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All About NAD: What It Is and NAD Benefits You'll Love

An image of NAD's molecular structureNicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a long name and not the easiest to pronounce, is an important coenzyme in your body. NAD benefits are far-reaching, and it's no wonder why supplementing with NAD has become increasingly popular.

NAD supplementation comes in many different forms and can be used for many different reasons. This article covers the basics of NAD, what it is, how it works, and how NAD can benefit your health.

What Are NAD Benefits?

NAD is a coenzyme within your body. Coenzymes are naturally made within your body and help to facilitate important processes. NAD, also known as NAD+ and NADH, is one of these coenzymes.

If you did biology at school, you may have learned about the cell structure within your body and the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and provide the energy for the cell. But behind all powerhouses is another powerhouse fueling it, and for the mitochondria it’s NAD.

The more NAD there is, the more energy your mitochondria can produce and the more efficient bodily processes can be. NAD production starts to decline with age and as a result your body and mind naturally start to age with this decline. Whilst this may sound doom and gloom, NAD levels can be increased through lifestyle and dietary changes as well as through supplementation.

The Many Roles of NAD

NAD has many important roles within the body. These include:

  • DNA repair
  • Energy regulation
  • Gene expression
  • Cell signaling

Whilst these roles may seem basic, they are important and a reason why the NAD benefits are far-reaching.

Let’s take a look at some of these NAD benefits more closely.

NAD Benefits Energy

Fatigue is a commonly experienced symptom and can be experienced as a result of your busy lifestyle, stage of life, or a result of a previous medical condition such as Covid-19.

The mitochondria in your body are involved in supplying your cells with enough energy also called ATP. There are multiple coenzymes involved in the production of ATP. However, NAD is the main one involved in energy production.

The concentration of NAD within the cell is typically kept high, but due to age, stressors, and medical conditions this concentration can become low. This low level then results in a lower amount of energy being produced.

The higher your NAD levels, the more NAD you will have in your cell available for energy production. The more energy you have, the less fatigued you will feel.

NAD Benefits Weight Loss

The increased energy from the mitochondria, not only helps give you more energy but also boosts your metabolism.

With the increased energy from the mitochondria, the body has more energy to use to boost the metabolic processes. This results in the processes happening faster and your body burning more energy rather than converting it to fat. This can result in weight loss.

NAD Benefits Anti-Aging

One of the NAD benefits and one that is the most common reason for supplementing is that NAD can help, and potentially reverse, the effects of aging.

Aging not only affects your skin but affects multiple parts of your body. And NAD benefits multiple areas that can be affected by aging.

Skin

An image of a woman looking at her skin in a mirrorAs you age, the veins that carry blood to your body start to break down through vascular aging. This results in less blood being pumped to your skin, and this blood helps maintain a youthful appearance. When the amount of blood being pumped to your skin reduces, it can cause wrinkles and a tired appearance. NAD can improve this blood flow, helping to keep your skin youthful and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Muscle

The breakdown of veins not only affects your skin but your muscle too. NAD assists with the communication between blood vessels and muscles. The natural reduction in NAD with age, combined with the reduction of veins, is a double whammy for your muscle growth.

NAD supplementation can help replenish the levels of NAD, improving communication and improving blood flow, a win-win for your muscles.

Heart Health

As the vein walls become weaker with age it can also bring additional changes to the heart. These changes include the arteries becoming stiff. The heart walls increase, and the part of the heart that controls your heartbeat, known as the pacemaker, can lose some cells. This can lead to heart conditions such as an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

NAD helps to maintain blood flow as well as provide energy to the heart cells. Research has found that replenishing NAD levels could protect the heart against these heart conditions.

COVID-19

NAD can potentially assist in preventing and managing Covid-19. As you age, the level of NAD decreases. Additionally, being overweight or already having a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease can reduce levels of NAD.

These conditions have also been found to have a higher risk of complications and death from Covid. Research has proposed a link between Covid complications and a reduced level of NAD. Covid can also deplete NAD levels, and if an individual has a risk factor, this can cause further depletion of the NAD levels, increasing the risk of complications.

