Is Basis by Elysium Health a Hoax? – ALIVE BY SCIENCE – Bioavailable NAD+ Boosters

Is Basis by Elysium Health a Hoax?

The main ingredient in Elysium Health’s Basis is Nicotinamide Riboside (NR).

Elysium Health is only one of several companies selling Nicotinamide Riboside (NR). Their main selling point is the 6 Nobel Prize winning scientists they have signed up as advisors to their company. That is certainly very impressive and lends great credibility to the company.

However, these scientists have had no significant role in researching or creating the Nicotinamide Riboside or the Pterostilbene they combine with it to form their Basis product.


You won’t find any mention of Niagen in the sales and marketing literature about Basis.

Elysium would like you to think that Basis is an exclusive formula created by their founders.

In fact, until recently, they purchased Nicotinamide Riboside and Pterostilbene from Chromadex like several other brands.

Ongoing lawsuits between Chromadex and Elysium Health resulted in a new formulation for Basis that uses Nicotinamide Riboside they manufacture themselves.

There is no reason to believe Basis is any more effective than any other Nicotinamide Riboside.

NMN and nad+ supplements have advantages

Chromadex and Elysium Health are fighting over the patents for use of Nicotinamide Riboside with hopes to reap the windfalls that come with controlling the market.

However, the research that shows the most dramatic results in health from restoring NAD+ levels was actually accomplished by feeding mice Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN). (r,r,r).

There have also been many studies showing benefits from using NAD+ injections in mice (r), but the obvious difficulty of using injections in humans has limited the interest.

Both NAD+ and NMN have significant advantages over NR for restoring NAD+ levels throughout the body.

Poor Bioavailability from Capsules

NAD+ is not effective in drinking water or in capsule form.
The NAD+ molecule is twice as large as NR or NMN, and is completely degraded in the gastrointestinal tract, so researchers do not use NAD+ in drinking water of mice and it is not sold in capsule form for humans.

NAD+ in IV or IP injections
Research has been successful using NAD+ injections in mice.

In humans, clinics that provide NAD+ by IV are exploding in popularity, even though they charge over $1,000 a day and require the patient to be hooked up to a drip IV for 8 hours.

Our Restoration Clinic in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida offers 750 mg of pharmaceutical-grade, lyophilized NAD+ that is administered in less than 2-hours and is followed by a vitamin push that has 19 essential vitamins, minerals and amio acids. We see athletes, celebrities, high-level executives and everyone in between.

NMN and NR poor bioavailability in capsules
NMN and NR capsules are only partially digested in the stomach, but are almost totally metabolized in the liver and eliminated as NAM, a byproduct. (Liu, 2018)

Sublingual delivery solves the bioavailability problem

Molecules like NMN, NR and NAD+ that have low molecular weight and are hydrophilic can be absorbed through the capillaries under the tongue directly into the bloodstream. This is called sublingual delivery – under the tongue.

ALIVE BY SCIENCE was the first to create a sublingual NMN tablet for optimal absorption.

Sublingual Delivery can Bypass the Stomach and Liver.

This solves the bioavailability problem of capsules, which are degraded in the stomach. Sublingual delivery of the NAD+ compound enables it to be just as effective as NAD+ precursors.

This advanced absorption method allows NMN molecules to be delivered to cells and tissues intact for the first time, which increases systemic NAD+ levels.

More about Sublingual
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This research published in 2018 confirms that most oral supplements of NMN and NR are digested to NAM in the GI tract or the liver.

At 50Mg/Kg of body weight,  NO NR or NMN made it out of the liver intact.

Future pharmacological and nutraceutical efforts to boost NAD will need to take into account the minimal oral bioavailability of NR and NMN (R)

Unlike in cell culture where NR and NMN are readily incorporated into NAD, oral administration fails to deliver NR or NMN to tissues (R)

Interestingly, we found that neither compound was able to enter the circulation intact in substantial quantities when delivered orally (R)

There is a lot of research and debate about which molecules most easily enter different types of cells.

That question is totally irrelevant if a molecule NEVER REACHES THE BLOODSTREAM.

This study used a small dose – 50 Mg/Kg of bodyweight (equivalent to 250 Mg for a 70 kg human), vs the 300-400 Mg/Kg commonly tested in other research. Perhaps higher dosages allow NAD+ precursors to make it past the Liver to other tissues.

It is clear that for Oral Supplements (Capsules), the bioavailability of any NAD+ precursor is very poor outside of the Liver.


Sublingual (under the tongue) delivery can provide rapid absorption via the blood vessels under the tongue rather than via the digestive tract. (r,r,r)

The absorption of the different molecules delivered through the sublingual route can be 3 to 10 times greater than oral route and is only surpassed by direct IV injection (r).


With intraperitoneal injection, the primary route of absorption is via the mesenteric vessels, which drain into the portal vein and pass through the liver before reaching the bloodstream.

