Substance in Milk Offers Obesity Protection, Study Finds

It turns out that the old commercial slogan “Milk: it does a body good”, might have really been onto something.  Researchers reported in last month’s issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, that a natural ingredient found in milk provides some protection against obesity, even while eating a high fat diet. The ingredient, known as nicotinamide riboside, was discovered as researchers looked for a new ways to boost the well-known gene SIRT1, which is beneficial to both metabolism and longevity. It’s been demonstrated that a way to accomplish this is to directly target SIRT1, as the red wine ingredient resveratrol has been shown to do. Nicotinamide riboside appears to target SIRT1 in a simpler manner, by boosting levels of NAD+, one of SIRT1’s molecular “sidekicks”. The study found that mice that received fairly high doses of nicotinamide riboside along with high-fat meals burned more fat and were protected from obesity.  Additionally, they became better runners due to better muscle endurance.

The researchers caution that the substance would likely behave differently in humans when consumed as just a glass or two of milk. These benefits observed in mice likely wouldn’t be easy to get from drinking milk alone—more likely the compound would serve as a new kind of metabolism-boosting supplement.  Research in humans is needed to further study the substance. The findings indicate that nicotinamide riboside ultimately provides the same benefits attributed to resveratrol, but in a different way. You can learn more about the obesity-fighting ingredients found in red wine here.

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