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Natural Molecule in Coffee Enhances Aging Muscle Function

Natural Molecule in Coffee Enhances Aging Muscle Function

The naturally occurring molecule trigonelline, found in coffee, fenugreek, and even within the human body, has the potential to enhance muscle health and function. ()

Through an international collaboration involving the University of Southampton, University of Melbourne, University of Tehran, University of South Alabama, University of Toyama, and University of Copenhagen, this project expands upon a prior collaborative study that uncovered innovative mechanisms underlying human sarcopenia.

What is Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is a condition where cellular changes that happen during ageing gradually weaken the muscles in the body and lead to accelerated loss of muscle mass, strength and reduced physical independence.

One important problem during sarcopenia is that the cellular cofactor NAD+ declines during ageing, while mitochondria, the energy powerhouses in our cells, produce less energy. The study team discovered that levels of trigonelline were lower in older people with sarcopenia. Providing this molecule in pre-clinical models resulted in increased levels of NAD+, increased mitochondrial activity and contributed to the maintenance of muscle function during ageing.

NAD+ levels can be enhanced with different dietary precursors like the essential amino acid L-tryptophan (L-Trp), and vitamin B3 forms such as nicotinic acid (NA), nicotinamide (NAM), nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN).

Assistant Professor Vincenzo Sorrentino from the Healthy Longevity Translational Research Programme at NUS Medicine added, “Our findings expand the current understanding of NAD+ metabolism with the discovery of trigonelline as a novel NAD+ precursor and increase the potential of establishing interventions with NAD+-producing vitamins for both healthy longevity and age-associated diseases applications”.

Nutrition and physical activity are important lifestyle recommendations to maintain healthy muscles during ageing. “We were excited to discover through collaborative research that a natural molecule from food cross-talks with cellular hallmarks of ageing. The benefits of trigonelline on cellular metabolism and muscle health during ageing opens promising translational applications,” said Jerome Feige, Head of the Physical Health department at Nestlé Research.


  1. Trigonelline is an NAD+ precursor that improves muscle function during ageing and is reduced in human sarcopenia – (


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