Many thought leaders believe that the key to making important advances in lowering diverse health risks like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease is to attack a common root cause–aging.
While aging was once thought to be inevitable, science is finding that it can be measured on a DNA level by examining methylation patterns and it turns out that aging can be reversed. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized aging as a disease.
This article discusses the molecule at the center of anti-aging research, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and the dietary supplements shown to affect NAD levels.
What Is NAD?
NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a coenzyme found in all living cells. It plays a crucial role in many biological processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and cell signaling. NAD exists in two forms: NAD+ (oxidized form) and NADH (reduced form). It functions as an electron carrier in redox reactions, which involve the transfer of electrons from one molecule to another.
NAD is essential for the production of cellular energy through its involvement in various metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. In these pathways, NAD+ accepts electrons and is reduced to NADH, which then donates electrons to the electron transport chain to generate ATP, the cell’s primary source of energy.
NAD also has a role in regulating cellular processes like gene expression and DNA repair. It serves as a substrate for several enzyme families, including sirtuins and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs), which are involved in processes like aging, inflammation, and stress response. Recent research has shown that maintaining healthy NAD levels may have potential benefits for aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and other age-related conditions.
In Simpler Terms
NAD+ acts like a delivery truck for electrons within our cells, essential for energy production. It’s part of the energy conversion process, shuttling electrons to the mitochondria—our cells’ power plants. Here, these electrons are critical for making ATP, the main energy currency of the cell, fueling everything from muscle contraction to brain activity. As we age, our NAD+ levels drop, which can slow down metabolism and increase susceptibility to disease. However, restoring NAD+ can improve health and even extend lifespan, as shown in animal studies. This has sparked interest in finding safe ways to boost NAD+ levels to enhance the body’s resilience against multiple diseases and possibly prolong a healthy life.
What are the Benefits of NAD?
- Cellular energy production: NAD is crucial for generating cellular energy through its involvement in metabolic pathways like glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.
- DNA repair: NAD serves as a substrate for enzymes involved in DNA repair processes, which help protect cells from damage caused by environmental factors, such as radiation and toxins, and promote cellular health.
- Aging and longevity: NAD is involved in the regulation of sirtuins, a family of enzymes associated with aging and longevity. Higher NAD levels may support healthy aging and promote a longer lifespan.
- Neuroprotection: NAD has been shown to have neuroprotective effects, potentially playing a role in combating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Mitochondrial function: NAD supports mitochondrial health and function, which is essential for overall cellular health and energy production.
- Immune system support: NAD may help maintain a healthy immune system by supporting the function of immune cells and modulating inflammation.
- Metabolic health: NAD is involved in regulating various metabolic pathways, and maintaining healthy NAD levels may help improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.
- Heart health: Some research suggests that NAD may help support cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and protecting heart cells from damage.
The Science Behind NMN:
Two Supplements Proven to Raise NAD
There are two popular supplements that are known for boosting NAD+ levels: nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). These supplements support cellular functions and potentially slow down the aging process.
Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) A Powerful Anti-Aging Molecule
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is precursor to NAD+. Like NR, NMN is a form of vitamin B3 and is converted into NAD+ in the body. NMN is naturally found in very small amounts in some foods, including fruits and vegetables.
NMN is a remarkable substance that can help slow down the aging process. By turning into NAD+, NMN can improve how our cells work and bring many health benefits. While studies have mostly been done on mice so far, scientists are now studying NMN in humans to see if it can make us healthier and more energetic. As more research is done, we might discover new ways to fight aging and stay healthier for longer. [PMC7238909]
How To Take It: NMN should be taken 1 hour before breakfast on an empty stomach to maximize its absorption.
Nicotinamide Riboside (NR):
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a form of vitamin B3 that can be converted into NAD+ in the body. It is commonly found in tiny amounts in some foods like milk and beer. Raising NAD+ levels using NR has been shown to provide protective effects against many diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and hearing loss. [PMC9571518]
NR may not be the best choice for people who are carrying extra weight as some studies have found that NAD levels do not increase in this population. See our article on NR for more on this.
