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NAD+ Benefits: The Key to Anti-Aging

Aging is an irreversible process. There are no creams or serums that can bring your cells back to their youthful beginnings.

So instead of buying into anti-aging, or reversing the aging process, modern science focuses on living your best life or what is called healthy aging. Ultimately, this means staying healthier for longer. 

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+, is a molecule that holds great promise for healthy aging. NAD+ benefits your entire body, since you’re made up of trillions of cells. The power of being able to increase NAD+ through modern scientific advancements may be considered life-changing.

What Is NAD+?

NAD+ is a coenzyme present in all living cells. A coenzyme is a molecule that works with an enzyme to speed up a specific chemical reaction. NAD+ is required for over 500 enzymatic reactions and plays key roles in the regulation of almost all major biological processes. 

Enzymes work in tandem with NAD+ to help produce the body’s energy within your cells’ mitochondria. Mitochondria are nicknamed “the powerhouses of the cell” because they produce energy for all your cellular functions. In fact, 90% of your body’s energy is made within your mitochondria. Without NAD+ your body would come to a complete stop.

Unfortunately, research shows that NAD+ levels decline as we age, particularly past the age of 40.This decrease in NAD+ is connected to a decrease in cellular energy and repair, which can potentially lead to accelerated aging.

Oxidative Stress and Aging

Oxidative stress and decreased DNA damage repair increases with age due to lower cellular NAD+. NAD+ depletion may play a major role in the aging process at the cellular level by limiting (1) energy production, (2) DNA repair, and (3) genomic signaling.

Mitochondria, while great at producing cellular energy, also produce a byproduct called free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage to DNA, RNA, and proteins, wreaking havoc on cellular function. Without the proper NAD+ levels, the body may be less able to repair DNA, which results in more rapid aging.

Usually our bodies have a healthy amount of antioxidants to combat the problem, keeping a delicate balance of free radicals and antioxidants. But sometimes lifestyle habits push things off balance.

Habits such as lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, poor diet, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes all kick our mitochondria into overdrive, which shifts the balance of our free radicals to an unmanageable level. This is what’s known as oxidative stress. 

You can counteract the natural decline in NAD+ levels and the effects of oxidative stress with lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and routine exercise, along with supplementing with NAD+ precursors.

Higher NAD+ can improve mitochondrial efficiency, leading to less oxidative stress on your body. This leads to numerous benefits.

Benefits of NAD+:

NAD+ supports hundreds of biological processes, including:

  • Heart health

  • Brain health 

  • Muscle health

  • Reduced inflammatory markers

  • Eye health

  • Cell repair

  • Generates energy in cells

Heart Health

NAD+ ensures that your mitochondria produce enough energy to drive cellular function. A decline in mitochondrial function in cardiac cells can affect heart health. In conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise, boosting your NAD+ levels helps your mitochondria produce the energy required to support heart health.

Brain Health

Your brain is the hungriest organ in your body. At only 2% of your body weight, its main function—processing and transmitting information—consumes a full 20% of your body’s energy every day. This energy comes from mitochondria, which convert food into energy in the cells. NAD+ allows mitochondria to generate around 95% of the brain’s energy by making ATP (adenosine triphosphate). And just to give you an idea of how important mitochondria are to brain function, each brain cell has around 2 million mitochondria.

Muscle Health

Skeletal muscle cells can contain thousands of mitochondria, and NAD+ localization to mitochondria is important for muscle function. Exercise and movement require significant energy, and your muscle cells use NAD+ to help fuel contraction and relaxation. Your cells also need to repair themselves from any damage done and cellular repair requires NAD+.

Eye Health

The retina is a demanding tissue when it comes to energy requirements, and NAD+ plays a crucial role in providing this energy supply.  NAD+ homeostasis has been shown to be vitally important in the survival and function of neurons in the retina, in preclinical models. UV light exposure can also damage ocular tissues via oxidative stress. NAD+ has been shown to mitigate the aging effects of oxidative stress.

Sleep Regulation

Misaligned circadian rhythms lead to things like jet lag and sleep deprivation. NAD+ helps regulate circadian rhythms, helping keep energy metabolism, hormone regulation, and body temperature variations all in sync and working at their best.

Cell Repair

NAD+ doesn’t just help catalyze energy generation in the mitochondria. NAD+ is also a vital resource for DNA repair, helping fuel the repair enzyme PARP-1. An article published in Molecular Biology of the Cell illustrates NAD’s importance in PARP-1’s response to DNA damage. 

Sirtuins, a class of proteins that help regulate gene expression, are NAD-hungry as well. Sirtuins need NAD+ to help keep chromosomes stable, repair damaged DNA, and reduce cellular stress.

Generates Energy in Cells

Enzymes work in tandem with NAD+ to help build energy within the cells’ mitochondria.

There are several ways cells and mitochondria produce energy, and the most efficient way is the electron transport chain process.  NAD+ temporarily binds with mitochondrial enzymes, and when the bond breaks,  NAD+ transfers electrons with the enzymes. These electrons help catalyze a chemical reaction, triggering the production of energy. It’s called a “chain” because multiple enzymes work together like an assembly line, passing the electrons down to the following enzyme. NAD+ ignites these mitochondrial power plants in your body, and without it, the electron transport chain would not start—the assembly line would halt.

The Key to Healthy Aging Lies in Your Cells

Scientists have often looked to the mitochondria in anti-aging (or healthy-aging) research. 

The logic follows the idea that if the mitochondria are the source of all cellular energy, any malfunction or reduction of power may be the reason all cellular functions gradually deteriorate. 

And a decline in cell function is what we know as aging.   

Reducing oxidative stress via nutrition, exercise, and sleep are some significant changes you can make in your daily life. But raising NAD+ levels with precursor supplements can give you an added boost to ensure you stock your cells with the resources needed to maintain resilience as you age.

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