Found in virtually all living cells, NAD+ (the charged form of NAD) is essential for body function and life. This powerful coenzyme (a helper molecule for biochemical reactions) is one of the most abundant in the body. NAD+ is crucial for metabolism and longevity; it slows the aging process, which is exciting to anyone looking to live a longer, healthier life.
Researchers have identified two general sets of reactions for NAD+ in the human body. NAD+ helps turn nutrients into energy and transport that energy into cells (metabolism), and it assists proteins in regulating other critical biological activities. What kind of activities? NAD+ appears to reduce chemical stress and inflammation, repair DNA, regulate immune pathways, and decrease mitochondria dysfunction—all of which are imperative for maintaining health and youthfulness. For example, when mitochondria aren’t functioning well, people can experience a seizure, stroke, developmental delay, heart and kidney issues, and problems with speech, sight, digestion, and other functions. DNA damage is equally problematic to aging; it can lead to mutations and genomic instability that result in various cancers and other diseases. In these ways, NAD+ protects our energy-producing capacity while shielding us from chronic diseases.
Multiple studies demonstrate NAD+’s potential through nutritional supplementation. A key benefit is that NAD+ increases protein interactions, making old (damaged) tissue appear young again! These benefits could apply to the skin and internal tissues; however, the findings related to skin are incredibly encouraging. NAD+ mitigates skin damage due to UV sensitivity, skin cell death, DNA damage (leading to moles, freckles, blemishes, etc.), and even skin cancer.
Unsurprisingly, NAD+ is known to activate sirtuins, which are proteins that play a significant role in controlling aging and longevity. This association may help explain NAD+’s impact on age-related disease. Studies show that lower levels of NAD+ not only accelerate aging but promote metabolic disorders (diabetes, etc.), heart disease, muscle wasting, and cognitive decline. Keeping NAD+ levels high, therefore, has protective benefits, which the studies are demonstrating. Because aging and high-fat diets, for example, reduce the level of NAD+ in the body, studies in mice showed that NAD+ boosters could alleviate their diet-associated and age-related weight gain while improving exercise capacity, even in older subjects! Also, a 2019 study showed that NAD+ supplementation decreased systolic blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
What great news, since levels of NAD+ decrease substantially with age. By the age of 50, we may have only half of the NAD+ that we had at age 20; by the age of 80, the amount is only 10%. The good news is that we can restore NAD+ levels through a healthy diet, exercise, and proper supplementation. Since NAD+ is unstable, we cannot use it as a supplement. Thus, most NAD+ supplements are made from nicotinamide riboside—a precursor that the body can utilize to make NAD+. Research shows that supplementing with nicotinamide riboside boosts NAD+ levels, providing all the benefits noted above. For more impact, try an NAD+ infusion. Intravenous infusions, which we provide at Aesthetics Medical Spa, take longer to administer but offer better support and protection.
Exercise is another way to increase NAD+ naturally; daily workouts require more NAD+ for energy, and your body responds by producing it. From a dietary standpoint, focus on plant-based foods high in vitamin B, especially B3 (niacin)—another precursor to NAD+. These include avocado, asparagus, nutritional yeast, peanuts, mushrooms, whole grains (barley and buckwheat), millet and quinoa, potatoes, tomatoes, green peas, and sunflower seeds. All of these foods provide nicotinamide, the precursor to NAD+. Intermittent fasting can also stimulate the body’s production of NAD+, thereby slowing aging and promoting longevity. Read more about the benefits of fasting, and learn why fasting is a successful component of every anti-aging program.
In summary, keeping NAD+ levels high through supplementation and lifestyle modifications will benefit you in numerous ways. NAD+ not only shows tremendous potential for improving health but for increasing life span and slowing the aging process—something I think we all want to experience!
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