NAD+: Everything You Need to Know About the Do-It-All-Co-Enzyme!

NAD+: Everything You Need to Know About the Do-It-All-Co-Enzyme!

What does aging look like?

Many would say wrinkles, fine lines, grey hair! Some would go a step further and mention fading memory, low energy levels, and the onset of many health conditions. However, almost no one talks about the changes that start to occur inside the body as the candles on your cake start to multiply!

Although humans start to age the minute they are born, the process typically becomes more prominent in their mid to late 30s. The body goes through various physiological changes, including a gradual decline in cellular regeneration, changes in metabolic rate & alterations in hormonal cycles. These internal shifts are often linked with decreasing levels of essential nutrients, enzymes, and co-enzymes that control our biological functions, contributing to the nuanced tapestry of aging.

But the co-enzyme that interests us and scientists all over the globe is NAD+, known to facilitate as many as 500 reactions in the body!

What Is NAD+?

NAD+ 3D Chemical Strcuture

NAD+ is a co-enzyme found in all living cells that acts as a linchpin in the intricate machinery that keeps our bodies running smoothly. Its primary function is to facilitate energy production within our cells by participating in metabolic reactions, particularly in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the cellular currency of energy. Additionally, NAD+ serves as a key player in DNA repair, gene expression, and cellular communication. (1)

Because of its fundamental role in cellular processes and energy metabolism, NAD+ has emerged as a pivotal focal point in anti-aging and longevity research. (1)

 

Why Does NAD+ Decline with Age?

As we age, our bodies undergo a multitude of changes, and one significant change is the gradual decline in NAD+ levels. Reduced biosynthesis, increased degradation, and impaired cellular efficiency play a huge role here! As our cells age, the synthesis of NAD+ becomes less efficient, leading to a diminished ability to maintain optimal levels. Additionally, factors like DNA damage, stress, and inflammation can accelerate the breakdown of NAD+. These cumulative effects contribute to the decline in NAD+ levels in aging cells, impacting cellular functions and influencing the way we age. (2)

 

How Can You Restore Your NAD+ Levels?

If declining NAD+ levels contribute to aging, restoring them should slow it down - the idea sounds simple. And it's true! Here are some ways that can help you replenish your NAD+ levels for a healthier and longer life.

  • Restricting your calories through intermittent fasting stimulates cellular repair mechanisms, enhancing NAD+ production.
  • Regular physical activity, particularly aerobic and high-intensity training, can be a powerful catalyst for NAD+ synthesis.
  • Including niacin (vitamin B3)-rich foods like poultry, fish, nuts, and seeds in your diet also supports NAD+ production.

However, incorporating such practices might not always give you the best results because the aging process and environmental factors are more complex than we can imagine. To address this issue, scientists and medical professionals often turn to specific NAD+ supplements that offer a more direct route to replenishing NAD+ levels.  (3), (4)

 

What Is A NAD+ Supplement?

An NAD supplement is a dietary supplement that contains precursors that help increase nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) levels in the body. A precursor refers to a small building block that creates a larger molecule. A NAD precursor converts the molecule into NAD+, which is used to carry out several cellular processes. (3)

Some common NAD precursors are: 

  • Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN): NAD precursor that converts to NAD once absorbed.
  • Nicotinamide Riboside (NR): A form of vitamin B3 that also converts directly to NAD in the body. 
  • Resveratrol: An antioxidant compound found in grapes and red wine that helps to activate sirtuins, which stimulate NAD production. 
  • Quercetin: A flavonoid that inhibits the enzyme CD38, involved in breaking down NAD+. 
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): An antioxidant that recycles oxidized NAD+ back into its active form, amplifying its natural stores. 

 

How Do NAD+ Supplements Support Longevity?

Biological functions of NAD+
  • Boosts Sirtuin Activity 

Sirtuins are proteins that regulate gene expression, DNA repair, and aging pathways. Increasing sirtuin activity can promote longevity. (2,3)

  • Enhances Mitochondrial Function 

Mitochondrial function is vital for cellular energy metabolism, and NAD+ plays a crucial role in supporting this process. Increasing NAD+ levels may help slow down age-related mitochondrial decline. (2,3)

  • Stimulates DNA Repair 

NAD+ is essential for the activity of poly-ADP-ribose polymerases (PARPs), which play a crucial role in DNA repair. Adequate NAD+ levels are imperative to maintaining genomic stability and repairing damaged DNA. (2,3)

  • Reduces Inflammation 

Chronic inflammation is associated with various age-related diseases and can accelerate aging. NAD+ can help inhibit pro-inflammatory immune pathways, which helps reduce chronic inflammation. (2,3)

  • Circadian Rhythm Entrainment 

NAD+ levels can influence gene expression, which assists in regulating the body’s internal clock. For healthy aging and longevity, proper circadian rhythm synchronization is essential.  (2,3)

  • Improves Cognitive Function 

NAD+ levels are known for improving neuronal health and plasticity. It protects neurons from damage, supports cognitive function, and delays age-related cognitive decline. (2,3)

  • Enhances Muscle Function 

Muscle function and physical performance of the body are improved as NAD+ can increase blood flow and mitochondrial capacity in the muscle tissue. (2,3)

 

The Final Word

Aging is like a puzzle that unfolds with both visible changes and intricate internal shifts, where the decline of the crucial co-enzyme NAD+ becomes a key piece. Understanding the role of NAD+ in your overall health and well-being can help you take control of your biological clock, making your journey through aging a smooth one.

 

References

  1. NAD+ metabolism and its roles in cellular processes during ageing - PubMed (nih.gov) 
  2. It takes two to tango: NAD+ and sirtuins in aging/longevity control - PMC (nih.gov) 
  3. Potential Synergistic Supplementation of NAD+ Promoting Compounds as a Strategy for Increasing Healthspan - PMC (nih.gov)
  4. Clinical Evidence for Targeting NAD Therapeutically - PMC (nih.gov)

 

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