NAD+ stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. This compound has a direct impact on our energy levels. What is it and why should I care?
The human body uses a variety of compounds to generate energy. One such compound is NAD+. When we eat food, the digestive tract breaks down the nutrients into smaller components called coenzymes. These coenzymes then combine with other compounds to form NAD+, which helps us produce energy from the nutrients we consume.
NAD+ plays a vital role in maintaining energy levels in our bodies. Its production depends on the availability of specific vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. In addition to being involved in energy metabolism, NAD levels also contribute to cell growth and development.
Nicotine is an organic compound that contains one carbon atom (C) and six hydrogen atoms (H). It's similar in structure to vitamin B3 (niacin) but differs in its chemical formula. The carbon at the 1st position is bound to three hydrogens, while the rest are bound to two hydrogens each.
For nicotine to be converted into NAD+, it must first lose its 3rd hydrogen to another molecule. This process is known as reduction and requires the presence of oxygen. Once this occurs, the remaining 5hydrogens are removed from the compound, leaving only one attached to the nitrogen base.
NAD+ is composed of five parts: four carbohydrates (two ribose sugars and two deoxyribose sugars) and one phosphate group. Ribose is a naturally occurring sugar found in all living organisms. Deoxyribose is a sugar that lacks an OH group on the 2nd carbon. Both sugars can be broken apart into their parts, the structure of nad is complex and it includes:
Ribose - C5H8O5
Deoxyribose - C5H4O3
Phosphate - PO43-
Where does NAD+ come from?
NAD+ is produced by cells within the liver and kidneys. These organs use glucose as a source of fuel and break it down into pyruvate. Pyruvate is then reduced into lactate through a series of reactions involving enzymes. Lactate is transported out of the cell via diffusion or by active transport mechanisms.
Once outside the cell, lactate combines with H2O to yield acetyl CoA. Acetyl CoA is then used to synthesize fatty acids, cholesterol, and triglycerides. As you may know, these substances are essential building blocks of the cell membrane. They're also needed to make ATP, which provides the "fuel" for cellular activity.
Acetyl CoA is the precursor to many important metabolic intermediates, including citrate. Citrate is subsequently converted into oxaloacetate, which is then combined with acetyl CoA to form malonyl CoA. Malonyl CoA is required to initiate the synthesis of fatty acids.
The most common cause of low NAD+ levels is age. With time, the number of mitochondria decreases due to increased oxidative stress. Since mitochondria contain high concentrations of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and flavoproteins, they play a key role in the breakdown of fats and proteins into usable metabolites.
With fewer mitochondria, fewer NAD+ will be produced. As a result, the amount of available NAD+ will decrease. For people over 50 years old, the level of NAD+ drops by about 10%. NAD+ levels increase when caloric intake increases.
Nicotinamide adenine nucleotides are involved in numerous biochemical processes that support healthy tissue growth and function. In addition to being a cofactor for more than 100 different enzymes, NAD+ plays a vital role in DNA repair, gene expression, and mitochondrial metabolism.
It's no surprise that our bodies need plenty of NAD+ to perform these functions. Unfortunately, we don't get enough of it from food alone. Our diet often consists of processed foods that lack nutrients like vitamins and minerals. That means we have to rely on supplements to ensure sufficient amounts of NAD+ reach our cells.
There are several ways to boost your NAD+ levels, depending on what you want to accomplish. Here are some suggestions:
Increase dietary consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Consume adequate protein, fiber, vitamin B6, and folate.
Take supplemental NAD+ precursors such as niacin, riboflavin, choline, and methionine.
Reduce exposure to cigarette smoke and other environmental toxins.
If you're interested in optimizing your health and performance, supplementing with additional NAD+ could help you achieve those goals. We recommend starting with 1 gram per day and slowly increasing the dose until you see results.
Supplementing with NAD+ has been shown to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, enhance immune responses, protect against free radical damage, and promote healing.
In addition, studies suggest that NAD+ supplementation can positively impact sleep quality, energy levels, mental clarity, weight loss, athletic endurance, and overall physical wellness.
Supplementing with NAD+ may even protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease.
We are still learning how much longer people live after taking NAD+ supplements. However, research suggests that NAD+ supplementation may extend the life span and delay the onset of diseases associated with aging.
Studies show that mice given extra NAD+ lived an average of 20% longer than control animals who were not supplemented. Other animal studies have also demonstrated that NAD+ supplementation improves outcomes related to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and obesity.
Side effects or risks associated with NAD+ supplementation
As with any nutritional supplement, there are potential side effects and risks associated with NAD+ supplements. Some possible side effects include allergic reactions, diarrhea, insomnia, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, skin rash, and vomiting.
People use NAD+ supplements to treat various conditions, including neurological disorders, metabolic dysfunction, liver-related diseases, and autoimmune disorders.
Some individuals choose to take NAD+ supplements because they believe they will experience fewer symptoms of aging. Others take them to address their own specific needs, such as boosting energy levels or enhancing brain activity.
Yes! Research shows that NAD+ supplementation is safe, well-tolerated, and effective when used at recommended doses. There have been hundreds of clinical trials conducted over the past two decades that demonstrate the effectiveness of NAD+ supplementation.
The majority of these studies focused on improving cognitive function and treating degenerative diseases. The following is a summary of key findings from some of the most important clinical trials:
- Supplementation with NAD+ improved memory and concentration in older adults. In one study, participants who took 500 mg of NAD+ daily for three months showed significant improvements in working memory and verbal fluency compared to placebo.
- Supplementation with 600 mg of NAD+ daily led to faster recovery times and fewer adverse events among patients recovering from acute myocardial infarction (heart attack).
- A trial involving 100 patients with type 2 diabetes found that participants receiving 300 mg of NAD+ daily had lower hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood sugar) and better insulin sensitivity than participants who received a placebo.
- One small clinical trial suggested that supplementation with 400 mg of NAD+ daily reduced depression symptoms in women with the premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
In addition to its role in energy metabolism, NAD+ has several other roles in maintaining healthy heart tissue. For example, NAD+ helps regulate vascular tone and contributes to endothelial cell integrity. It also promotes vasodilation by helping the body’s cells produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a critical role in regulating blood pressure and blood flow through the circulatory system.
Several recent studies suggest that NAD+ supplementation can help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These studies indicate that NAD+ supplementation reduces resting blood pressure and increases exercise tolerance in both humans and rats.
Supplementing with NAD+ may also improve cardiac muscle structure and function. This may be due to the antioxidant properties of NAD+, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. Another possible mechanism involves mitochondrial biogenesis, which allows the mitochondria to increase numbers and improve efficiency. Increased mitochondrial density leads to greater ATP production, which improves overall cardiomyocyte performance.
If you are thinking about supplementing your diet with NAD+, here are some points to consider:
• While there are no serious side effects associated with taking supplemental NAD+, it is best to start slowly and gradually work up to higher doses. Start with 200–300 mg per day and progress to 500 mg per day if tolerated.
• If you have any concerns regarding the safety of using NAD+ supplements, talk to your doctor before starting.
• You should not use NAD+ supplements during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their physician before beginning treatment.
• Do not exceed the recommended dose. Excessive amounts of NAD boosters can lead to liver damage.
• Be sure to obtain all of your food from reputable sources as dietary supplements aren’t regulated like drugs.
• Be sure to follow proper dosage instructions when taking your supplements.
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