“The one daily supplement your cells need.” Wow! That is a very powerful statement and was the first thing I noticed when I was asked to review Elysium Basis. No, not the Matt Damon movie, Elysium, but an anti aging supplement whose website says is a “a clinically-validated formulation designed to support well-being at the cellular level.” In short Basis is a NAD supplement. Well talk about what NAD is, and why its important, below. I've had an interest in anti-aging science, also called gerontology or “geroscience” since I was 13 years old. So of all the of supplements I review on this site, those that promise the fountain of youth, often get my attention. It turns out, there is some research on the Basis supplement as well. So, Does Basis by Elysium really work or is it a scam? Let's look at the evidence.
Why A “Critical Review?”
I did not use the word critical in the title to slam the product. In the science world a “critical review” provides information that the author (me in this case) feels is important (critical) for others to know. Lot's of people are talking about the Elysium supplement these days, but few have looked at the research like I have.
So, look at all the other reviews and compare it to what you learn here. The more information you have, the better decision you can make.
Elysium Basis Benefits
So, whats all the hype about this supplement? From the product website, Basis by Elysium is said to offer these benefits:
- Raise NAD+ levels (more about that below)
- Metabolic Repair & Optimization (whatever that is?)
A byproduct of these is, of course, the promise of “anti-aging.” Slowing down the aging process is not specifically mentioned on the Elysium website but a drop in cellular NAD levels is thought in some circles to play a role in aging.
Thus, anything that might raise NAD+, might – in theory – help reverse or slow down aging and the conditions that are associated with growing older. I'll address this the possibility in the sections below.
Elysium Basis Ingredients
Each 2 capsules of Basis by Elysium contain the following ingredients:
- Nicotinamide riboside 250 mg
- Pterostilbene 50 mg
That's pretty straight forward as supplements go (I've seen some with dozens of ingredients). It's recommended to take 2 Elysium capsules per day.
Elysium Basis also contains:
- Microcrystalline Cellulose
- Vegetable Magnesium Stearate
These other ingredients likely play no role in the benefits of the product.
What Is NAD?
We can't discuss Elysium Basis without first talking about NAD (also written as NAD+). These letters stand for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide. It's pronounced “Nick-ah-tin-a-mide -Ad-a-neen-die-new-cleo-tide.”
NAD is compound that is related to the vitamin, niacin (vitamin B3). We make NAD from niacin and it's related vitamin niacinamide. We can also make NAD from the amino acid, tryptophan.
Sometimes NAD+ is called a coenzyme (or cofactor) because it helps enzymes work better. It's not an understatement to say that NAD is one of the most important coenzymes in the human body because it helps us make energy. Every cell in your body has this stuff.
Inside our cells are tiny fat-burning batteries called mitochondria. There is a LOT of NAD inside our mitochondria.
As NAD levels decline as we get older, the mitochondria make mistakes in how they do things. This in turn is related to aging.
Because of this, the mitochondria is a target of anti-aging therapies.
So, if NAD levels decline with age, can we turn back the clock by raising NAD levels?
That is the promise of this supplement.
How might raising NAD levels reverse aging? This is where sutins come in. Sirtuins (sir-two-ins) are genes that seem so play a role in the aging process. Sirtuin genes make sirtuin enzymes, protein machines that play roles in many things ranging from inflammation, keeping DNA healthy, and, it seems, the aging process too.
Translation: basically, NAD helps sirtuins work better.
NAD also helps cells talk to each other by way of a complex dance called “redox signaling.” See the ASEA water review for more on redox signaling.
Yes, this is all VERY complicated and so I won't try to explain it further than this.
In a nutshell, let's just say that NAD is very important. Because it is.
Now, let's turn our attention to the research on Elysium Basis and its ingredients. The research will best help people figure out if this supplement is right for them.
Let's do that now…
Elysium Basis Research
The Elysium Health website provides a summary of a company sponsored clinical study of their anti-aging supplement that compared Basis by Elysium to a placebo in humans.
The results showed that Elysium Basis promoted a 40% elevation in NAD levels compared to a placebo.
While this is good, the study does not -yet -appear to be peer reviewed.
The study seems to be well done, being a randomized, placebo controlled investigation. But, until it is published in a medical journal, so we can see everything that was done, it's difficult to say much more than this. When the study is published – and I assume it will be – this section will be updated.
