I’m traveling this week due to a speaking engagement. I’d like to discuss, however, an important note from a reader regarding an article I’d written here about two products, nicotinamide riboside (NR) and pterostilbene. Both are manufactured by ChromaDex, which first brought modern pharmaceutical practices to the world of natural compounds; something that is sorely needed due to the widely reported lack of quality control in this area.
I mentioned the company name, in fact, because ChromaDex owns critical patents covering the usage and manufacturing of NR and pterostilbene. As I’ve previously written here, there is a significant amount of fraud in the natural products space, so it’s important that supplements come from proven and ethical sources. Whenever some new substance starts to generate press, it is nearly inevitable that questionable suppliers will claim to have similar or better products, so it seemed to me that I should tell readers that I’m not recommending anything labeled NR or pterostilbene that didn’t originally come from ChromaDex.
My reader pointed out, however, that I ought to tell readers of Tech Digest whether or not I’ve recommended buying ChromaDex stock in my subscription service, Transformational Technology Alert. I think my reader is correct because someone might make the case that I am writing about these products, not because of their scientific promise but because I want to help the company and, therefore, my readers who have bought stock in ChromaDex.
So, let me make it clear that I have recommended ChromaDex stock. It is currently listed in the Transformational Technology Alert model portfolio as “buy below” a specific price. At writing, ChromaDex trades above that price, making it a “watch list” stock and not an active buy. It didn’t occur to me when I mentioned the manufacturer’s name in Tech Digest that it might present the appearance of a conflict of interest, but it might and I thank my reader for pointing it out.
If you’d like to read another recent article about NR and pterostilbene, I would recommend the David Stipp Scientific American piece. Stipp is famously skeptical of just about everything, but he is well respected and does a very good job of explaining the science behind these two compounds. He also summarizes well the kind of scientific endorsements they are receiving.
Specifically, he writes about the startup Elysium Health founded by noted MIT biologist Lenny Guarente. Guarente’s new supplement does, in fact, use the compounds manufactured by ChromaDex. You should read the entire essay, titled “Beyond Resveratrol: The Anti-Aging NAD Fad” but I’ll excerpt two paragraphs here.
In early February, Elysium Health, a startup cofounded by Sinclair’s former mentor, MIT biologist Lenny Guarente, jumped into the NAD game by unveiling another supplement with NR. Dubbed Basis, it’s only offered online by the company. Elysium is taking no chances when it comes to scientific credibility. Its website lists a dream team of advising scientists, including five Nobel laureates and other big names such as the Mayo Clinic’s Jim Kirkland, a leader in geroscience, and biotech pioneer Lee Hood. I can’t remember a startup with more stars in its firmament.
A few days later, ChromaDex reasserted its first-comer status in the NAD game by announcing that it had conducted a clinical trial demonstrating that “a single dose of NR resulted in statistically significant increases” in NAD in humans—the first evidence that supplements could really boost NAD levels in people. Details of the study won’t be out until it’s reported in a peer-reviewed journal, the company said. (ChromaDex also brandishes Nobel credentials: Roger Kornberg, a Stanford professor who won the Chemistry prize in 2006, chairs its scientific advisory board. He’s the son of Nobel laureate Arthur Kornberg, who, ChromaDex proudly notes, was among the first scientists to study NR some 60 years ago.)
John Mauldin and I have been using both NR and pterostilbene for several years based purely on the research, but I’m happy to have so many prominent scientists and Nobel laureates get on board. Incidentally, I’ve also pointed out that there is another natural compound, a heat stabilized oxaloacetate, which also acts as an NAD+ precursor. The company that owns the patents related to this compound is Terra Biological LLC, which markets the product as benaGene.
Terra Biological is not publicly traded, so it’s not possible to recommend buying stock in the company, but my same caution in regards to the sourcing of oxaloacetate applies. Terra Biologic is the only valid source of oxaloacetate and, like ChromaDex, manufactures in GMP facilities. ChromaDex is getting a lot more support from top scientists as well as media attention right now, but I honestly don’t yet know how the two products will compare when more is known about them. Until then, I’m taking both. A recent animal study indicates, by the way, that oxaloacetate is synergistic with L-carnitine.Finally, I’d like to thank the reader who wrote in regarding ChromaDex. I welcome your questions and look forward to answering more in the future.
Editor, Transformational Technology Alert
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