Updated: Nov 28, 2021
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential coenzyme for innumerable metabolic processes in the human body. NAD+ has been shown to play a role in muscle, heart, liver, kidney, and neurological function, and aging. Bottom line: it gets stuff done. Literally. NAD+ is necessary for normal biologic function.
The good news is that science has come a long way in understanding the chemistry of our bodies and how NAD+ works. The bad news is that NAD+ is found in decreasing amounts across our lifespan.
Important disclaimer: we can’t be certain that NAD+ is the magic “fountain of youth” we’ve all been searching for throughout decades, but it certainly shows promise. The American Association for Advancement of Science claims that increasing NAD+ concentrations “definitely possess[es] the potential to delay age-association physiological decline, and therefore… manage aging-related diseases and extend healthspan”. (Verdin, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aac4854)
NAD+ and Aging
Let’s dive into how NAD+ works and what exactly it does for us, specifically as it relates to aging. We all know how aging looks (and sadly how it feels – tired much?), but what’s causing that? Aging is a lot more than gray hairs and wrinkles; it’s a comprehensive decline of our body’s biologic function. Aging occurs as our cells function less efficiently as a product of normal “wear and tear”, but also due to a decreasing ability to convert fuel into energy necessary for cell turnover.
We probably all remember one thing (and one thing only) from high school cell biology: mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. If the mitochondria keep our cells functioning normally, it makes sense that “loss of mitochondrial function is a hallmark of aging and age-associated diseases” (Verdin, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aac4854). NAD+ happens to be the coenzyme playing a critical role in mitochondrial function within the cells. Without NAD+, our cells cannot continue to divide or create new cells to replace dying ones. Unfortunately for us, NAD+ has been shown to decrease over our lifespan, making it impossible for our bodies to avoid the inevitable pitfalls of aging and even our eventual death (RIP).
Supplementing with NAD+
NAD+ is obviously crucial to the function of our cells but decreases in physiologic concentration over time. Supplementing with NAD+ puts you ahead of the aging game by basically providing you with improved cell function resulting in more energy, increased healing, mental clarity, and improved health overall. So far, scientific studies have proven NAD+ supplementation to protect the heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and brain. It has also shown promising signs of repairing metabolic function of individuals with underlying diseases like diabetes (type 1 and type 2), fatty liver disease, high cholesterol/triglycerides, and others that can eventually lead to obesity, heart disease, and premature death.
NAD+ functionality and benefits of NAD+ supplementation are still being explored widely across the medical field. Such promising results particularly in regard to metabolic dysfunction and brain/nerve injuries provide incredible hope for those suffering terrible consequences of natural aging processes, external injuries, and internal disease processes.
Given that NAD+ depletion directly contributes to aging and overall physical dysfunction, supplementation just makes good sense. Supplementing with NAD+ protects your body against age, injury, ailment, and gives you a leg up against the race of time. With NAD+ treatments becoming more readily available to public consumers, you can stop spending money on the latest creams, juice cleanses, and brain teasers - start investing in your health at a cellular level!