They have definitely found the substance (nicotinamide riboside) in milk, and say it probably exists in beer but it is too minute to even detect...
Good news from milk drinkers and potentially good news for beer drinkers, from UK's Daily Mail (6/7/2012):
The miracle molecule: Hidden vitamin found in BEER and MILK can make you stronger, slimmer and healthier
It can improve muscular performance and prevent diabetes
If you were planning on having a quick pint tonight, then this will be welcome news.
Beer may contain a vitamin which can fight obesity and improve muscle strength, scientists claim.
The ‘miracle molecule’, which has been found in milk and may also be present in beer and some foods, has no side effects and could even lengthen lifespan, they say.
The snag is that the molecule, called nicotinamide riboside (NR), is extremely small, difficult to find and expensive to synthesise.
Johnan Auwerx, head of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland, said experiments using mice revealed the molecule’s potential.
In an article in the specialist journal Cell Metabolism journal, Mr Auwerx called the results 'impressive'
'NR appears to play a role in preventing obesity,' said Mr Auwerx.
Working with Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, his team found mice on a high-fat diet that were fed NR gained significantly less weight – 60 per cent – than mice eating the same diet without NR supplements.
And none of the NR-treated mice had indications that they were developing diabetes, unlike the untreated mice.
Mice which were fed NR supplements over a ten-week period had better endurance performance than those who were not.
They were also in better shape – and this was confirmed by observations of their muscle fibres under the microscope.
The molecule works by becoming trapped in cells where it boosts the metabolism, much like resveratrol, which is found in wine.
No side effects were discovered during the experiments.
'It really appears that cells use what they need when they need it, and the rest is set aside without being transformed into any kind of deleterious form,' said study author Carles Canto in a statement.
Mice who had been fed the molecule also performed better in endurance tests, as well as in tests measuring heat loss.
The researchers believe an increase in the molecule reflects an improvement in mitochondrial function, the part of the cell that supplies energy.
Mitochondria are thought to play a part in the aging process. It is hoped that by stimulating mitochondrial function with the NR molecule, scientists may see increases in longevity as well as other health improvements.
But the molecule is difficult to reproduce and extremely small. 'At the moment, we can’t even measure its concentration in milk, so it’s impossible to know how much you would have to drink to be able to observe its effects,' Mr Auwerx added.
Research will continue with human testing at some point in the future.