If you’ve landed on this page, you’re likely weighing the pros and cons of taking a NAD+ supplement to improve some aspect of your health.
NAD+, short for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, is a component naturally found in every single one of our 30 trillion cells. Heart cells, brain cells, muscle cells, blood cells, neurons… all of them.
NAD+ is a cofactor for numerous normal functions within the cell; NAD+ needs to be available to allow maintenance, function, growth, and repair processes in the cell to take place.
But, as we get older, humans tend to have a reduction in the NAD+ concentrations in their cells. This leads to cell aging, when the cells lose function and are more likely to die. When significant portions of our cells age and die, we are more likely to develop diseases and have impaired immune function, among other risks.
In the past, getting ill as we age was just a part of life. While researchers know that diet, exercise, and a balanced lifestyle is vital for maintaining NAD+, our bodies have a finite ability to produce it.
Thanks to medical research and innovation, we’ve learned that there is a way to add NAD+ back into the body through NAD+ supplements, restoring cell function and ultimately increasing human healthspan.
This article gives you an overview of five research-backed benefits of taking NAD+ supplements and NAD+-boosting supplements.
Promotes Healthy Aging
Taking NAD+ before aging accelerates in the human body in the late thirties or early forties may have its benefits. Among the many roles of NAD+, one is the activation of enzymes, like sirtuins and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs), which promote healthy aging.
Sirtuins and PARPs have a role in improving lifespan and health span in both animals and humans by:
- Helping to repair damaged DNA
- Reducing inflammation
- Boosting recovery from stress
- Extending lifespan
In short, NAD+ is needed to activate the enzymes responsible for several factors related to healthy aging. In the brain, NAD+ plays an essential role in energy metabolism, cell-signalling, optimizing cell function, and repairing the brain cells after injury. More specifically, NAD+ plays a role in the synthesis of PCG-1-alpha, a protein that helps protect the brain against oxidative stress and cell damage.
Supports Heart Health
Aging is one of the primary factors responsible for heart disease. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US.
Heart disease results, in part, from a loss of healthy function of cells. Since NAD+ plays multiple roles in promoting healthy heart function, from signalling to metabolism, increasing NAD+ levels with NAD+ supplements may help to prevent and reverse age-related damage and loss of function in the heart.
Studies on the effects of NAD+ supplementation on the heart have been carried out with both humans and animals. In aging mice, raising NAD+ levels through supplements reversed vascular dysfunction and oxidative stress.
In humans with early signs of heart disease development, raising NAD+ levels through supplementation reduced artery stiffness and blood pressure – two important indicators of heart health and tell-tale signs of heart cell aging.
Supports Healthy Brain Function
NAD+ is required in every cell in the human body, including brain cells.
Reduced NAD+ levels may be partially responsible for impaired brain function as we age or when we develop brain-related illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In the same sense, scientists hold promise in the initial data that demonstrates how increasing NAD+ levels may also maintain brain function and even reverse some brain damage.
While clinical studies with humans have yet to be carried out to see if this is a potential treatment for brain-related diseases, researchers have shown promise in lab studies.
Studies took lab mice with Alzheimer’s disease and raised NAD+ levels and PCG-1-alpha production through supplementation. Researchers observed significant improvements in memory tasks in the mice who were treated.
Additionally, initial studies demonstrate that raising NAD+ levels through supplementation can improve the function of cells with Parkinson’s disease.
May Help Maintain Muscle Function as We Age
As we grow older, our body naturally experiences sarcopenia, which is the gradual loss of muscle function, strength, and volume. All our muscle cells require NAD+ for normal aerobic cellular metabolism or the effective uptake and energy expenditure – both of which are needed for our muscles to function. NAD+ levels reduce as we age, so muscle function naturally reduces as well.
Muscle aging can be slowed with a balanced diet and regular exercise, but even then, our bodies have a limited ability to produce NAD+. The good news, though, is that skeletal muscle degeneration, while progressive, is partially reversible.
Researchers have explored the possibility of raising NAD+ levels through supplementation to improve muscle function in older adults.
Lab research with aging mice has demonstrated that boosting NAD+ through supplementation. Studies showed that increasing NAD+ levels helped improve muscle function, strength, and endurance in older mice.
May Lower Cancer Risk
Some initial, but promising research, reveals the role of low NAD+ concentration in cells in cancer development. Researchers have explored the potential of increasing NAD+ levels in cells to help protect against the damage that triggers cancer development.
Research has demonstrated that high NAD+ levels may help protect against DNA damage and oxidative stress in lab studies. Both of these phenomena are clear trigger of tumor and cancer development. In fact, some initial research points to the potential of boosting NAD+, not only for preventing cancer but also for treating cancer.
Research on the potential to boost NAD+ levels through supplementation to prevent and treat cancer is still in the initial stages. Still, cancer and anti-aging researchers hold promise in the potential of NAD+ in oncology, the science of cancer treatment.
As scientists reveal their research on the potential of NAD+ supplementation to prevent and treat disease, three things are clear:
- NAD+ has a vital role in the function, metabolism, and repair of all 30 trillion human cells
- NAD+ levels in cells decrease as we age, leading to cell aging
- NAD+ supplementation and supplementation with NAD+-boosting components effectively increase NAD+ levels and the levels of enzymes and components dependent on NAD+ to function.
With this information, researchers are looking into the multiple therapeutic and health opportunities of increasing NAD+ levels. Since the body has a limited ability to produce NAD+, and lifestyle changes generally have a limited effect on increasing NAD+ levels, they have turned to NAD+ supplements as a potential preventative and treatment measure of many of the most common and most severe health issues associated with aging.