The Definitive Guide (updated 2019)
The human body can’t live a minute without it. And as we age, our bodies produce less of it.
So how do we get more NAD+, and what exactly does it do? Can we get it in our food, or do we need supplements?
Let’s take a closer look at what NAD+ does and how you can naturally increase NAD+ through supplementation.
What is NAD+?
NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a molecule found in every cell in the body which enables mitochondria to “power” metabolism. Mitochondria are the power stations of cells, and NAD+ can enable the mitochondria to turn off genes which accelerate aging.
In other words, as we age, our levels of NAD+ decline significantly, creating a higher risk for muscular and neurological degeneration, as well as a decline in our cardiovascular health and the ability to repair cell damage.
NAD+ – A Brief History
NAD+ was discovered in 1906 by Arthur Harden and William John Young.
In 1936, Otto Heinrich Warburg demonstrated the function of NAD+ in fermentation reactions.
Over two decades later, Jack Preiss and Philip Handler discovered the manner in which nicotinic acid is converted to NAD+, and in 1963 that discovery expanded to include the first chemical reaction breaking NAD+ down into its components.
In 2004, Charles Brenner and his co-workers discovered a new NAD+ precursor as well as the specific pathway which allows the NAD+ conversion of nicotinamide riboside.
Is NAD+ Really a Fountain of Youth?
While NAD+ has been dubbed by many as the “Fountain of Youth,” the reality is based in science and not myth or magic.
NAD+ is present in all living cells, and a significant body of research suggests longevity may be boosted through NAD+ supplementation. David Sinclair, the co-director at the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical, has stated that NAD+ is “the closest we’ve gotten to a fountain of youth.”
Important NAD+ Scientific Details
Since NAD+ was first discovered, scientists have been working on discovering the precursors to NAD+, which now include nicotinic acid, nicotinamide and nicotinamide riboside. These precursors make use of the natural pathways leading to NAD+.
A 2016 study on NAD+ found that degenerative muscle diseases in mice were improved after NAD+ precursors were administered. A 2017 study showed mice who were given NAD+ precursors experienced an increase in the repair of DNA damages. Finally, a 2018 study determined that improved cognitive functions were seen among mice given NAD+ precursor supplementation.
What Happens Without NAD+?
NAD+ – A Vital Resource for Cellular Energy
NAD (or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a vital resource found in all living cells. We use it every day. After over 100 years of studying this molecule, researchers are publishing more articles about NAD than ever before. NAD+ both helps nutrients in our body turn into energy, and is a major player in the body’s metabolism processes, working as a “helper” molecule for the proteins in our body which regulate biological activity.
Reduction of NAD+ During Aging or Disease
According to the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, NAD+ levels decline as we age, actively destroyed by the CD38 enzyme which is associated with immune responses and the metabolism of energy.
In fact, among mice who were specifically bred to have a CD38 deficiency, protection from mitochondrial dysfunctions and resistance to diabetes were seen as the mice aged. Further, when mice were treated with a CD38 inhibitor, increased levels of NAD+ were seen, and, in turn, a resistance to the effects of high-fat diets. It is believed that inflammation could increase CD38 expression and activity, and, in turn, the decline of NAD+.
What Causes the Depletion of NAD+?
Along with the normal aging process, over-consumption of certain foods, a sedentary lifestyle, illnesses and damage to DNA can all hasten the process of NAD+ depletion. Some of the natural sources of NAD+ which can combat NAD+ depletion include dairy milk, fish, beer, chicken, the crimini mushroom, yeast and green vegetables.
ACNEM Journal Regarding NAD+
According to an ACNEM Journal article on NAD+, the depletion of NAD+ occurs when there is excessive DNA damage due to free radicals, and when the body experiences a chronic increase in immune activation and inflammatory production. Although aging is an unavoidable biological progression, and a reduction in NAD+ is one result of aging, it is postulated by scientists that when the body experiences a reduction in antioxidant capacity, damage to DNA can result, in turn leading to dysfunction of tissues and even cell death—and that NAD+ can help turn those damages around.
The Importance of ATP Production
NAD+ coenzymes which function in the oxidation-reduction reactions are metabolites of ATP. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is the primary energy carrier in every single living organism on earth. Energy metabolized from food and light sources are captured and stored in the form of ATP.
When the cells of the body require energy, the process of hydrolysis breaks down ATP, releasing energy to assist in cellular processes.
ATP is central to the health of all life, in that organisms would be unable to grow and reproduce without ATP.
According to the National Institutes of Health, NAD+ may play an unexpected role in the repair of DNA. This same article suggests potential strategies using NAD+ to protect against cancer, minimize the damages received from radiation and chemotherapy, and possibly slow certain aspects of the aging process.
Over time our DNA can accumulate mutations, or errors through such things as the foods we eat, tobacco use or even over-exposure to sunlight.
Further, there are a certain number of mutations which accumulate naturally during cell division.
While the human body has sophisticated mechanisms to repair DNA, errors will slip past these mechanisms.
As we age, our ability to repair DNA declines, allowing more mutations. Cancer is one illness which is caused by cell mutations which all the cells to divide in an uncontrollable manner.
