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Mitochondria are the energy dynamos in our bodies which tend to decrease as we age, or when our bodies are compromised with health challenges.

In fact, mitochondrial decay is considered the key proponent in the aging process.

Although scientists have not determined why our mitochondria fade as we age, evidence suggests that fatigue, lack of motivation, heart failure, inflammation, and cognitive degeneration can all be linked to failing mitochondria.

Research has suggested that mitochondrial decay could potentially slowed down with the addition of NAD+ dietary supplements. These supplements increase the cellular levels of NAD+. 

NAD+ and Energy Metabolism

What is known is that NAD+ is the linchpin for energy metabolism and that NAD+ levels naturally decrease with age.

Supplements which contain NR (nicotinamide riboside, a precursor to NAD) could potentially boost the levels of NAD+ in the body.

In 2013, the lab of Harvard graduate David Sinclair made headlines when they reported that when elderly mice were given injections of nicotinamide mononucleotide (a molecule which boosts levels of NAD+), the mice were restored to a “youthful” state after only one week.

Unfortunately, muscle strength improvement was not a benefit of these injections, although it is important to keep in mind that the injections lasted for only one week. 

Sirtuins—Key Players in NAD+ Supplementation

Enzymes known as sirtuins are also key players in NAD+ findings, as resveratrol revs up SIRT1—which appears to help protect mice from the adverse effects of a high-fat diet. Since NAD+ fuels the activity of sirtuins, the more NAD+ present in cells, the more SIRT1 is able to complete beneficial processes in the body.

One of these beneficial processes is the formation of new mitochondria.

Researchers found that SIRT1 allows signals sent to mitochondria to get through, therefore when the levels of NAD+ drop, SIRT1 activity also slows, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, and all the many ill-effects associated with that mitochondrial dysfunction. 

Scientists Believe NAD+ Supplements May Benefit from the Addition of Other Supplements

Some scientists believe that NAD+ supplements could work with other supplements—such as resveratrol—to reinvigorate mitochondria, as well as slowing the effects of aging.

Some NAD+ supplements contain a substance which is very similar to resveratrol, known as pterostilbene. Pterostilbene is found in blueberries and grapes, and while it is very similar to resveratrol, it is more bioavailable to the body, as well as potentially more potent.

Pterostilbene has been found to be more potent than resveratrol even in the prevention of heart disease, improving cognitive functioning and potentially warding off some types of cancers. 

Supplements vs. Pharmaceutical Drugs

Supplements which boost levels of NAD+ can potentially improve short-term memory, reduce inflammation in the body, reduce fatigue and mental exhaustion, and increase motivation in humans—all the adverse issues typically associated with the aging process.

Unfortunately, there are reputable sources of NAD+ supplements as well as less reputable sources.

Companies currently sell NAD+ as dietary supplements, but are not allowed—under FDA rules—to make any claims regarding a specific disease or illness.

The barrier which must be overcome to get the FDA to approve a drug, while difficult, is also a barrier to competition once the drug is approved.

Dietary supplements are the exact opposite—while there are fewer regulations and barriers, there is much more competition.

If you have decided to implement NAD+ supplements, it is extremely important that you choose supplements from reputable manufacturers to ensure you are getting the real deal.