A multigenerational family smiling at each other. A multigenerational family smiling at each other. A multigenerational family smiling at each other.

Understanding the Aging Process

By Dr. Sandra Kaufmann, author of Why We Age and How to Stop It and the founder of The Kaufmann Anti-Aging Institute.

The search for the “fountain of youth” is as old as time itself. While we all know there’s no miracle pill to reverse aging, there are many steps we can take to get rid of our grey hairs, treat wrinkles, and ease the pain in our joints. 

Research shows the best way to understand what’s happening on the outside is to look within. 

What are the seven tenets of aging?

On a molecular level, organisms age because their cells age. Our bodies are a well-oiled machine, and as the various parts wear away and falter, so do we.

Understanding what happens on a cellular level is key to understanding aging. My protocol on aging organizes the various theories of cellular aging into seven categories, or tenets. The seven tenets are information systems (DNA), cellular energy, cellular pathways, quality control (cellular repair), immune system, individual cell aging, and waste management.

To age healthier, we must develop a wellness regimen to cater to these seven tenants. Besides a healthy diet and regular exercise, one promising and evidence-based approach to add to your wellness regime is  NAD+ supplementation. 

NAD+ and the aging process.

All of our cells rely on the coenzyme NAD+ to generate the energy they need to function at their best. Research shows that the NAD+ levels in our bodies decline by up to 50% between the ages of 40 and 60. 

The reduction in NAD+ as we age corresponds with a decline in our cell’s ability to produce energy and function properly. Other factors that may deplete NAD+ levels include metabolic stressors, such as overeating, sun exposure, sleep disruption, and alcohol consumption.

This natural decline may be at the heart of several tenets of aging. 

NAD+ and cellular energy.

NAD+ is essential to the production of cellular energy. NAD+ works alongside coenzyme Q10 and several enzymes in a cellular organelle called the mitochondria to produce the energy that powers your cells. Declines in NAD+ may reduce our cells’ ability to extract energy from food or regulate their metabolism, making cells less efficient and at greater risk of dysfunction. 

NAD+ and DNA integrity.

Another key tenet of aging is damage to our DNA, the instruction manual that tells each of our cells what to do.

Every day, our body will accumulate quadrillions of new mutations in our DNA. Much of this damage, called “oxidative damage,” is caused by our metabolism and can be accelerated by poor diet, lack of sleep, overdrinking, inflammation, and a sedentary lifestyle. 

NAD-dependent enzyme poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) regulate the cellular response to metabolic and physiological stressors, preventing the accumulation of oxidative damage. Without NAD+, our cells wouldn’t have functioning PARPs, which are essential for cellular defense. 

NAD+ and cellular repair.

Likewise, NAD+ is essential for repairing the damage caused by our environment and metabolism. Cell damage can cause cell cycle arrest, where duplication and division are placed on hold. Cells stuck on hold, or in “senescence,” are to blame for many aging symptoms.

Our cells must find a way to repair any damage before the cell cycle can resume. When DNA is damaged, our cells rely on NAD+ to help facilitate cellular repair processes by activating important NAD-dependent enzymes called sirtuins, which play an active role in cellular repair.

How can you boost your NAD+ levels to support cellular health?

The physical changes that you see in your body as you age reflect what’s happening within your cells. I recommend taking NAD+ boosters to improve your cellular energy, support cellular repair, and promote a healthy cellular metabolism.

A product that I personally recommend is Tru Niagen®, which is the most well-studied form of the NAD+ precursor nicotinamide riboside. Nicotinamide riboside is proven to safely increase the NAD+ levels by up to 40-50% with daily supplementation.

While some aspects of aging are outside our control, there are still many within our grasp. If we really want to improve the way we age, we have to work towards it every day. Start today by monitoring your diet and what you consume. 


Dr. Sandra Kaufmann is the founder of The Kaufmann Anti-Aging Institute and the author of “Why We Age and How to Stop It.” After years of research and studying thousands of anti-aging substances, Dr. Kaufmann conceived the seven tenets of aging. Recently, Dr. Kaufmann launched My Protocol, an app that provides personalized regimen for users based on their particular aspects of aging and skin concerns.  

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