As COVID-19 sweeps across the globe, a conversation about human health is more necessary than ever. COVID-19 poses unique and specific risks, but our commitment to taking care of ourselves and our bodies has to be broader than that. Numerous studies have connected NAD+ to beneficial effects like relief from age-related decline, improved metabolism, and improved skeletal muscle health.
Institutions such as Harvard Medical School and Washington University in St. Louis have done recent studies on NAD+, NMN, and related topics, led by experts like Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai. As animal studies with older mice expand and human clinical trials begin, it’s time to take a serious look at NAD+ and what it can do for us.
What is NAD+?
NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a coenzyme that’s found in live cells in the human body. Your body needs to produce energy to do anything and NAD is a coenzyme found in every living thing that converts the food you put into your body into usable cellular energy.
In addition to enabling us to engage in physical activity, work, and complete our daily tasks, increased cellular energy also facilitates the healing and growth of other cells and body tissues. NAD+ assists in turning food into the energy required for viral processes like muscle contraction and blood circulation. It also repairs damaged DNA and is a vital part of maintaining human health throughout the aging process.
NMN is often taken as supplements for their beneficial effects and their role as NAD boosters. It is also linked to activating sirtuin enzymes and improving cellular metabolism. A recent study connected NMN specifically with increased NAD synthesis.
Some studies have even linked low NAD levels with mitochondrial dysfunction and other health-related issues. NAD+ has also been shown to restore glycogen stores in the muscles and increase beta-alanine. The body uses beta-alanine to produce carnosine, which is linked to increased athletic performance. Whether it’s improving skeletal muscle, reducing oxidative stress, or keeping your metabolism high, NAD and its precursors can help.
What are NAD+’s beneficial effects?
Now that you know what NAD is, how can it help you? First, it assists in generating ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy, which is related to brain and cardiovascular health, sleep, repairing DNA, slowing the aging process, easing cellular oxidative stress, and boosting the health of your immune system.
Healthy levels of NAD can also help your brain health, protecting neurons within the Central Nervous System. This helps keep your brain alert and reduces oxidative damage. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide also regulates your circadian rhythms and sleep/wake cycles. When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, this can lead to not only problems with sleep and waking, but also digestive problems.
NAD+ also develops skeletal muscle which supports things like everyday mobility, and even your breathing. As you age, keeping your muscles strong and healthy is more important than ever. Strong skeletal muscles also help your posture. However, skeletal muscles require a great deal of energy to do all that. Since NAD+ assists in creating that energy, keeping your NAD levels high is crucial to maintaining muscle health.
One study was done by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, led by Dr. Shin-Inchiro Imai, and it identified a protein responsible for rapidly transporting NMN directly to cells. NAD boosters containing NMN have been tested in animal studies already, and have shown incredibly beneficial effects in older mice. Harvard Medical School researcher David Sinclair was one of the first to report on the benefits of NAD+. Most of the animal studies of older mice were focused on neurological benefits, but others focused on obesity and cardiovascular health.
NAD boosters helped blunt the effects of age-related decline and boosted production within the body in animal studies of aged mice. Human clinical trials are still in the early stages but given how promising the relevant animal research is, it’s safe to say that NAD+ is a potential game-changer in the medical world.
What are NAD precursors?
NAD precursors are what triggers NAD to be produced in the body, and there are many ways to increase these precursors naturally. One of the most common compounds known as a NAD precursor is nicotinamide mononucleotide or NMN. These precursors can stop NAD loss during the aging process and in some other health conditions.
NMN is a nucleotide which the body uses to create NAD. NMN has important functions within the body on its own as well. NMN assists in the repair of DNA and protects the heart, in addition to supporting the brain. Animal studies have also shown a link between NMN and increased NAD synthesis. In one recent study (Mills KF, et. al 2016), increased NMN in the diet was used to make NAD in the tissues. Signs of aging were slowed, weight gain lessened, and blood sugar and cholesterol were supported.
NMN supplements are preferable to others like Niacinamide, Nicotinamide, and Niacin. Unlike NMN it has a poor interaction with sirtuins (also known as longevity genes). Activating your sirtuins is another one of the many benefits of increasing your NAD levels, and nicotinamide mononucleotide is one of the few supplements available to serve that purpose.
How can I increase my NAD levels?
NAD+ has an important role to play in the daily function of our bodies. There are a lot of ways to increase the amount of NAD coenzyme in your body. You can increase the amount of NAD+ you consume in several ways. Certain foods provide an NAD+ boost, or you can increase the NAD in your diet by using a dietary supplement containing NAD precursors like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide).
The foods that are high in NAD (salmon, tuna, sardines, mushrooms, etc.) can be difficult to work into a daily diet. Consuming NAD precursors like NMN is the most efficient way to boost your NAD production. NMN supplements are readily available and the research and clinical trials are incredibly promising. Exercise and intermittent fasting can also play a role in boosting your NAD levels, but taking a specific supplement containing NMN is key if you’re looking to get real results.
The bottom line
NAD is an important coenzyme produced by all living things and the benefits of increased NAD levels are more accessible than ever. NAD+ regulates circadian rhythms, which help us sleep and improves our digestion. It also helps improve skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is important for maintaining posture and everyday mobility, especially as you age.
Between repairing DNA, slowing the aging process, easing cellular oxidative stress, and boosting the health of your immune system, NAD+ and it’s precursors (NMN) can have extremely beneficial effects. NMN is available in supplement form. NMN has been specifically linked in recent studies to increased NAD synthesis.
There have already been significant animal studies using aged mice with promising results. NAD boosters are being used in clinical trials for neurological issues, obesity, and cardiovascular health already. Human clinical trials are underway and even the National Institute of Health and Harvard Medical School are paying attention to the possible benefits of the coenzyme.
Dr. Shin-Inchiri Imai from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has also done a recent study into a protein that can rapidly deliver NMN directly to cells. This animal research has delivered exciting results and many people are turning to NAD+ and NMN supplements to improve their everyday lives.
One such supplement is CALERIE®. For any individual looking for a NAD booster, especially for those who enjoy endurance exercise and working out, CALERIE® is a perfect fit. NAD plays a key role in producing energy which can be used to improve athletic performance. It acts as an exercise mimetic to make your biological processes work more efficiently. Supplements containing trace amounts of NMN precursors like CALERIE® are an essential for getting the most out of your body.
As we continue to have important conversations about how to improve our health, NAD+, NMN, and NR have an important place in the discussion.