Are NAD Boosters Safe?
Both NMN and NR have excellent safety profiles. However, there are a few cautions:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take NMN or NR.
- There may be a possibility that NMN or NR could interfere with anti-seizure medications.
- Because NR has been shown to reduce blood pressure, be sure to monitor blood pressure when taking NR. [PMC9127073]
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Dose: Explanation/Labs/ Reference:
Lack of sleep, being stuck at a desk, too many late nights, over-exposure to the sun, and an unbalanced diet – each of these components of our modern lifestyle affects your body at the cellular level, leading to depletion of the important coenzyme, NAD+, and the resulting symptoms of early aging. Along with the effects of life’s daily stressors, the natural aging process causes your NAD+ level to decline. A decreased level of NAD+ slows down integral body functions, resulting in reduced vitality and early aging.*
With NiaCel, you can make age feel like just a number. By adding Thorne’s NiaCel 400, with Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), to your daily wellness routine, you can boost your body’s level of NAD+, helping defend your body against the effects of early aging and optimizing your daily vitality.* The added support for NAD+ in NiaCel 400 is ideal for athletes, as well as those individuals with conditions that require more robust support for NAD+ levels.*
Everyday Benefits of NiaCel 400:
NiaCel is great for more than healthy aging. Supplementing your healthy lifestyle with NiaCel 400 can also provide the following daily benefits:
- Increased level of NAD+ from an exclusive form of NR*
- Support for exercise efficiency, to help you reach your health and fitness goals*
- NR promotes cellular energy production in every cell of your body – helping you feel vibrant*
- NR supports a normal sleep-wake cycle for better nights and refreshing mornings*
- The betaine in NiaCel 400 promotes optimal methylation – supporting healthy daily detox processes and balanced brain chemicals*
- Additional NR provides optimal benefit for athletes, competitors, and individuals requiring increased support for a depleted NAD+ pool*
Long-Term Benefits of NiaCel 400:
Although nothing can truly stop the process of aging, NiaCel 400’s ability to increase the body’s level of NAD+ and increase methylation is an excellent way to support healthy aging – supporting your long-term health and fitness goals by:
- Boosting NAD+ production to help your body and brain fight the effects of chronological aging*
- Supporting healthy cellular repair and metabolism*
- Promoting cellular energy production in the mitochondria*
- Supporting a weight management program*
- Helping protect the DNA in every cell from damage*
- Betaine promotes lean body composition by helping reduce body fat without negatively affecting muscle mass*
Take 1 capsule one to two times daily or as recommended by your health-care practitioner.
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Amount Per Serving
Betaine Anhydrous … 85mg
Nicotinamide Riboside … 415mg
Other Ingredients: Calcium Laurate, Hypromellose Capsule, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Silicon Dioxide.
NMN- 125 mg
Jarrow Formulas® Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is an efficient precursor to the essential vitamin B3 metabolite, NAD+. NAD+ is essential to cellular energy production and mitochondrial function.* Levels of NAD+ decline with aging and high caloric intake, which can compromise mitochondrial function.* NAD+ is a required cofactor for sirtuins (SIRT), enzymes that promote healthy aging by regulating gene expression, DNA repair, mitochondrial biogenesis and energy metabolism.*
Take 1 to 2 tablets per day or as directed by your qualified healthcare professional.
Amount Per 1 Tablet Serving
NMN … 125mg (ß-Nicotinamide Mononucleotide)
How To Take It: NMN should be taken 1 hour before breakfast on an empty stomach to maximize its absorption.
Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.
Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.
To Sum It Up
NMN and NR both effectively raise NAD levels. NAD+ plays a key role in cellular metabolism, helping in the conversion of nutrients into energy and supporting the functionality of sirtuins, a group of proteins involved in cellular health and longevity. NAD+ levels decline naturally with age, leading to diminished cellular health and energy. Studies show the potential of NMN and NR to counteract this decline, with possible benefits including enhanced energy, improved mitochondrial function, increased lifespan, and improved cognitive health.
This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice
Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.