How Does Taking Vitamin B3 Helps Treat Acute Kidney Injury?

Topic Overview

Of late, various studies have been conducted on the efficacy of vitamin B3 in treating chronic kidney diseases. These studies have reflected that there is a potential that taking oral vitamin B3 might not only treat but also prevent acute kidney injuries. An individual is said to have an acute kidney injury when the renal system of that individual suddenly stops functioning. In majority of the cases, this happens due to prolonged hospitalization for some other medical condition. Studies estimate that around 10% of people who are hospitalized for some major illness tend to develop acute kidney injury [1].

Even though this dysfunction of the kidney is a temporary phase but when it occurs it can sometimes be fatal for the patient. The National Institute of Health states that the number of fatalities due to acute kidney injury has been ever increasing. When the renal system shuts down due to acute kidney injury, the waste products of the body start to accumulate in the blood. The balance of the fluids in the body also gets affected by this [1].

This condition is seen mostly in the elderly population who have hospitalized for prolonged periods of time are at maximum risk for acute kidney injury. There are various ways to treat acute kidney injury. Researchers however have come across vitamin B3 as a potential treatment for acute kidney injury. This article highlights how vitamin B3 can treat acute kidney injury [1].

How Vitamin B3 Treats Acute Kidney Injury?

A latest research done by the team led by Dr. Samir Parikh who is a kidney specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston suggests that vitamin B3 may be a potential treatment for acute kidney injury in people who are most risk for this condition. The findings of the study are published in Nature Medicine which is a popular journal. Dr. Parikh conducted the research using a mice model with acute kidney injury. The team studied the animal and they found that it had low levels of a chemical called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide which is also known as NAD+ [1].

This chemical is the final product that is left behind after complete metabolism of vitamin B3. The tests also showed an increased level of another chemical called quinolinate which is formed before NAD+. The researchers concluded that an enzyme that converts quinolinate to NAD+ was missing or malfunctioning from the mouse model. The enzyme was identified as QPRT. To further investigate this, the team used genetic editing to create a mouse that had decreased QPRT enzymes but had a completely healthy and functional kidney [1].

They very soon observed that the mice started to develop symptoms of acute kidney injury with decreased levels of NAD+ and high levels of quinolinate. This proved that QPRT was a major contributor in the development of acute kidney injury. The researchers then carried out human trials to check for increased levels of quinolinate and malfunctioning CPRT enzyme [1].

They came to the conclusion that patients who underwent a major surgery and were predisposed to developing acute kidney injury had increased levels of quinolinate in their urine. The researchers also administered increased dosage of vitamin B3 to 40 patients who underwent major cardiac surgery. The results showed that the synthesis of NAD+ became impaired postsurgery and augmenting it with vitamin B3 not only improved production of NAD+ but also decreased the levels of quinolinate [1].

Additionally, there were no adverse effects observed after augmentation of vitamin B3 in those patients. This proved that vitamin B3 effectively decreased the risk of acute kidney injury and in fact helped in treating it. The team lead further added that urinalysis done on patients who were at maximum risk for acute kidney injury clearly showed this impairment and was an early predictor of any adverse event caused by acute kidney injury [1].

Restoring normal production of NAD+ was the key to avoiding this condition and vitamin B3 was quite effective in restoring normal production of NAD+. However, the researchers cited that further research needs to be done to confirm these findings. Dr. Parikh however suggests that in the future it is quite possible that there will be noninvasive methods available to test for NAD+ and even treat acute kidney injury by increasing the levels of NAD+ through vitamin B3 as one of the methods. This is because studies have found out that vitamin B3 was a safe and effective way to boost NAD+ levels in high risk patients [1].

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