NAD+: Miracle Molecule or Anti-Aging Hype?
When you think of growing older, what comes to mind in terms of health? Aging brings many challenges: energy levels drop, bones and skin lose resiliency, and it takes longer to recover from injuries and toxins. Perhaps most importantly, our bodies’ cells lose their ability to effectively produce and use energy.
Science and medicine continually find new tools for understanding and even improving the natural processes of aging. In 2013, researchers led by Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School showed in mice that a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+, is a major regulator of aging at the cellular level.1 Since then, NAD+ and compounds that increase it in the body have become a major focus of anti-aging researchers and functional medicine practitioners.
What Is NAD+?
NAD+ enables energy production in the mitochondria of all living cells, which occurs through the oxidation of nutrients, also known as metabolism. Formed in the body from B vitamins, NAD+ also activates proteins called sirtuins, which are enzymes that give rise to new mitochondria,2 protect DNA, and regulate aging in response to dietary nutrients. As such, NAD+ is what’s called a coenzyme, or helper molecule, that helps other enzymes do their jobs.
NAD+ Vs. Aging
Without NAD+, mitochondria could not produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy necessary for life to exist. As we age, NAD+ levels decline in our cells, which leads to mitochondrial disfunction, energy dysregulation, and eventually cell death. By raising NAD+, we may be able to restore our mitochondria to a youthful state, similar to what is seen in mouse studies.3
Sirtuins depend on sufficient NAD+ levels to function. In yeast, worms, flies, and mice, these enzymes promote longevity in response to stresses like calorie restriction or DNA damage, in part by increasing antioxidant pathways and DNA repair mechanisms.4 That is also key reason why periodic fasting can be so beneficial for health.
Alcohol and drug use also depletes the body of NAD+, which is used to process and detoxify those compounds, leading to cellular stress and damage in cases of substance abuse. Numerous studies in mice have shown that by increasing levels of NAD+ in cells, certain hallmarks of aging can be reversed, such as lost telomere length,5 liver fibrosis, and neurovascular function and cognition.6
How to Increase NAD+ in Cells
IV infusions of NAD+ deliver the active compounds directly into the bloodstream to supply cells with fuel for their mitochondria and sirtuin activity. At Vitality, we use infuse NAD+ alone, or depending on your condition, supply vitamin and mineral cofactors to make your infusion even more beneficial.
Oral supplements can increase NAD+ levels, although they are less effective than IV infusions, because pills must first pass through digestion in the gut, and only a fraction of each dose gets absorbed to makes its way into the bloodstream. Because NAD+ would not make it through the digestive process, precursors (nicotinamide riboside) must be used in oral supplements, whereas IV therapy can deliver intact NAD+ directly to the bloodstream.
Now, it is increasingly possible to slow down our aging clocks by using the latest in medicine and technology. To learn more about NAD+ IV treatments and if they could help you, call Vitality to schedule an appointment.