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NAD+: The Fountain of Youth?

Anti Aging Clinic Tampa FLIn Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver visits the land of the Luggnaggs, where he meets the Immortals, who ask him what he would do were he granted immortality.

Gulliver fantasizes about gaining great wealth, learning, and knowledge. He imagines communing with other immortals in a group of wise ones, setting a virtuous, grand example for the rest of mankind.

Like many people, Gulliver links immortality with perpetual youth, health, wealth, and wisdom. However, he soon discovers that, although the Immortals live forever, they continue to age and are eventually stripped of their health and wealth.

Instead of becoming wise and understanding, they become jealous of youth and the ability to die. Unlike the protagonist in Jonathan Swift’s classic novel, not all of us pine for immortality.

What we really want is youthful vigor over the entire course of our lives. We want to feel great and look fantastic into our 70s, 80s, 90s, and even beyond.

Researchers are constantly exploring ways to harness the body’s regenerative capacity to slow and even reverse the aging process. And most of the recent research points in the same direction — preserving youth by attacking the problem at the cellular level.

One chemical compound that has shown significant promise is Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).

NAD+ A Vital Cofactor

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is present in every living cell, is an essential cofactor — a substance that other enzymes rely on to perform vital physiological processes.

Since its discovery in 1906, a growing body of research has revealed that NAD+ is central to energy metabolism and that it, directly and indirectly, influences many key cellular functions, including DNA repair, chromatin remodeling, cellular senescence, and immune cell function.

These cellular processes and functions are critical for healthy aging.

Unfortunately, as we age, NAD+ gradually declines, which isn’t just a symptom of aging — it causes aging. Low levels of NAD+ have been linked to a variety of age-related diseases, including metabolic disease, cancer, cognitive decline, sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength), and frailty.

The good news is that the body produces NAD+, and there are ways to support its production of it. The three pathways the body uses to manufacture NAD+ are these:

  • The de novo synthesis pathway was created from scratch using L-tryptophan (an amino acid in turkey, milk, and whole grains). This is a complex, multi-step process.
  • The Preiss-Handler pathway uses dietary nicotinic acid and the enzyme nicotinic acid phosphoribosyltransferase (NAPRT). This too is a complex, multi-step process.
  • The “salvage pathway” recycles NAD+ from chemical precursors, such as nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). This third pathway is streamlined, allowing for a rapid increase in NAD+ levels through supplementation with NR or NMN. NMN is preferred because it has a dedicated transporter in cell membranes that carries it directly into cells, where it’s converted into NAD+.

The NAD+ Sirtuins Connection

NAD+ also serves as a coenzyme for sirtuins, which regulate histone deacetylation — a process that removes small chemical groups (acetyls) from histones (spherical proteins around which DNA is wrapped inside the nucleus of each cell).

Deacetylation promotes genome stability, ensuring correct gene expression, which helps to slow the aging process. NAD+, alone and in combination with sirtuins, delivers several anti-aging benefits, including the following:

  • Supports overall health: NAD+ is fuel for sirtuins, which play a key role in numerous physiological processes for maintaining health and vitality.

  • Supports healthy inflammatory response and curbs age-related inflammation: NAD+ is essential for producing two proteins (sirtuins and CD38) that support a healthy inflammatory response:

  • Sirtuins help to control the production of NFκB, which is involved in the production of cytokines — inflammatory molecules involved in the immune response.

  • CD38 (also known as cyclic ADP ribose hydrolase) is a glycoprotein on the surface of many immune cells that also supports a healthy inflammatory response.

  • Supports insulin control and energy production at the cellular level: Sirtuins help to control the production of PGC-1α — a protein involved in insulin signaling and mitochondrial biogenesis, the process that increases the number and size of mitochondria (the energy generators in cells).

  • Improves the body’s ability to repair DNA and supports genomic integrity: NAD+ is a cofactor for a family of enzymes involved in DNA repair, the maintenance of genomic integrity, and programmed cell death.

  • Helps regulate circadian rhythm to enhance restorative sleep: Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle controlled by the body’s biological clock.

    NAD+ plays a key role in the production of NAMPT, the enzyme that creates NAD+ from vitamin B3. Restoring healthy NAD+ levels may support the body’s circadian rhythm, resulting in the production of additional NAD+.

Increasing Your NAD+ Levels

Your NAD+ levels need not decline with age. You can take steps to restore and maintain healthy levels. Here are seven ways to boost NAD+:

  • Practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting involves going without food for extended periods of time on a regular basis. You may choose to eat one meal a day, go without food from 8 in the evening until 10 the next morning, or follow some other method.

    Intermittent fasting offers numerous health benefits, including weight loss, healthy blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and improved blood sugar regulation. Fasting also enhances sirtuin activity.

  • Exercise regularly. Preferably alternate between endurance-building and strength-building exercises. Regular exercise has been shown to help maintain healthy levels of NAD+ in muscles.

  • Reduce sun tanning: Sun tanning requires DNA repair, which can deplete your NAD+ levels. Of course, some sun exposure is certainly healthy. Fresh air and sunshine are two keys to overall health but avoid over-exposure.

  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol consumption is linked to a notable drop in NAD+ levels. In fact, NAD+ is commonly used in alcohol detox protocols and may reduce cravings for alcohol and alleviate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

  • NAD+ subcutaneous injections: One of the fastest and easiest ways to boost NAD+ is through subcutaneous injections, which can be done at home. 

  • Take a quality oral NMN supplement. NMN is a key ingredient your body can access quickly and directly to replenish NAD+ levels and support sirtuin activity.

  • Take a sirtuin-activating compound (STAC). STACs include resveratrol (present in grapes and red wine) and Quercetin, which has milder effects than resveratrol.

    However, Quercetin offers multiple health benefits, including promoting metabolic health, reducing inflammation, calming mast cell reactivity, and serving as an antioxidant.

Anti Aging Clinic Tampa FL

Note that NAD+ isn’t a cure-all or a one-size-fits-all option to restore health and vitality. Your body needs healthy nutrition, exercise, pure water, fresh air, and sunshine.

In addition, your body may be low in one or more essential nutrients, or you may have a hidden infection or a buildup of toxins that are sapping your energy and making you feel tired, achy, or weak.

Here at BioDesign Wellness Center — a Tampa, Florida, functional medicine clinic, we encourage you to approach NAD+ like the cherry on top.

Address any and all underlying conditions first to restore the foundation of health, and then look at options such as natural hormone replacement therapy and supplements for boosting NAD+ in order to take your health and fitness to the next level.

Consult a functional and integrative medical practice near you for a complete workup so that you and your doctor know what’s going on below the surface before pursuing any treatment plan. If you’re in the Tampa, Florida, area and looking for an anti-aging clinic, we can help.

Contact us to schedule your initial consultation.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at BioDesign Wellness Center, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.