There are many NAD benefits, and with Covid, NAD can assist with the regulation of the immune response. It may also help provide protection against the virus and help reduce the uncontrolled inflammation that can cause complications and death.

Supplementing with NAD or receiving a therapy that is designed to increase NAD levels can help potentially reduce the risk of getting Covid and reduce the risk of developing complications.

Mental Health

Depression is a common mental health condition that affects millions of individuals globally. Serotonin is a hormone produced by the brain also known as a happy hormone. This happy hormone regulates your mood and helps to prevent depression.

If there is a deficiency of serotonin within the body, it can cause low moods and depression. NAD can increase the levels of serotonin within the body, helping to regulate mood and potentially reducing depression. The increase in serotonin not only helps with depression but can also help in controlling anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Brain Health

Your brain is made up of cells called neurons, and these neurons are responsible for cognitive functions such as concentration, memory, and communication.

Myelin insulates the neurons and enables the communication between neurons so it's fast and efficient. If the myelin becomes damaged, the communication between the neurons will be slower.

Damaged myelin then affects cognitive functions and can result in conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Damage to the myelin can be caused by inflammation brought on by viral infections and medical conditions as well as a decline in age.

NAD is active in the brain and protects the neurons from losing myelin protection. This helps to prevent damage to the myelin, and it helps to preserve cognitive functioning. NAD supplementation can help to replenish NAD levels and can slow down the effects of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and dementia.

Sleep

An image of a man trying to sleep at 2:06 amA lack of sleep can cause multiple effects on your body. It can reduce your energy levels and increases the risk of chronic conditions. According to research, a single night's sleep of less than seven hours caused cells to age faster, accelerating the aging process. Sleep disturbances are not just the inability to go to sleep. They also include waking up multiple times in the night and waking up and being unable to fall back to sleep.

A circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that your body naturally goes through to carry out bodily processes. The sleep-wake cycle is a circadian cycle and helps you to regulate your sleep. Sleep disturbances usually involve the sleep-wake cycle being disrupted. There are multiple natural ways to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and NAD is one of these. NAD helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle helping to reduce sleep disturbances.

DNA Health

As you age, the number of mutations and errors in the DNA increases. If these mutations and errors can’t be repaired it can cause the cell to die and can increase the risk of the DNA turning cancerous. Researchers suspect that this could correlate to the reduction of NAD as you age.

NAD not only helps to repair DNA but it also helps to fold the DNA into the correct shape, preventing errors and mutations from occurring at the start.

Addiction

During recovery from addiction, withdrawal effects can be intense. Addiction can also cause cell damage within the body as well as a reduction in NAD.

NAD supplementation can help to relieve withdrawal effects and drug cravings reducing the chance of a relapse. It can also help with the repair of cells and preserve brain health, which might have been damaged during addiction.

How to Increase NAD Benefits Naturally

After reading the many NAD benefits, you may be wondering how you can increase your NAD levels. NAD can be replenished naturally through lifestyle and dietary choices as well as through supplementation.

Increasing NAD Through Lifestyle

During exercise, stress is placed on the body. This stress naturally increases the use of NADH to produce energy to sustain exercise. The use of NADH results in higher levels of NAD. Exercises that can create this stress include interval training and aerobic exercise such as running.

Alcohol interferes with the metabolic processes, and since NAD is part of these processes, alcohol can reduce levels of NAD. If you would like to optimize your natural levels of NAD, drinking alcohol in moderation can help.

Excessive sunlight can also deplete NAD levels due to the NAD being used to repair cells that were damaged by the sun. If you do go out in the sun, protect your skin with sunscreen and sunglasses. This will not only keep your skin free of sun damage but benefit your NAD levels.

