THE NITTY GRITTY
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme present in every living cell. Though NAD was discovered more than 100 years ago (back in 1906), it has come into the spotlight in recent years due to its critical role in biological functions.
NAD main role is to transfer electrons during reduction-oxidation reactions (redox).1
Redox reactions are chemical reactions between molecules, atoms, etc. in which electrons are exchanged, with one losing electrons and the other gaining electrons. Key redox reactions include:2
- Oxidative phosphorylation (a metabolic process that turns food into energy)
- DNA repair
- Gene expression (especially those affecting your circadian clock)
- Stem cell maintenance
- Calcium signaling
When you look at this list, you can immediately see why researchers are so enthralled with NAD to combat aging. Many of the key aspects that affect healthy aging include stem cell health, DNA, energy production, bone health, and proper sleep and rejuvenation.
Given that NAD levels decline with age, researchers are looking at the use of NAD supplementation to support longevity and health. One animal study has shown that NAD supplementation restored mitochondrial function to that of a young mouse in older mice.3
Another study found that NAD use mediated the effects of the age-associated functional decline in neural stem cells.4 Yet another study, operating with the understanding that increased NAD+ mitigates glycemic control, tested effects of increased NAD+ on prediabetic and diabetic mice.5
They found that NAD not only improved glucose tolerance and reduced weight gain and liver damage in the mice with prediabetes, but also greatly reduced blood glucose, weight gain, and liver concerns in mice with diabetes. It also protected against neuropathy.5
Moreover, yet another study found that NAD+ supplementation was able to reverse a specific type of DNA damage in aged mice by inhibiting one destructive enzyme from negatively impacting the actions of a critical DNA repair protein.6
Lastly, NAD+ also protected against non-fatty liver disease, completely reversing the symptoms of the disease, including fat accumulation, inflammation, impaired insulin sensitivity, and increased oxidative stress.7
While no one can turn back the hands of time, the research suggests that NAD+ can turn your lifespan into a health
1. Verdin E, et al. Science. 2015 Dec 4;350(6265):1208-13.
2. Endpoints. Elysium Health. 2017 May 22. https://endpoints.elysiumhealth.com/5-reasons-scientists-are-studying-nad-the-golden-nucleotide-11cd7bb7e6af.
3. Gomes AP, et al. Cell. 2013 Dec 19;155(7):1624-38.
4. Stein LR and Imai S. EMBO J. 2014 Jun 17;33(12):1321-40.
5. Trammell SAJ, et al. Scientific Reports. 2016;6:26933.
6. Li J, et al. Science. 2017 Mar 24;355(6331):1312-7.
7. Zhou CC, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2016 Aug;173(15):2352-68.