This may or may not be the study of Elysium on elderly people mentioned on the ClinicalTrials website. I think it might be though.
Update. I believe the study has been published. The study is titled Repeat dose NRPT (nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene) increases NAD+ levels in humans safely and sustainably: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. In this study Elysium Basis is referred to as “NRPT.”
Elysium Basis Study Summary
- 120 men and women between 60-80 years of age
- Study lasted 3 months
The people were randomly given either:
- Elysium Basis 1x per day (250mg NR +50 Pterostilbene)
- Elysium Basis 2x per day (500 mg NR + Pterostilbene)
- The people were given various blood tests and physical fitness tests during the study
Elysium Basis Study Results
- Elysium Basis increases NAD levels
- Elysium (2x per day) raises NAD more than 1x per day (90% vs 40% respectively)
- No bad changes in liver enzymes occurred during the study (that's good)
- No bad changed in kidney function (that's good)
- Triglycerides decreased in placebo group but not in either of the Elysium Basis groups
- Basis (1x per day) promoted a drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) after 2 months of use
- Basis (2x/ per day) improved 6 minute walking time and 30 second chair stand test results (1x/day did not)
- Basis (2x/day) appeared to raise total cholesterol and LDL (might not be good)
Here are a few things that occurred to me as I read the study
No group compared nicotinamide riboside (NR) itself against Elysium Basis
While the study appears to be well conducted and an independent lab (KGK Synergy) conducted the research, employees (and stock holders) of Elysium Health took part in data collection and analysis of the data. This information is stated in the study.
Now, lets look at the clinical research on the ingredients in Elysium Basis and see what we can learn from them.
Elysium Basis Ingredients Research
As mentioned above, Basis is composed of two ingredients:
- Nicotinamide riboside
To make this easier, let's summarize the research on both separately.
Nicotinamide Riboside Research
First off, in case you wondered, it's pronounced “Nick-oh-tin-ah-mide Rye-bow-side.” It was originally discovered in cows milk and we can make it from tryptophan (an amino acid) as well as the vitamins niacin and niacinamide.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) comes from a company called ChromaDex Inc. (ChromaDex.com). This company invented NR and owns the US patents on it. ChromaDex allows other companies to purchase NR and use it in their NAD-booster supplements.
In fact, Chromadex even has their own NR supplement, called Niagen.
Another popular NR supplement is Niacel.
Nicotinamide riboside is the primary ingredient in Basis by Elysium. That's because research seems to show it can raise NAD levels. Because of this, nicotinamide riboside is touted to improve a wide array of things such as, but not limited to:
There are studies on all this – and more – out there. This is why NR is one of the most highly touted anti aging supplements today.
It all sounds great. But, most of the research involves lab animals or test tube studies. I'm sorry but we are not mice, rats, rabbits or isolated cells in test tubes.
We are more complicated than that.
One company-sponsored human investigation did appear to show that NR raised NAD levels in people. But, this study only involved 1 person.
Stay tuned for better research.
See the The Nicotinamide Riboside Review for more insights.
Pterostilbene (pronounced “Tera-STILL-Bean”) is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound that's related to resveratrol. Plants make this stuff in response to environmental stresses. Basically, it helps the plants stay healthy. This is true for many other plant chemicals we eat too.
Both pterostilbene and resveratrol are part of a larger class of plant chemicals called stillbenoids (still-ben-oids). Pterostilbene is found naturally in:
Pterstibene is likely used in Elysium, because it seems to be absorbed better than resveratrol.
It seems likely that pterstibene is in Elysium, because of its antioxidant and other properties. Not because it raises NAD. For example, blueberry juice (pterstilbene is in blueberries) has been shown to significantly increase the antioxidant enzyme Superoxide Disumtase (SOD) in rats.
So, whats the other research say? Most of the clinical studies appear to be lab animal or isolated cells in test tubes/petri dishes. The research is intriguing and appears to show pterostilbene may help
These and other effects would play a role in how fast we grow older.
A problem though is the most of the research is not on humans.
So, what do we know about pterostilbene and people?
