NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is an enzyme produced in our bodies. NAD+ levels decrease as people age. This causes cellular mitochondria health to decline and opens the door for age-related diseases.
In addition to growing older, NAD+ levels decline due to obesity, stress, and lack of exercise. NAD+ levels are increased by physical exercise and caloric restriction. NAD+ is crucial for brain function and nervous system function.
Mitochondria are the dynamos of the cell. They ingest the nutrients from your bloodstream, break them down, create energy and provide energy to the cell. Overall, this process is known as cellular respiration. All cells require this process to function properly. Aging processes are activated as the power levels of your mitochondria begin to wane.
Recent studies in mice have shown remarkable results with reprogramming aging dysfunctional stem cells to become younger healthier stem cells. Nicotinamide riboside (NR, a form of vitamin B3) halted and reversed the effects of aging on these stem cells. Additionally, NR had other interesting results when used in human testing.
NR is converted in the body to NAD+. This dinucleotide has two primary functions – to combat aging and to activate proteins called sirtuins, specifically SIRT1 and SIRT3. Sirtuins control gene expression. SIRT enzymes turn off genes that promote aging. Typically, these genes activate a process that promotes inflammation, fat synthesis and storage, and blood sugar management.
NAD+ is found in supplements (capsules). A high-fat, low-carb keto diet assists the development of ketosis in the body. In ketosis, our body will switch from a glucose-based energy system to a fat-based energy system. This increases NAD+.
NAD+ is also used in other functions. The primary function in the cell is to produce ATP (Adenosine diphosphate). NAD+ is critical for methylation in the body. Methylation creates neurotransmitters, antioxidants, and other critical molecules needed for maintaining stable health.
Methylation is critical for liver health and the creation of glutathione, coenzyme Q-10, melatonin, serotonin, nitric oxide, norepinephrine, L-carnitine, cysteine, and taurine.
NR impacts our metabolism to reduce the risk of obesity. NR ceases and reverses nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in mice which were fed high-fat and high-sugar diets to induce NAFLD. Additionally, NR restored the cognitive function of mice undergoing chemically induced Alzheimer’s symptoms.
NR, through its ability to boost mitochondrial function in the brain, could slow typical Alzheimer’s related processes. It also delayed the death of brain cells providing a neuroprotective benefit.
The studies I quoted above are based on animal testing. NR has been sold as a supplement. There are great results for those people using them with few to no side effects. NR is like vitamin B3, but not exactly vitamin B3. It is a combination of nicotinamide and ribose.
Vitamin B3 is known as niacin or nicotinic acid. Niacin includes nicotinamide or niacinamide. These compounds are found in certain types of meats, tuna, and mushrooms. Niacin maintains a healthy cardiovascular system, balances blood cholesterol levels, prevents diabetes and helps with brain function and healthy skin formation.
Foods containing nicotinamide are yeast, meat, milk and green vegetables. Niacin deficiency causes diarrhea, dementia-like confusion, tongue redness, and swelling.
NR has relatively no side effects. However, niacin can induce nausea, skin rashes, headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms. Be careful at any dose when using niacin. I’ve personally had hot facial flushes where I could feel my skin heat up and turn red at normal doses.
Do not confuse NR and vitamin B3. They sound almost the same and have similar protective properties in the body, but there is a difference.
Always consult your family physician before adding supplements, even vitamins, especially if you are taking any prescription drugs.