NAD and NAD+ occur naturally in the body. They play a major role in the chemical process of generating energy. NAD+ is probably the most important cofactor for improving mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of almost all living cells where micronutrients are converted to energy-rich ATP molecules for the cell.
NAD+ is the second most popular cofactor in the human body. Anti-aging therapies are becoming more mainstream as aging is now being viewed as a disease. Now that this transition is happening, the ability for NAD+ to activate PARPS, Sirtuins, and help with immune dysregulation has been thoroughly investigated and NAD+ and its precursors have been highly popularized (3).
The clinical importance of maintaining cellular NAD+ levels was established early in the last century with the finding that pellagra, a disease characterized by diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death, could be cured with foods containing the NAD+ precursor niacin. Additionally, cellular concentrations of NAD+ have been shown to decrease under conditions of increased oxidative damage such as occur during aging (2).
Altered levels of NAD+ have been found to accompany several disorders associated with increased oxidative/free radical damage including diabetes, heart disease, age-related vascular dysfunction, ischemic brain injury, misfolded neuronal proteins, and Alzheimer’s dementia (1,2).
Interventions targeted at restoring NAD+ have been shown in animal models to support healthy aging and improve metabolic function, and dementia as well (5).
Benefits of NAD
- Helps repair blood vessels
- May improve muscle health
- May help repair cells and DNA
- May improve cognitive function
- May help with age-related weight gain
- Massudi H, Grant R, Braidy N, Guest J, Farnsworth B, Guillemin GJ. Age-associated changes in oxidative stress and NAD+ metabolism in human tissue. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e42357. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042357. Epub 2012 Jul 27. PMID: 22848760; PMCID: PMC3407129.
- Yahyah Aman, Yumin Qiu, Jun Tao, Evandro F. Fang. Therapeutic potential of boosting NAD+ in aging and age-related diseases, Translational Medicine of Aging, Volume 2, 2018, Pages 30-37.
- Imai, Shin-ichiro, and Leonard Guarente. “NAD+ and sirtuins in aging and disease.” Trends in cell biology 24.8 (2014): 464-471.
- Mach, John, et al. “The Effect of Antioxidant Supplementation on Fatigue during Exercise: Potential Role for NAD+ (H).” Nutrients 2.3 (2010): 319-329.
- Verdin, Eric. “NAD+ in aging, metabolism, and neurodegeneration.” Science 350.6265 (2015): 1208-1213.