Do you want to live young for many years? Everything indicates that with a perfect diet, constant physical activity and the right dose of stress you can achieve it. But the devil is in the details, of course, because not everyone meets those requirements. For this reason, most anti-aging treatments and supplements are designed to fill the gap, and NAD+ supplements are no exception.
Intermittent fasting to slow down aging
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a coenzyme or auxiliary molecule in many chemical reactions in our body. It participates in nothing less than the conversion of food into energy in the mitochondria, the energy producers in cells, in the repair of damaged DNA, and as a messenger molecule to, for example, adjust our internal clock and circadian rhythms. Yes we lack NAD+, we have problems.
Unfortunately, it has been found that the amount of NAD+ in the body decreases naturally with ageand can be behind many diseases associated with aging, such as diabetes, cardiovascular or neurodegenerative diseases and vision loss. This is where supplements come into play.
Supplements to increase NAD+
Although it says it on the label, there is no NAD+ in the bottle of these supplements, but a precursor. The most studied supplement to increase NAD+ levels to date is called nicotinamide riboside (RN), and it is an alternative form of vitamin B3 (niacin). In the body, RN is converted to NAD+.
The effects of the RN are currently researching for its application in cardiovascular diseases, neuronal functions, metabolic alterations, muscular and renal injuries, aging and relief of the symptoms of chemotherapy.
Animal and human studies have found that nicotinamide riboside increases blood NAD+ levels up to 2.7 times. Also, the increase in NAD+ activates certain enzymes called sirtuins, which have been extensively studied for their role in increasing lifespan and health in animals. In other animal studies it has been seen that NR protects Alzheimer’s neurons avoiding the degradation of mitochondria, the most likely cause of the disease.
It has also been seen that nicotinamide riboside can prevent cardiovascular diseases in older people at risk of hypertension. Other studies have found evidence that nicotinamide riboside speeds up metabolism and may help with weight loss, reduces oxidation and cancer risk, improves jet lag, and improves muscle function, but more human studies are needed to see if these effects are transferred to people.
As if this were not enough, there is another NAD+ precursor that is also being aggressively marketed for the same purpose. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is treated, which is a molecule very similar to RN, but with an additional phosphate group. The NMN is marketed by a different company than the one that sells the RN, under a different patent. Both companies have Nobel laureates among their founders, and have been trying for years to prove that their supplement has superior efficacy.
In the trials carried out so far with mice and with human volunteers, it has been seen that NMN also improves metabolism, and also has some additional benefits, such as a remodeling (for the better) of the gut microbiota and telomere lengthening, the ends of the DNA chain whose shortening is associated with aging. the possible NMN applications they are also very similar, as it works by increasing NAD+, and include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and retinal degeneration.
The scientists they keep debating which of the two precursors, NMN or NR, is better and safer to increase NAD+. Due to the size of the NMN, some researchers believe that the NMN must be converted to NR before entering the cell. If this is confirmed, the most efficient supplement would be the NR.
NAD+ without supplements
The benefits of maintaining NAD+ levels in our cells are more than proven. That said, can NAD+ levels be increased naturally? The studies indicate yes. The alternatives will not be unknown:
- Exercise: especially intense exercise makes the cells produce more NAD+.
- Avoid sunburn: NAD+ reserves are depleted by repairing cell damage caused by UV rays.
- Exposure to heat and cold: Thermal shock such as cold showers or a sauna trigger increased NAD+ production.
- Diet: a sufficient intake of B vitamins is necessary, present in the liver, fish, avocado, whole grains or peanuts, among others.
- fermented: Some foods, such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, or kombucha, contain NAD+ as a result of fermentation.
- Intermittent fasting and ketosis: Intermittent fasting and glucose restriction cause NAD+ levels to rise.
What is all this based on?