By age 50, people have about half as much NAD+ in their bodies as they did at age 20. Scientists have linked low levels of NAD+ with several chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
NAD+ is short for “nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide,” and you can’t live without it. This coenzyme is required for the fundamental biological processes that make your life possible.
A coenzyme is a compound that’s necessary for an enzyme to do its job as a catalyst to bring about a biochemical reaction. NAD+ is such a compound. It’s found in every cell in your body and is needed to regulate how quickly your cells age.
Found in virtually all living cells, NAD+ is essential to sustaining life.(1)
A fascinating aspect of NAD+ is its dual role in protecting against factors that age us. This includes mitigating chemical stress, inflammation, DNA damage, and failing mitochondria.
At the same time, NAD+ promotes longevity by facilitating DNA repair and providing cellular benefits associated with caloric restriction and exercise.(2)
So, why don’t we just consume the NAD+ molecule?
Because NAD+ cannot pass through the plasma membrane. It needs a precursor that can boost NAD+ once entering the cell. NR (nicotinamide riboside) and NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) are the two most common and studied precursors. Of these, the sublingual form of NMN, such as Prohealth’s NMN Pro, is preferable given its enhanced bioavailability.
NAD+ is involved in a multitude of cellular repair processes in our bodies, mainly by activating sirtuins, a family of proteins responsible for a wide range of cellular processes like aging, transcription, apoptosis, inflammation and stress resistance, as well as energy efficiency and alertness during low-calorie situations. Sirtuins can also control circadian clocks and mitochondrial biogenesis.
As we age, the decline in NAD+ levels causes these critical cellular processes to become less effective, resulting in the cascade of multiple biochemical and physiological effects we call aging.
In 2016, multiple trials of NMN on mice showed that this compound reanimated brain, skin, and muscle stem cells. The treated mice became rejuvenated - with a higher ability to repair their DNA and a slightly increased lifespan.(3)
Your Body Needs NAD+ For Two Fundamental Reasons
NAD+ has two basic roles in your body:
- As a vital player in metabolism. NAD+ helps transfer energy from fatty acids and glucose to the mitochondria (our cells’ “power plants”), which converts them to cellular energy; and
- As a helper molecule for proteins that regulate other crucial biological activity.
These processes are incredibly important because they are responsible for regulating oxidative stress and circadian rhythms while maintaining the health of DNA and keeping you healthier, longer.
The problem is that NAD+ levels quickly decline as we age. By age 50 a typical person may have only half the NAD+ they did in youth. By age 80, NAD+ levels drop to only 1% to 10% expressed in youth.(4)
The Science is Conclusive - Boosting NAD+ will Boost Your Health
A plethora of scientific studies have recently focused on NAD+ due to its central role in many essential biological functions, with research in animals tying NAD+ to exceptional benefits, including for us humans.
In particular, researchers have been researching how NAD+ relates to overall health and age-related diseases. For example, consider three animal studies and one - which is rare - human study:
- A 2016 study found that mice and worms with degenerative muscles had improved muscle function when supplemented with NAD+ precursors.(5)
- A 2017 study showed that mice supplemented with an NAD+ precursor experienced an increase in DNA damage repair, with tissue in two-year-old mice given the NAD+ precursor looking identical to tissue in three-month-old mice.(6)
- A 2018 study found that mice with NAD+ precursor supplementation had improved cognitive function, pointing to signs of therapeutic potential for Alzheimer’s disease.(7)
- Finally, we have a human study that showed convincingly that NAD+ can be increased by precursors, in this case nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene, which along with resveratrol, is a potent polyphenol that can raise suritins, particularly SIRT2.(8)
These are only some of the recent findings, and they’re sufficiently inspiring for scientists to continue their NAD+ research, including on humans. The reason is simple - increasing NAD+ levels may be a sure-fire way to improve healthy aging.
Joe Garma has written more than 670 articles on his anti-aging blog, GarmaOnHealth, and is currently writing a book, The Ageproof Method, 12 Biohacks for A Long and Strong Life. Prohealth Longevity readers can get his four-part guide, Transform Your Body and Mind here.
- David A. Sinclair: Can NMN Increase Longevity?
- Science Daily: Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice.
- Brady Hartman: Can These Revolutionary Technologies Beat Aging In Our Lifetime?
- Stephen Harrington, Anti-aging Effects of NAD+
- Dongryeol Ryu, et al: NAD+ repletion improves muscle function in muscular dystrophy and counters global PARylation.
- Jun Li, et al: A conserved NAD+ binding pocket that regulates protein-protein interactions during aging.
- Hou Y, et al: NAD+ supplementation normalizes key Alzheimer's features and DNA damage responses in a new AD mouse model with introduced DNA repair deficiency.
- Ryan W. Dellinger, et al: Aging and Mechanism of Disease.