One study involving that lasted 6-8 weeks, involving 80 people noted pterostilbene lowered blood pressure but also raised LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol. The amounts of Pterostilbene used in this study ranged from 100 to 250 mg per day. I'd like to see at least another study before I buy into pterostilbene raising cholesterol.
Interestingly this effect on raising LDL / total cholesterol was not seen when pterostilbene was combined with grape seed extract. This study also saw some very minor weight loss (about 1 pound) as well.
Another study (likely related to the one above) noted that pterostilbene seems to be safe up to 250 mg per day.
As more human research is published, this section of the review will be updated.
What's The Dosage?
How much Elysium Basis should you take? Elysium recommends taking 2 capsules per day. If you follow these directions, you are getting 250 mg of nicotinamide ribose and 50 mg of pterstibene. One very small human study of the Basis supplement has shown this will raise NAD levels. Each bottle of Elysium contains 60 capsules, a 1 month supply.
According to the 2017 Elysium study, doubling the dosage (500 NR & 100 pterstibene) almost doubles NAD levels. Whether or not this means it's twice as good, needs more research.
Do You Take It With Food Or Without Food?
The Elysium website says you can take Basis with or without food. But, because pterostilbene is fat soluble, I wonder if it might be best to take this supplement with food?
Elysium vs. Niacel
Niacel is popular NR supplement from a company called Throne Research. It contains nicotinamide riboside chloride, which is the fancy name for nicotinamide riboside, which is also in Elysium Basis. Currently there appear to be no comparisons on the effects or benefits of Niacel vs Elysium Basis to see which is better.
Elysium vs. Nicotinamide Riboside
Elysium Basis contains pterostilbene in addition to nicotinamide riboside. Does that mean Elysium is better than just taking nicotinamide riboside by itself? This is difficult to say because there seem to be no published, head-to-head studies that pit them against each other.
Maybe adding pterostilbene results in more benefits than taking NR alone – maybe it doesn't? Let's see what future studies show. Hey college students; this would make a good Thesis or Dissertation topic (hint, hint).
Elysium Basis vs. Protandim
Protandim, a product of a company called LifeVantage, is a very popular anti-aging supplement that has been around forever. One of the things Protandim is supposed to do is be an NRF2 activator. NRF2 helps antioxidant enzymes like SOD and glutathione work better. This, in turn, reduces free radical damage (oxidative stress). Well, it turns out that pterstilbene can activate NRF2 also.
So, the question then becomes, how does Protandim stack up against Basis by Elysium? For those wondering about this I can only say, that's a good question.
While both Protandim and Basis contain different ingredients, at the end of the day, both are supposed to do something similar – reduce oxidative stress (free radical damage) and, in theory, help aging on some level. Oxidative stress does seem to play a role in aging. This idea is often called The Free Radical Theory of Aging.
So is Basis better than Protandim or vice versa? It's hard to say either way until the studies are done. I doubt those studies will happen anytime soon.
See the Protandim Review for much more information.
Elysium vs. Niacin
Nicotinamide riboside is made from niacin. So, could someone get the same benefits -and save money – by just taking niacin? Niacin will increase NAD levels. While taking lots of niacin can also raise HDL levels, it can be a double-edged sword, being linked to several health issues such as liver problems and insulin resistance (pre-diabetes). As such, it's probably not recommended.
Niacinamide is a version of niacin that does not have those health problems. Niacinamide can also raise NAD levels.
So, could you just take niacindamide instead? Would the effects on NAD and benefits the same? While it's tempting to think this way, I would prefer to wait until human clinical trials become available.
Is It Basis By Elysium Vegan?
Yes. Basis by Elysium contains no ingredients from animal sources. It's vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and has no artificial colors or flavors.
Is it Kosher?
I'm not sure if Basis by Elysium is Kosher or not. The product website does not mention kosher certification.
Can Elysium Basis Cure Disease?
The main idea behind taking this supplement is that by raising NAD levels and reducing oxidative stress, people will reap the benefits of healthy aging and suffer from fewer diseases that can accompanying growing older. That said, the studies are just not there yet to say either way if taking the Basis supplements will do any of this. Anything is possible but, it's really going to take research to prove.
Who Makes Elysium Basis?
