What is NAD?
NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme, or something that helps enzymes do what they’re meant to do. It goes back and forth between two forms in the body: NAD+ (oxidized NAD) and NADH (NAD in reduced form). NAD boosts metabolism and mitochondrial or cellular function, repairs DNA, stops oxidation, and encourages other physical reactions in our bodies. [This article, “What Is Nad? The Key Molecule For Anti-Aging” was originally published in News7Health]
The human body uses NAD in different, useful ways. For example, the coenzyme:
- Repairs damaged cells.
- Turns genes off and on and naturally protects and repairs decreasing DNA NAD+ levels from the aging process.
- Helps produce energy and reduce glucose to make the essential compound ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
- Activates blood vessel and nerve cell-protecting and glucose metabolism, insulin secretion, and DNA-repair supporting sirtuin proteins, like SIRT1.
Why do people take NAD?
Benefits of taking NAD
Boost athletic performance
NAD helps to increase muscle or mitochondrial function and consistent energy levels, which is absolutely crucial to improving athletic performance. Studies with mice have shown their fitness increase when their muscles retain higher NAD+ levels, and they’ve overall been leaner and faster runners than their younger counterparts without a NAD+ boost.
Improve health outcomes and fight aging effects
NAD+ is important for the body’s gene regulation and mitochondrial maintenance, but our bodies’ natural NAD+ levels decline as we get older. So, many people looking to fight the effects of aging take NAD.
For instance, you might take it if you desire to look younger. More importantly, you could take it if you’re hoping to improve your health or prolong your life by avoiding age-related diseases. Because of reduced or slowed metabolism, low NAD+ levels could be linked to heart diseases, diabetes, metabolic disorders, and neurodegeneration including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The arteries’ elasticity becomes somewhat of a buffer between waves of pressure from our heartbeats. But, over time as we get older, that elasticity stiffens and can help raise our blood pressure, which is a huge red flag for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The good news here is that elevating NAD+ improves cardiac activity and protects the heart. Studies have shown that extra NAD+ in mice not only prevents heart enlargement but has also brought NAD+ levels in the heart to normal and stopped cardiac injuries from low blood flow.
Throughout the world, people are living longer than before, but aging is the main culprit of several neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that boosting NAD+ levels can reduce the protein that builds and stops cell communication, therefore improving cognitive functions. Plus, it helps prevent dying brain cells when blood flow is low.
The World Health Organization proclaimed obesity as an epidemic and it is one of the most prevalent diseases around today, also leading to other metabolic disorders like diabetes. And when we consume too much fat our NAD+ levels go down, especially as we age. But studies have shown that adding to NAD+ levels has helped reduce some of this age and diet-related weight gain (and eventually, obesity) and boost exercise ability.
What contains NAD? How to boost your NAD levels
While the human body creates NAD on its own as needed, this slows down as we age. The good news is we can understand what contains NAD and encourage the body to produce more of it by taking specific supplements or eating certain foods. Specifically, you can try these methods to boost the NAD levels in your body.
Maintain a healthy diet
Eating healthy at consistent, appropriate times (not too often) and maintaining a moderate level of exercise is beneficial for so many reasons, including to increase the production of NAD+ in the body. When you restrict calorie intake, whether through calorie-counting, portion control, or intermittent fasting, NAD+-dependent genes and proteins activate with a longer lifespan.
Specifically, consuming more carbohydrates than needed can result in excess NADH, which reduces the amount of NAD+ you’re getting. On the flip side, kombucha and fermented foods like kimchi use NADH to produce lactate, which produces NAD+. Here are some other foods that can naturally increase the body’s level of NAD+:
- Fish, including salmon, sardines, and tuna.
- Cow’s milk and yeast, both of which contain lots of nicotinamide riboside.
- Fructose, which is found in fruits and honey, activates lactate dehydrogenase, a NADH-NAD+ converting enzyme.
- Vegetables like asparagus, peas, and mushrooms (especially crimini).
- Whole grains rich in vitamin B3.
Not only is regular, consistent exercise a great idea for general health and wellbeing, but it also naturally increases your NAD+ levels, particularly when it comes to interval training. This is done by creating energy stress, which elevates NADH consumption and boosts proteins that rebuild DNA and slow the aging process. This study, for instance, found that resistance and aerobic training helped restore enzymes dependent on age in the muscles’ NAD+ synthesis.
Avoid harmful sun rays but find the right heat source
Those who spend long periods of time under the sun’s rays are likely losing their NAD+ levels. What happens in direct sunlight is the body uses quite a bit of NAD+ to repair damage from its UV rays. So, it’s best to minimize outdoor time when the sun is direct or at its peak and to cover up if you do go out in it.
However, when you spend time in artificial or other natural heat sources including saunas, heated pools, heat shock therapy, and hot tubs, it can actually help to raise NAD+ levels. Your heart rate increases, causing your body to cool down by using more energy, which then raises NAD+ production to offer the energy that your body is lacking.
Try fat-burning & nutrient-absorption treatments
Various fat-burning and nutrient-absorption treatments have been found to help with NAD+ levels. For instance, the ketosis metabolic state burns NADH, thereby improving NAD+ levels. As well, IV nutrient therapy raises NAD+ levels fast and effectively.
Take NAD+ supplements and intermediates
Another method to increase the NAD+ levels in your body is to take supplements. If you’re looking for one, it’s important to do your research and talk to your health care practitioner to see which would be best for you. For instance, a good one to explore is multi-award-winning Tru Niagen, which delivers repair, defense, energy, and vitality to the cells. Researched by top scientific institutions worldwide, the company’s supplements have been scientifically proven to raise NAD+ in the body.
Common supplement ingredients* include nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which are NAD+ biosynthesis precursors shown to improve NAD+ levels. Tru Niagen offers various supplements with NR and NMN in a single, easy-to-take daily capsule. As well, these supplements and intermediates have been found to increase NAD+:
- Malic acid
- Succinic acid
- Tryptophan and aspartic acid
*These are not currently FDA-approved, so you should speak to your health practitioner before consuming.
Now that you can feel confident answering what is NAD and have more general information on the coenzyme, you can move forward with the right NAD-boosting solution for your needs.
Further Resources For Reference:
Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.