Damage to DNA is a component of aging—enzymes known as sirtuins play a role in aging, and NAD+ has been found to interact with these sirtuins, as well as with key DNA-repair proteins, PARP-1 and DBC1, which are both known to inhibit sirtuins.
NAD+ or a Precursor?
There are a number of NAD+ precursors including nicotinic acid, nicotinamide, tryptophan and nicotinamide riboside, all of which make use of the natural pathways which lead to NAD+–different routes, if you will, to get to the NAD+.
There are some significant differences in the number of chemical reactions, or steps our bodies need to transform the precursors to useful NAD+.
As an example, tryptophan is converted to NAD+ via an eight-step process, while nicotinic acid and nicotinamide are known as “salvageable” precursors, requiring only two-three steps to rebuild NAD+.
Nicotinamide riboside is also a salvageable NAD+ precursor requiring only a two-step process to form NAD+.
While there is a lot of focus on nicotinamide riboside due to its activation of the anti-aging sirtuin genes, most of the studies which back this up were done on single-celled organisms such as yeast—rather than human beings.
More studies are needed to determine the potential anti-aging capabilities of NAD+ precursors like nicotinamide riboside.
Promoting NAD+ Metabolism
The very pinnacle of metabolic controls lies in the NAD+ dependent deacetylase, SIRT1, which senses changes in NAD+ levels, then uses the information to adapt the level of energy output, making it match energy requirements. SIRT1 activation promotes changes in the body such as antioxidant protection and an increase in mitochondrial metabolism.
Benefits of Raising NAD+ Levels
NAD+ has been called the “linchpin of energy metabolism” as well as “the golden nucleotide,” by some scientists, and has become a prized molecule in recent years.
Studies have indicated that increasing NAD+ levels in study mice restores the function of muscles, enhances brain regeneration and even protects against the diabetic effects of a high fat diet.
Scientists primarily believe that aging is a risk factor for most late-onset chronic diseases. NAD+ could potentially intervene in this process to help create new molecules and even turn genes off and on, thus significantly increasing the healthy, disease-free years of human life.
NAD+ is a coenzyme found in every living cell in the body, and the coenzymes in the body are known as “helper” molecules because they allow the body to do its work. NAD+ research in mice has also found that NAD+ allows the kidneys to resist toxic stress.
In the end, NAD+ is essential to multiple cellular functions in the body, therefore increasing NAD+ could potentially have many positive effects in the body.
Healthy vs. Health-Challenged
Even the healthiest of people, who engage in very healthy lifestyles will experience at least some adverse symptoms of aging. Many people will experience a noticeable increase in fatigue and an decrease in motivation as they age.
NAD+ allows energy from the foods we eat to more fully process vital functions of our cells, as well as turning off specific genes which accelerate the degenerative effects of aging.
In short, there is a significant amount of evidence to support the fact that NAD+ may have the ability to protect tissues, increase lifespans, and induce the repair of DNA in otherwise healthy people.
This means that the adverse effects of aging can be reduced. For those who have specific health challenges, supplementation with NAD+ could reduce some of the side effects of those illnesses or diseases.
NAD+ potentially supports:
Slowing neurodegeneration in the brain
Minimizing vascular inflammation which damages blood vessels, resulting in heart attacks and strokes
Decreasing the amount of fat stored by the liver
Decreasing insulin resistance, helping those with metabolic syndrome
Decreasing fat production
Decreasing loss of muscle strength and fatigue
Decreasing auto-immune conditions
Decreasing nervous system inflammation
Not everyone can sufficiently raise their NAD+ levels by improving their eating habits, so another important option to look into is supplementation.
As you look around at different options, it’s important to understand product labeling as well as ingredients.
As we’ve outlined above, some products do not include NAD+ in them. Rather, these products are based on the precursor to NAD+.
Other products, such as Myetin®, have NAD+ as the active ingredient.
Also, if you’re considering supplementation for NAD+, you may be looking into what other supplements you can combine for improved health. One of those products to consider is High Dose Biotin.
Biotin (also known as Vitamin B-7) is a water-soluble vitamin which means the body cannot store it. Therefore, maintaining biotin levels are crucial in helping your body convert food to energy.
There are several enzymes in the body—enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, fat and protein—which require biotin to function properly.
Since protein is necessary for the body to repair and maintain cells, you can see how important healthy levels of biotin are.
In a recent pilot study, participants taking Myetin® which combines high-dose biotin & NAD+ reported a significant increase in the decrease of pain, as well as an improvement in fatigue levels. Click here to see the study results.
Overall, study participants noted an overall increase in their quality of life.
If you’ve ready to see what benefits NAD+ supplements can offer you, take a closer look at Myetin® – the first of it’s kind product to combine the active ingredient NAD+ with high dose biotin in one easy to take dose.
Myetin® delivers 25mg of NAD+ in each dose. When taken twice daily as recommended, that’s 50mg of energy-giving NAD+ combined with the nutritional benefits of 150mg of high dose biotin in each dose (300mg daily when taken twice a day).
If you want to try NAD+, don’t settle for precursors. Get the active ingredient itself with Myetin®!
NAD+ provides the energy, D-Biotin delivers key nutrients to the body!
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