Increasing NAD Through Diet

Several substances make up NAD and work as building blocks for NAD. These building blocks are:

Food sources of these NAD building blocks include:

  • Whole grains
  • Milk
  • Yeast
  • Bananas
  • Fish

Food sources can also contain NAD itself. These sources are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Green vegetables
  • Fish

Supplements for NAD Benefits

An image of a woman taking SupplementsNAD supplementation offers a way to boost your NAD levels and lets you control the dosage of NAD without guessing whether or not you received NAD and how much you may have received. It is available in several different forms that include capsule, spray, patch, subcutaneous and IV NAD.

The benefit of a spray, patch, subcutaneous or IV NAD is that it releases NAD directly into the bloodstream, as in the case of IV NAD, or the nasal and mouth membranes and skin absorbs the NAD, as in the case of a NAD spray or patch. Oral NAD historically has not been well absorbed as it gets broken down by gastric juices easily.

With NAD supplementation, you can choose how you would like to receive NAD and which mode you would prefer. The dose of NAD depends on the mode of supplementation and can range from 200-500mg, sometimes more for individual cases. The frequency of the supplement depends on the mode of administration and your health goals.

If you do opt for NAD supplementation, a healthcare practitioner can help guide you with the dosage and frequency of supplementation so you can reap the most NAD benefits.

Administration of IV NAD has to be dripped into the bloodstream slowly, but it's the most effective way of boosting NAD levels. People might feel some discomfort in the gut or the chest while the drip is going through, that's because repairing mitochondrial DNA is an intense process for the cells. If you feel discomfort, slow down the speed of the drip to your tolerance.

Is NAD Supplementation Safe?

Whilst the NAD benefits are substantial, the dose of NAD is important.

Research has found that a dose of 1000-2000mg is safe in humans. Dosages higher than this range, however, caused symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.

Another important fact to remember is that dietary supplements are not all approved by the FDA. This means that the safety and efficacy is not verified. If you do decide to receive the NAD benefits through NAD supplementation, use NAD from a reputable source that uses good quality NAD.

NAD and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS)

AFS is a cluster of symptoms that individuals can experience due to chronic stress. In your body, you have adrenal glands above your kidneys. These adrenal glands respond to stress by releasing stress hormones. Chronic stress can cause the adrenal glands to become depleted and the stress hormones are unable to keep up with the stress response.

This results in a cluster of symptoms such as weight gain, mental health issues, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system supports the adrenal glands and consists of six circuits. Three organs make up each circuit.

Two of these circuits are the Neuroaffect Circuit and the Inflammation Circuit. The brain, autonomic nervous system, and the gut microbiome make up the Neuroaffect Circuit and the immune system, digestive tract and gut microbiome make up the Inflammation Circuit.

In times of AFS, these circuits become imbalanced, leading to an increase in inflammation and a disturbance in brain hormones. This disturbance can lead to depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. NAD can help to balance the brain hormones, regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and helps to reduce inflammation. This can help to ease the symptoms associated with AFS.

Cautions of NAD Supplementation With AFS

An image of a woman talking with her doctorBefore you go and invest in NAD therapies to reap the NAD benefits, it is important to consider the cautions of NAD. During AFS the body can become very sensitive and can react to these types of stimulating therapies.

The NAD supplements are not all regulated by the FDA, and the quality of ingredients cannot be verified. If you are currently experiencing AFS, chat with your healthcare provider before trying NAD. They can help guide you in terms of supplementation safety and dosage.

Conclusion

NAD is an important coenzyme in your body and the NAD benefits are proving to be significant. There are multiple ways to increase your NAD levels, either by lifestyle and dietary changes or through supplementation. Trying some of these methods can help keep your NAD at an optimal level and helps you to receive the NAD benefits.

If you are concerned that your NAD levels may be low or you are concerned that you may be experiencing AFS, our team at Dr. Lam can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1 (626) 571-1234 where we will privately discuss any issues you may have. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2022 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

The precursors for NAD include Niacin, Tryptophan, and NR and NMN. The precursors are found in supplemental forms. Once ingested they will be converted to NAD. These supplements are not as potent as the NAD benefits, however, as the precursors still need to be converted to NAD.

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