All You Need to Know About NAD+
NAD+ is a coenzyme found in all cells in your body. According to David Sinclair, a director of Harvard Medical School’s Institute of Aging, NAD+ is the closest scientists have gotten to the fountain of youth. It’s such an important molecule that without it, you will die in seconds.
NAD+ helps maintain proper functioning of the whole body and regulates aging in cells. Levels of NAD+ in the body decline significantly with age. Research, however, shows that re-upping NAD+ levels in mice makes them act and look young.
In a 2017 study, researchers gave a dose of a compound that’s known to raise NAD+ levels to a group of mice by adding it to water. NAD+ levels in the mice rose significantly within hours. Better still, in a week, the signs of aging in the muscles and tissues of older mice were reversed. The tissues of 2-year-old mice pretty much looked the same as those of 4-month-old mice.
Effects of low NAD+
NAD+ works with mitochondria to generate energy for the cells. NAD+ is also used by different pathways to stimulate several processes in your body. All these involve complex processes with chemical reactions, substrates, and precursors.
For us not to be lost in details, let’s use a simple every-day analogy: NAD+ is like a battery. Batteries power tools and gadgets that are essential for everyday living. When the batteries are low, the tools stop working.
To understand the effects of low NAD+ you have to look at the whole connection between batteries, tools and then go up to the point where tools execute tasks.
Low NAD+ hastens aging.
Sirtuins (SIRT) and poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) are powered by the NAD+ ‘batteries’. SIRT enzymes stimulate processes that manage aging by regulating fat storage, blood sugar, and inflammation. PARP on the other hand repairs damaged DNA. Damaged DNA that has by PARP can trigger cell death.
DNA damage increases with age and this reduces the amount of NAD+ in your body. Reduced levels NAD+ means fewer batteries available to power SIRT and PARP. This increases the processes regulated by SIRT and PARP and that leads to more damage to DNA. This becomes a vicious cycle that continually depletes NAD+ and speeds up aging.
Decreases cellular antioxidants
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in your body; this makes them vital enzymes. Oxidative stress simply means the imbalance between free radicals and your body’s ability to get them out of the system.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that fasten aging and cause many ailments. To live a longer and healthier life, you need more antioxidants and as little free radicals as possible.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD2) is an antioxidant whose ability to ‘eliminate’ free radicals is boosted by SIRT3. Without NAD+, SOC2 and SIRT3 levels drop and this increases oxidative stress which, in turn, leads to aging and diseases.
Increases inflammation and causes an immune imbalance
When you’re injured or sick, your body goes into overdrive in trying to correct the issue, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a fracture or flu. The immune system relies on NAD+ to stimulate the recovery. When NAD+ levels are low, inflammation increases and sickness gets worse. Low NAD+ can lead to an acute issue turning into a chronic condition.
Increases UV ray damage on skin and skin cancer
Every time you’re out in the sun, your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays. Without protection, the UV ray exposure leads sunburns and can cause skin cancer.
Sunburns and skin cancer start as cell damage. As we said earlier, NAD+ plays an important role in repairing DNA damage by activating PARP and SIRT. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona revealed that NAD+ is critical to human cells in relation to UV ray exposure. Also in the study, researchers found out that NAD+ deficiency increases damaged DNA’s ability to survive, sun sensitivity and can cause cancer.
NAD+ regulates metabolism which is linked to every process in the body. One of these processes is thyroid hormone production. NAD+ deficiency leads to lowered metabolism and thyroid levels; these produce secondary problems like fatigue and weight gain.
Impairs Brain function
Your brain is a powerful ‘machine’ that runs 38 thousand-trillion operations per second. Its massive computational power requires huge amounts of energy. Mitochondria are the power plants of the body. For the brain to function at optimum levels, it needs a large number of mitochondria.
Low NAD+ leads to mitochondrial dysfunction which then leads to cognitive decline – from simple issues like brain fog to chronic conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Health benefits of NAD+
The benefits of re-upping your NAD+ are numerous. NAD+ improves physical performance, immune response, and physical endurance. Increasing your levels of NAD+ can also help you manage blood pressure, aging and reduce cholesterol. There is a direct link between you NAD+ levels and your overall well-being.
How to increase your NAD+ levels
NAD+ cannot be consumed as capsules. It has big molecules that can’t filter through the Gut-Intestinal system. Here are the most effective ways of raising NAD+ levels in the body:
1. IV or IP injection
Scientists have successfully used IV injections in mice. Injections have also proven to be effective in humans. If you choose the IV route injection, however, you’ll have to endure 8 hours of being attached to a drip. Also, it costs over $1000 so it’s quite pricey.
2. Sublingual delivery
Because of its low molecule weight, NAD+ easily filters into the bloodstream through the capillaries under your tongue. This is an effective affordable and less intrusive way of increasing your NAD+ levels.
The future of NAD+
For nearly 100 years, scientists have known that NAD+ is extremely important. Technological improvement and scientific research are gradually showing us how we can make most out of it.
For instance, a 2018 MIT study revealed that NAD+ promotes growth of muscles and blood vessels in mice. Another study conducted by Elysium Health in 2017 showed that taking a regular dose of an NAD+ precursor boosts NAD+ levels in the body by about 40%. There are much more to discover as scientists explore how far NAD+ does when it comes to human health. But, every sign so far points to a brilliant future.