Despite more than a hundred years of history (more on that below), scientific discoveries and research reports – NAD+ did not gain mainstream notoriety until 2013. The catalyst for this media rise was a breakthrough study and research paper by Harvard scientist David Sinclair and his colleagues.
The report found that the mitochondria in the muscles of elderly mice were restored to a youthful state after being injected with NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide), a molecule that naturally occurs in cells and boosts levels of NAD. NMN occurs naturally in the precursor to NAD, nicotinamide riboside (NR). And NR can be extracted and made into NAD+ supplements.
This anti-aging possibilities was picked up the press and consequently lead to an uptick in the interest (and purchases) of NR supplements.
The main distributors being ChromaDex and their competitor Elysium Health, which was founded by a Sinclair colleague. Both companies released scientific reports to prove that their NR supplements increased NAD levels which implies the anti-aging benefits.
Let’s look at these commonly asked questions when comes to NAD+ and treatments involved.
- What is it?
- What are the side effects?
- What will this do for me?
What is it?
NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme (a compound necessary for enzyme function) that powers our metabolism by helping our mitochondria convert food into energy. NAD levels have also been connected with aging process, so NAD injections and supplements are said to increase these levels and thus prevent the effects of aging.
NAD contributes to a process of electron functioning that helps our body maximize the available energy in our food. There are a few components involve with this process:
- NAD: The overarching, raw from of this compound.
- NAD+: The oxidized form of NAD
- NADH: The reduced form of NAD. NAD+
When electrons are transferred during oxidation-reduction reactions, NAD+ is converted to NADH (and vice versa) as reactions are completed.
NAD is available through oral supplements sold at any health store. There are natural ways to boost NAD levels as well such as a high-fat, low carb “keto” diet and intermittent fasting.
NAD+ treatments are offered which can help with cellular repair, energy levels and neurological function. Read more about our services here.
What are the side effects?
The main side effect of NAD+ intravenous (IV) drips is time duration. The NAD+ drip takes approximately 3-4 hours. Unfortunately there’s no way to speed up this without potential side effects. In fact, potential side effects such as chest tightness, nausea, sinus pressure, cramps and lightheadedness are all mitigated by releasing the nutrient solution into the body slowly.
There’s no doubt that high levels of NAD+ is a good thing for personal health. A healthy diet, exercise, and vitamins are recommended as overeating and lack of movement can contribute to lower NAD+ levels. Here are some other benefits to keeping NAD+ levels high.
- Improves mitochondria health – As discussed, NAD+ has a direct impact on mitochondria process and function. NAD+ injections ensure this codependency stays intact which maintains body energy levels.
- Increases GABA in the brain – NAD+ powered supplements are sold as brain health enhancers after studies showed potential improvement of GABA in the brain. Gaba is a chemical messenger in the brain which reduces neuron activity and may control fear and anxiety reactors of our brain.
- Improves oxidative damage – There’s extensive evidence that oxidative stress plays a role in aging. High levels of oxidative damage result in lower NAD+, so injections or supplements could reverse this effect.
- Cellular repair – In 2017, Harvard scientists found that the NAD precursor NMN, had the ability to reduce DNA damage from aging and radiation exposure. The discovery was noteworthy because science is unable to explain why cells are less adept at patching up DNA as we age. NAD+ could be a big factor and worked into medicine of the future.
What will this do for me?
In addition to the health benefits above, there some specific and general health conditions that NAD+ treatment can be used for.
- Lyme Disease – Lyme Disease is found throughout the USA and sixty other counties. The condition is transmitted by various types of ticks and results in fatigue, joint and muscle pain, etc. Given NAD+ ability to improve energy and metabolism efficiency, it serves as a natural antidote to reduce symptoms. Some think it may even be a treatment option for Lyme but there’s clinical trial data is not available at the moment.
- Levels of NAD+ and aging – Sirtuins are a class of proteins that are said to influence cellular processes such as aging, transcription, apoptosis, inflammation and more. Cells use NAD+ to help sirtuin proteins function. Telomeres are the protective caps at the end DNA strands, some compare these to the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Telomeres become shorter over time, so long telomeres are considered a factor for long lifespans. NAD+ levels also drop as we age.When you get older, our bodies develop more of a compound called CD-38, which destroys more and more NAD+ until the balance is shifted.
- Sleep and Hunger Cycle Improvement – Our integrated circadian clocks allow our bodies to predict our feeding, sleeping and activity cycles so enzymes and mitochondria are ready to deliver or store energy as needed. Scientists have found some evidence that NAD+ levels help regulate this process.
- Biohacking (optimal health) – The prevalence of information today has allowed people to optimize their entire health system. NAD+ fits into the energy, metabolism and anti-aging sector for this form of personal health. Even if you’re not looking to treat a certain condition or aliment, you may see a significant positive effect on your health with NAD+ and similar treatments.
NAD+ History and Scientific Developments
Before Sinclair’s report, scientists found mice had gained 60 percent less weight with NR diets and had improved energy levels during a 2012 study. They said the metabolism improvements were “nothing short of astonishing.”
However the complete history of NAD+ discovery and exploration dates back to a British biochemistry lab in 1906. Chemists William John Young and Arthur Harden made their discovery by noticing that boiled and filtered yeast extract expedited the alcohol fermentation process that occurs with unboiled yeast.
Eventually, scientists were able to pinpoint the exact cause of this chemical reaction as a nucleotide sugar phosphate which contributes to our DNA and RNA’s ability to store and transmit cell information.
The next major discovery relating to NAD+ came in 1939, when American biochemist Conrad Elvehjem was able to isolate the vitamin, nicotinic acid, commonly known as niacin. Elvehjem’s discovery was able to cure pellagra, a disease caused by niacin deficiency.
His discovery also lead to the conclusion that nicotinic acid and nicotinamide were precursors to NAD+. This opened the door for synthetic manufacturing of NAD+ and NADH.
Significant scientific discoveries relating to NAD+ continued throughout the century and into the 2000’s when Charles Brenner found nicotinamide riboside was a kinase pathway to NAD+. This lead to the production and sale of the NR supplements by ChromaDex and the beginning of manufacturing and sale of NAD+ supplements.
Dr. Jason Phan NMD – LIVV Natural Health | Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in IV Vitamin Therapy, PRP (platelet rich plasma)/Regenerative Injections, Men’s and Women’s Health, and Optimal Living. .