This means, IP avoids the GI tract, but is still sent directly to the Liver, where much of it is converted to NAD+. Elevated NAD+ in the liver is good, but its far better to reach the bloodstream with intact NMN.

Sublingual delivery is not filtered by the Liver and can reach systemic circulation intact, so can actually result in greater bioavailability that direct injection! Some examples are:

  • A sublingual formulation of zol… exhibited a faster rate of absorption and higher drug exposure as compared to subcutaneous injection (r)
  • sublingually administered epin… results in more rapid absorption and a higher peak plasma concentration compared to injected epin… .(r)
  • 40mg of sublingually administered pir.. was found to be as effective as a 75 mg intramuscular injection of dicl… (r)


NAD+ can be synthesized in humans from several different molecules (precursors), thru  the De Novo  and Salvage Pathways.

The salvage pathway sustains 85% or more of our NAD+ (14), with approximately 3g of NAM metabolized to NMN and then to NAD 2-4 times per day (14).

Nampt is the rate-limiting step in the salvage process (97).

As we age, Nampt enzyme activity is lower, resulting in less NAM recycling, less NAD+, more disease and aging (97,101).


Restoring NAD+ in the Liver does not solve NAD+ deficiency throughout the body.

In the Liver, the CD38 enzyme metabolizes NAD+ to NAM, which is excreted to the rest of the body (r).

Sublingual delivery of NMN or NAD+ directly to the bloodstream bypasses the liver and the Nampt bottleneck that is the root cause of NAD+ deficiency in many tissues.

Why no sublingual NR?

Nicotinamide Riboside is not stable by itself so Chromadex and Elysium Health both add Chloride to make it stable. NR is  Nicotinamide Riboside with Chloride, making the taste unacceptable for sublingual use.

NR is only available in capsule form, which much pass through the stomach and liver where it is metabolized to the less effective Nicotinamide. (Liu, 2018) .


Restores NAD+ in brain, Increases Metabolism

Once in the bloodstream NAD+ was thought to be too large to cross the cell membrane, making it ineffective at restoring the NAD+ contents inside the cells of many tissues. In this article we show that is not true for heart and brain, and perhaps other tissues.

In fact, this research published in March 2018 shows NAD+ is able to cross the blood brain barrier and quickly increases levels of NAD+ in the hypothalamus, while NR and NMN do not.

Administration of 1 mg/kg of NAD+ reduced hunger and weight gain, and increases energy expenditure and fat burning in mice (r).

Elevating NAD+ levels the hypothalamus has great impact throughout the body, as it regulates hunger and energy expenditure.

Restoring NAD+ levels in the hypothalamus to those of a young animal is very likely to have a positive impact on organs and tissues throughout the body.

(more about the importance of hypothalamus as master regulator of metabolism below)

Even more tantalizing are the possible implications for aging itself.
That the hypothalamus as master aging clock, is a credible theory on aging.

Not limited by homeostasis
<!–– Sublingual NAD+ not limited by liver homeostasis template ––>


Blood Vessel Re-growth, Strength, Endurance

NMN shows a particular ability to restore vascular growth and benefit tissues such as muscle and heart that haven’t been replicated in studies with NR or NAD+.

Below are the three studies that made the biggest splash’s about the potential for reversing aging by restoring NAD+ to youthful levels that have ALL been accomplished using NMN

After 6 days of NMN, 22 month old mice  had the muscle capacity, endurance and metabolism of 6 month old  mice (2013 Sinclair study)

NMN effectively mitigates age-associated physiological decline in mice (2016 Mills Long Term study)

“The old mice became as fit and strong as young mice” (Sinclair, 2018)

The third study identifies the key cellular mechanisms behind vascular aging and the critical role it plays on muscle health.

Dr Sinclairs team fed NMN to old mice. After two months, the mice had increased muscular blood flow, enhanced physical performance and endurance and the old mice became as fit and strong as young mice.

NEW BLOOD VESSELS sprouted within the skeletal muscles, capillary density increased and matched the capillary growth of young mice.

  • NMN restored the vascular system of old mice to that of young mice.
  • Mice treated with NMN had  had nearly 100% increased endurance.

Renewed capillary growth and increased blood flow may help reverse heart and neurological problems in addition to sarcopenia.

According to Dr. Sinclair, the same mechanism could spur the creation of blood vessels in the brain, where “the lack of oxygen and buildup of waste products sets off a downward spiral of disease and disability”.

NMN is stable in the bloodstream

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Sublingual NMN does bypass the liver to send the NMN direct to the bloodstream where it can be used by cells that have their own salvage pathway to increase intercellular NAD+.

In vivo, NMN is found in blood plasma. When added to blood in vitro, it is stable. (Canto,Brenner 2016)

Our results further demonstrate that while NR is spontaneously converted to NAM in cell-free plasma, NMN is more resistant to this process.

