MU Chemistry

New research from the University of Missouri focused on imaging technology in an animal model found commercial dietary supplements like nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3, has the potential to increase the prevalence of a particular form of cancer and its metastasis to the brain.

The international team of researchers led by Elena Goun, associate professor of chemistry, developed a novel imaging probe based on ultrasensitive bioluminescent imaging to better understand NR uptake. They applied this probe to identify particular cancers that possess high uptake of NR, such as triple-negative breast cancer (TBNC). Results from the study also gave an insight that NR supplementation could enhance cancer prevalence and spread to the brain. These findings have not been studied in humans, said Goun, who is the corresponding author on the study. Goun explained that similar to the majority of other studies on beneficial effects of NR supplementation, this study was performed in small animal models. The findings were in agreement with previous work published by several other independent research groups.

“Some people take them [vitamins and supplements] because they automatically assume that vitamins and supplements only have positive health benefits, but very little is known about how they actually work,” Goun said. “Because of this lack of knowledge, we were inspired to study the basic questions surrounding how vitamins and supplements work in the body.”