Iowa City, IA--A new animal study from researchers at the University of Iowa found that giving nursing rodents a supplemental form of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide riboside; NR) lead to physical and behavioral benefits for the moms and their babies.

In the study, published inCell Reports, mother mice given NR lost weight faster than nursing mice that did not receive the supplement. What's more, according to areleasefrom the University, the NR group produced more milk, and that milk was of higher quality, containing higher levels of a protein factor that promotes brain development.

Benefits to the babies were significant, the researchers report. The pups of moms given the supplement were bigger and in better metabolic health than those in the control group. And the benefits extended into adulthood, as the NR group had better motor coordination, better learning and memory and less anxiety.

“Improving the mom’s micronutrition with NR supplementation increased the quantity and quality of her milk, and the effects on the offspring were apparent from the day the mouse pups opened their eyes and started to move around,” lead study author Charles Brenner, Ph.D., said in the release. “Now we want to know if NR can safely increase lactation in women and if taking NR increases the levels of bioactive factors in human milk like it does in mice and rats.”

Dr. Brenner added, "We are really excited to test whether NR will improve lactation in women and whether it will have some of these exciting secondary outcomes like increasing maternal weight loss and potentially improving childhood development.”

The study was supported in part by grants from ChromaDex Corp., which produces patent-protected NR commercially known as NAD. The company explained in apress releasethat NR is a cell-charging vitamin clinically proven to boost NAD, a coenzyme as essential to cells as food, water, and oxygen.

“This groundbreaking work opens the door to more research into how nicotinamide riboside could be used to improve the lives of women and their children,"  said Bruce German, Ph.D., professor at the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis and member of the ChromaDex Scientific Advisory Board, in the ChromaDex release.

ChromaDex CEO Rob Fried added, “We are excited that this latest study extends our existing body of research and greatly adds to our understanding of the potential of this unique vitamin."