On the contrary, NMN is stable in plasma and there is no NAM increase in NMN samples up to 1 h incubation.


homeostasis uncertain
<!–– homeostasis effect on NAD+ from NMN unclear template ––>

500% NAD+ increase with NMN ?
The chart at right shows NAD+ increase measured in the liver (and soleus muscle) after 60 days of supplementation with NMN (Sinclair, 2018).

This is the best indication we have to date, but was with mice. With humans, there has been a Japanese clinical study completed, and one by Dr Sinclair, but neither has yet published the results.

We doubt they will show anywhere near this 500% increase, as NMN and NR are so closely related. But this does provide some hope that NMN is not subject to the same limits on the long-term increase of NAD+ levels as have been found with NR (above).

Clinical Studies

Completed and pending publication

Beginning 2018

  • 2018 Sinclair Metrobio study – Phase 2

The Phase 1 study by Dr Sinclair has been completed, and they are ready to go forward with the Phase 2 study, so we can conclude there were positive results, and no negative side effects, else they would have to publish those immediately.

In the University of Washington study, participants are 50 healthy women between 55 and 70 years of age with slightly high blood glucose,BMI and triglyceride levels.

Using a dose of 2 capsules of 125mg NMN per day over a period of 8 weeks, researchers are testing for:

  • change in beta-cell function
  • works to control blood sugar
  • blood vessels dilate
  • effects of NMN on blood lipids
  • effects of NMN on body fat
  • markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health

The active supplementation portion of this study has ended, but testing of metabolic parameters will continue for 2 years after supplementation has ended.  So researchers know the immediate effects and  preliminary results are expected to be announced in 2018, with  final results expected in 2020.


NR is NOT STABLE and not found in blood plasma
<!–– NR is NOT STABLE and not found in blood plasma Template ––>

NR effective in liver short term
<!–– NR effective in liver short term ––>

The Trammell research shows that in the liver, NMN and NAD+ must be degraded to NR before crossing the cell membrane before converting back to NMN and then NAD+. This may be why a single dose of NR increases NAD+ levels in the liver more than NMN, NAM, NA and other NAD+ metabolites as shown here.

This short term advantage for NR in the liver does not apply to all tissues, as both NMN and NAD+ have been shown to cross the cellular membrane in heart, brain, and other tissues.

<!–– NR increase in NAD+ limited by HOMEOSTASIS template ––>

The Liver is the “engine” that supplies the great majority of NAD+ to the rest of the body (Liu,2018).

In the Trammel thesis, Dr Brenner consumed 1000 mg of NR. At day 1, his NAD+ was increased by 270%.

The Elysium study used 500 mg of NR per day (plus pterostilbene). NAD+ was increased in blood plasma by 90% at 30 days, and dropped to 55% at 60 days.

The authors of the Elysium study believe that homeostasis limits the maximum increase in NAD+ that can be sustained over the long term.

High levels of NAD+ can induce homeostatic mechanisms to restrain further increases.

This may explain why those taking NR capsules often report increased energy, which seems to fade after some time. Homeostasis has brought their NAD+ levels back down and the hypothalamus isn’t getting the message to increase metabolism as it did back on day 1.

While 50% increase is helpful, keep in mind that as we age, our NAD+ levels drop in half. So the average person would need to DOUBLE their NAD+ levels – a 100% increase – to reach the levels they have in youth.

<!–– NAD,NMN, NR Summary ––>


    • Sublingual delivery is required for all NAD+ metabolites and precursors to avoid digestion in the stomach and liver.
    • NAD+ clinics use slow drip IV of NAD+ to avoid the stomach and liver. They are exploding in popularity, but the extreme cost and time required for treatment severely limit their application for the general public.
    • Sublingual NAD+ delivery solves the bioavailability problem and mimics the slow drip delivery used successfully by NAD+ IV clinics.
    • Sublingual NAD+ is not subject to the homeostasis that limits NAD+ increase with NR (and perhaps NMN), as it is supplied directly to the bloodstream.
    • We believe the ability of NAD+ to increase metabolism through the hypothalamus has a great impact on the entire body. This is accomplished directly from increased NAD+ circulating in blood plasma, and not from NMN or NR.
    • Other organs such as heart, liver, kidney, and lungs also clearly benefit from increased circulating NAD+, but there is evidence NR an NMN may have similar effectiveness.
    • Exogenous NR increases circulating NAD+ levels, but after several weeks, that increase is severely limited by homeostasis.
    • Exogenous NMN elevates NAD+ levels similar to NR, but seems to be less limited by homeostasis. Publication of recently completed research should shed more light on that question.

NMN demonstrates a remarkable ability to rapidly restore vascular growth that has not been shown with use of NR or NAD+.


Sublingual NAD+ will lead to a greater increase in circulating NAD+ than NR or NMN supplements.