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This popular dietary supplement causes cancer: Research

Using dietary supplements like nicotinamide riboside (NR), a type of vitamin B3, can potentially raise your risk of acquiring serious illnesses like cancer, according to recent studies from the University of Missouri.

High levels of NR were found to not only increase the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer but also to cause cancer to metastasise or spread to the brain, according to the findings of an international team of researchers led by Elena Goun, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Missouri.

Goun was inspired by her father’s death to work toward a deeper scientific knowledge of cancer metabolism, or the energy by which cancer spreads in the body, when her 59-year-old father passed away only three months after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Goun was interested in learning more about the function of NR in the initiation and progression of cancer because NR is a known dietary supplement that aids in boosting cellular energy levels, and cancer cells use this energy to fuel their accelerated metabolism.

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Given the widespread commercial availability and the several ongoing human clinical trials where NR is being used to lessen the negative effects of cancer therapy in patients, Goun considers the research very crucial.

“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.”

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According to Goun, once cancer has spread to the brain, there are currently no effective treatments available. The study’s findings, according to Goun, highlight the significance of thoroughly examining the potential adverse effects of supplements like NR before their use in individuals who may have a variety of health issues.

“While NR is already being widely used in people and is being investigated in so many ongoing clinical trials for additional applications, much of how NR works is a black box — it’s not understood,” Goun said.

“So that inspired us to come up with this novel imaging technique based on ultrasensitive bioluminescent imaging that allows quantification of NR levels in real-time in a non-invasive manner. The presence of NR is shown with light, and the brighter the light is, the more NR is present,” the researcher added.

(With ANI inputs)

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