In this video, we are going to talk about NAD, what it is, why it’s thought to be involved in the aging process, and ways to possibly increase your NAD+ levels.
Please understand, in this video, I am not giving you medical advice. This is meant for general information and educational purposes only.
What is NAD+?
NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It is required for over 500 enzymatic reactions throughout the body. NAD plays key roles in the regulation of almost all major biological processes. But what most people care about as far as NAD is concerned is that it might allow us to lead healthier and longer lives.
NAD+ controls hundreds of key processes from energy metabolism to cell survival, rising and falling depending on food intake, exercise, and the time of day.
NAD+ levels steadily decline with age, resulting in altered metabolism and increased susceptibility to numerous diseases. It has been shown that restoration of NAD+ levels in old or diseased animals can promote health and extend lifespan.
That’s the theory behind NAD boosters. By raising NAD+, NAD+ boosters could have profound effects on the health and survival of mammals.
Ways to boost NAD+
Caloric restriction extends lifespan and prevents chronic diseases in a range of organisms, including yeast, worms, flies, mice, rats, and perhaps in monkeys and humans. It has been suggested that caloric restriction, by increasing the levels of intracellular NAD, could stimulate sirtuin activity and extend the lifespan of organisms.
I recently discussed a study that showed that older adults with above-average amounts of exercise had NAD levels essentially equivalent to younger adults in their 20s to 40s.
The approach that has attracted most attention in clinical research involves stimulation of NAD+ synthesis by supplementation of NAD+ precursors.
Effects of NAD+ boosters on health
Again, consider the fact that NAD+ depletion is a common factor in numerous diseases. Several studies have been published in which NAD+ repletion by means of supplementation with NAD+ boosters has been successful in ameliorating the outcomes of neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic diseases, and age‐related complications.
Given the critical nature of these pathways in the liver, the maintenance of NAD+ levels is imperative for optimal organ function. In pre-diabetic mice, the NAD precursor NR improved glucose tolerance, reduced weight gain, liver damage and prevent and reverse the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Reduced levels of NAD+ in aged kidneys and a corresponding decrease in sirtuin activity are largely responsible for reduced kidney function and resilience with age. NAD precursors appear to prevent age-related and toxin-related kidney damage.
Treatment of old mice with NAD+ precursors, such as NR and NMN, dramatically improves muscle function. For example, treatment of old mice with NMN reverses detrimental age-associated changes in muscle, by increasing mitochondrial function, increasing ATP production, reducing inflammation, and switching type II muscle to a more oxidative fiber type.
Cardiac, endothelial, and vascular function
Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases contribute to the greatest decline in quality of life after 65. They are directly responsible for about one third of all deaths. NAD+ levels are critical for normal heart function and recovery from injury.
NAD+-related metabolites have promising therapeutic effects in cardiovascular disease and arrhythmic susceptibility.
Treatment of old mice with NMN has been shown to restore carotid artery endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD), a measure of endothelial function, as well as reduce artery stiffness.
Immunity and inflammation
NAD+ precursors have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Treatment of 24-month-old mice with NMN for one week reduced the expression of inflammation markers such as TNFα and IL-6 in skeletal muscle.
Numerous studies have reinforced the view that NAD+ levels are key to neuronal function and survival.
Aging and Longevity
Recently, it has become clear that a steady decline in total NAD+ levels over time is a natural part of life for all species.
Though NMN or other NAD+ boosters have not yet been tested for their effects on human lifespan, some mice have been dosed for long periods. For example, starting at 5 months, NMN was administered to mice for over a year. Treated mice had increased activity, improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles, improved vision, and greater bone-density. These health benefits and age-reversal activities support the possibility of using NAD+ boosters as therapeutics against a broad range of age-associated diseases and possibly as a way to delay aging and age-related physical decline.
What can we make of all this information?
Cellular NAD levels decrease during the process of chronological aging. NAD plays a key role in energy metabolism, cell signaling and energy sensing.
NAD replacement therapy with NAD precursors, activators of NAD synthesis and/or inhibitors of its degradation may serve as target for age-related metabolic dysfunction.
There is much still to learn, but we know NAD+ boosters seem relatively safe and have a remarkable ability to prevent and treat diseases, at least in animal studies. Whether these findings will translate to humans is the next big question. Preliminary results in small human clinical trials look promising but there is a long way to go.
For NAD+ boosters to be used widely as drugs, it will be important to understand their safety profile and how to best deliver them and at what dose. We need to learn which are the best biomarkers to follow, and whether it is best to modulate the degradation or synthesis of NAD+ to achieve the desired efficacy in specific diseases.
It is exciting to imagine an NAD+ booster being tested in humans for the ability to increase vitality, reduce all causes of mortality, and extend healthy lifespan.
Links to studies in the comments
If you would like to read the studies I mentioned in the video, here are links to them:
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