The company, is called Elysium Health Inc. Founded in 2014 by Leonard Guarente who is a respected biologist and anti-aging researcher. According to this Bloomberg article, it is a privately held company located at 200 Congress Park Drive Suite 205 Delray Beach, FL 33445. Searching online for this address (minus suite 205) reveals a large office building. Bloomberg also states that there is a “creation location” in Silicon Valley California.
To learn more about this, I called Elysium Health who told me that the Delray Beach FL address is not correct. The person I spoke with would not tell me where their home office is or where Elysium is made either.
To contact Elysium Health, call 888 220 6436. This number is listed on the Elysium website and the Bloomberg article above.
How Much Is Elysium Basis?
When this review was created, Elysium Health had these prices for Basis:
- 1 bottle: $60
- Monthly Plans ($40/ bottle)
With monthly plans, prices look like this:
- 1 year prepaid up front: $480
- 6 months prepaid up front $270
- Pay by the month: $50
It looks like to get Basis by Elysium for $40/bottle, you would have to pay a whole year up front ($40 X 12=$480). If paying monthly or every 6 month, it appears like they are adding a bit on to this amount. For what it's worth, I've never seen a supplement company with pay by the year price before.
Make Your Own Basis By Elysium?
Can you make your own Basis by Elysium and save money? Maybe.
Elysium has 2 ingredients: nicotinamide riboside (250 mg) and pterostilbene (50 mg).
Compare prices to make your own if that works best for you. Or you can buy it directly from ElysiumHealth.com and save the hassle.
Elysium / ChromaDex Lawsuit
This is a giant rabbit hole that I prefer not to go down, but I know people are talking about it so I'm going to just summarize what has been happening for those who want to do their own research. Basically, Elysium Health gets it's ingredients from ChromaDex (ChromaDex.com). They -as well as others – pay ChromaDex for the ingredients they use in the Basis supplement.
ChromaDex alleged that Elysium Health was not paying them for the ingredients and decided to take them to court. According to the supplement industry website, Nutriingredients, Elysium is no longer using ChromaDex, but someone else, to supply their ingredients.
It's all very complicated and from what I've seen, is as close to a soap opera as it gets. This is as far as I care to wade into these waters. Performing an online search for “Elysium ChromaDex lawsuit” should reveal many other sites that discuss this topic in greater detail.
Elysium Basis Side Effects
I believe in healthy people, Basis by Elysium is perfectly safe. There is even a human safety study that shows this also. Generally, I think most NAD supplements are pretty safe too. Even so, I feel the following general items should be considered:
- Stop taking Elysium at least 2 weeks before surgery.
- Basis is not intended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Elysium is not for kids. Their NAD levels are already high.
- Speak to your doctor/pharmacist if you take any medications.
One study noted that pterostilbene might promote a mild increase in LDL and total cholesterol. Other studies should determine if this is true or not. Interestingly the 2017 Elysium study also showed an elevation of total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol).
Looking through the online testimonials on Amazon, I noticed one diabetic say Niagen (a popular NR supplement) raised blood sugar levels. While I've not seen any study confirming this, niacin can raise blood sugar levels. NR is derived from niacin. How likely this effect might be is unknown. I normally disregard Amazon testimonials because you never know who is behind the words. But, given the gravity of this, diabetics should be aware and monitor blood sugar accordingly, just in case.
While I doubt if NR causes flushing (like niacin does), as a rule start, out with less than is recommended to see how you respond.
What I Like / Don't Like
Here is a quick run down of what I liked and didn't about the Basis supplement. These are my opinions based on what I've learned during this review. Take these for what you like.
|What I like||What I Didn't Like|
|Product has only 2 ingredients||Product is expensive|
|Ingredients have some research||Most studies do not involve people|
|Company does not make wild claims about benefits||Where is the company located?|
|Safety study has been conducted on humans||The lawsuit with ChromaDex|
Does Elysium Work?
Is Basis by Elysium ready for prime time? While most of the research does not involve humans, I'm fairly sure Elysium will raise NAD levels in people. Their own research shows this too. That's due to nicotinamide riboside. The bigger question though is whether or not raising NAD means Elysium will slow down the aging process, protect your brain or provide any of the other benefits that a modern day fountain of youth is supposed to do. That, I am not sure of yet.
What I know from looking at online testimonials is that there are people who love Elysium and those who feel just the opposite. For now, I will remain neutral and say lets see what the future human studies show.