By enhancing the energy production of the body, the entire spectrum of biological processes that keep us alive and healthy are greatly optimized. Since the dawn of medicine, scientists and the medical community has discovered a plethora of compounds that improve human metabolism and provides these very benefits.
Many cutting-edge supplements today contain a vital compound that plays a key role in the production of energy at a cellular level. This compound is called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, also known as NAD. In its reduced form it is NADH or its oxidized form NAD+.
What is NAD?
NAD is a close relative of the vitamin B complex. It is an important coenzyme required for several important biological functions in all living cells. As a matter of fact, all living things in the plant and animal kingdom rely on the function of NAD supporting energy production in the cells. Without this vital nutrient, health conditions deteriorate and cellular death approaches.
NAD plays a vital role in cellular respiration, which is the process by which cells use oxygen to metabolize nutrients from the diet into ATP cellular energy. In a reversible reaction, NAD+ gets reduced to form NADH. It can then be recycled many times to continue this process.1
NADH and NAD+ also have important roles to play in various other enzymatic processes of the body. It is required in the detoxification of alcohol and acts as a catalyst in changing aldehydes into materials the body uses for many other processes.
In summary, NAD plays a vital role in cellular health including the maintenance of DNA structures, the production of energy, and the enzymatic processes that support life on many levels.
While the human body is capable of creating this important nutrient within the body, the production decreases with age. There has been sufficient evidence to believe supplementation can provide benefits to a body with low NAD levels.
What follows are some of the potential benefits of supplementing with this important nutrient. Further, in the reading, we will look at some ways to increase NAD levels naturally.
Benefits of NAD
Improves Cognitive Function
Cells require plenty of energy to maintain their personal health and make their vital contributions to the body as a whole. Some cells use more energy than others. The cells of the brain are some of the most power-hungry cells in the body.
The cells and structures of the brain use around 20% of the total energy produced by the body. Without this hefty supply, function begins to weaken considerably. Medical studies have proposed that those metabolic agents that improve ATP have an equal impact on the brain’s capacity to use and process information.2
There is significant evidence to show that NADH and NAD+ can mitigate the harshness of stress and improve the mood. A brain that is running low on energy is less likely to think creatively and more likely to sense dangers and threats in its environment. This means it has a greater tendency towards stress.
Improved energy levels of the brain allow for a more versatile perspective and greater resilience to stress and anxieties. In the long term, increased energy levels and less stress protect the brain from cognitive decline, dementia, and other conditions.3
Reverses the Aging Process
Antioxidants play an important role in postponing and countering the effects of the aging process. A large part of the visible, physical, and mental signs of aging are directly related to the effects of oxidative damage. This is caused by free radicals that are byproducts of many biological processes. Antioxidants in all their forms offer special protection against this damage.4
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Since NAD is found in every cell of the body, high levels of this redox agent increase antioxidant actions everywhere. One study in the field of cosmetic medicine showed how NAD counters the effects of aging in the skin. Participants showed results of brightening and revitalizing effects from topical applications.5
Naturally Increasing NAD Levels
Those looking to improve their levels of NAD may consider some healthy lifestyle changes that can increase the body’s natural production of this important compound.
The Ketogenic Diet
A low-carb diet causes the body to seek out alternative fuels to power physical and mental functions. Studies have shown that this energy production increases the levels of NAD+. This is especially true when supported by medium chain triglycerides, as found in MCT oils. This study extols the ketogenic diet plan for its capacity to protect the brain in this way.6
Another way to boost the natural production of NAD+ and NADH is to get plenty of exercise. Physical exertion raises metabolism so that more energy can be provided to the heart, lungs, muscles, and brain. This increased metabolism requires the body to increase its production of NAD to meet these demands.
Sauna and Heat Exposure
Whether you choose to sweat it out in the sauna or spend some time sunbathing on a warm summer’s day, heating the body is another good way to improve NAD+ levels. When the body temperature is elevated, a cooling system is applied which requires energy. The energy used to cool the body increases the levels of NAD+.7
NAD in the Diet
- Milk and Dairy
- Crimini mushrooms
- Green vegetables
Risks and Precautions
Foods high in NAD do not have a record of adverse reactions under the limit of 10 mg daily. With this in mind, it is important to begin any plans for increasing NAD+/NADH levels with a clean bill of health and professional advice.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Not enough is known about the possible risks or benefits of taking supplementation while pregnant or breastfeeding. Discuss any risks or benefits with a qualified doctor and proceed under their recommendations.
No known interactions have been reported, but if you are on medication or have any health conditions speak with your medical provider before beginning supplementation.
Final Notes on NAD Benefits
The role of NAD in all its vital forms affects the vital process that leads to increased mental and physical capacity. While NAD supplementation can improve these levels, the best results come through supporting NAD intake with healthy life habits.
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