Anti-aging supplements like NAD have been coming into the spotlight recently. Are you interested in anti-aging solutions? If you want to know more about NAD and how to best optimize your health, then this blog is for you. Please read on for answers!
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Aging is a natural and progressive process. Over time, the body slows down, we have less energy, we become older, physically weaker and are at higher risk of disease. On a physiological level, aging is brought on by several biological factors that damage cells and DNA. As these processes happen, cells function less well and we age.
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Some of the biological changes that cause aging include (Shade, 2020):
Mitochondrial downregulation: Mitochondra are the powerhouses of the cells that produce ATP or cellular energy. They become down-regulated with time. As mitochondria function less efficiently and cellular energy production slows, less ATP is produced, cells have less energy and we feel less energetic.
DNA: Through various mechanisms, DNA becomes damaged with time.
Telomere length decreases: A telomere is the area of DNA at the end of a chromosome (a DNA molecule containing genetic information). Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes from damage. When a cell divides, the telomere gets a little shorter. The rate of telomere shortening is thought to reflect the pace at which a person ages (Shammas, 2011).
Stem cell exhaustion: Stem cell numbers and their ability to renew themselves decrease with age. This ultimately leads to aging symptoms like frailty and a weakened immune system. Without healthy stem cells, tissues and organs are unable to recover from damage and begin to fail.
Intercellular communication: Cells send and receive chemical messages to coordinate the actions of organs, tissues and cells. With aging, this cellular communication becomes dysregulated and cells lose the ability to communicate with other cells. Disease can develop if communication between cells becomes impaired.
Nutrient sensing ability declines: Cells sense, recognize and respond to different types of fuel such as glucose or ATP. The type and amount of fuel available to a cell determines which enzymes it needs to utilize that fuel. These nutrient sensing pathways become deregulated and less effective with age (Micó V, 2017).
Brain: Cognition becomes impaired. Over time, neurons in the brain become less efficient and oxidative damage starts to occur. This leads to cognitive dysfunction.
Why does the Aging Process happen?
What is NAD+?
NAD+, or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, is a metabolic enzyme found in every cell of the body and is a master regulator of metabolism. Cells cannot survive without NAD+. It is important for many biological processes, and in particular, for the aging process (Poddar SK, 2019). NAD+ is essential for many enzymatic reactions. It is involved in cell death, gene expression, neuroinflammation, DNA repair and longevity (Nadeeshani H, 2022).
As we age, levels of NAD+ decline. By the time a person reaches middle age, at around 45 years old, NAD+ will have fallen by 50% to half of what a younger person has (Schultz MB, 2017).
The decline in NAD+ affects mitochondrial function, energy production and other cellular functions. Inadequate NAD+ contributes to poor cellular communication between mitochondria and nucleus at the cellular level and between adipose tissue and hypothalamus at the systemic level (Nadeeshani H, 2022). This interruption in mitochondria and nuclear communication reduces mitochondrial function, leading to the complications and diseases that happen with age.
An increase in intracellular NAD+ boosts energy production and cellular repair (Shade, 2020). Increased NAD+ improves insulin sensitivity, repairs mitochondrial dysfunction and improves longevity (Shade, 2020). NAD+ has the ability to regenerate cells, such as muscle stem cells found in older mice (Nadeeshani H, 2022).
Why does NAD+ decrease with age?
Certain molecules in the body decrease NAD+ levels. Sirtuins, signaling proteins involved in longevity, are partly responsible (Schultz MB, 2017). Other NAD+ destroyers are PARPs (enzymes that regulate DNA). But the key issue is an increase, with age, in certain enzymes that consume and destroy NAD+ (Nadeeshani H, 2022). These enzymes are CD38 and BST1, with CD38 thought to have the most impact on reducing NAD+ levels (Schultz MB, 2017).
Can NMN help slow down aging?
If NAD+ levels can be boosted and kept high, we could delay the aging process (Nadeeshani H, 2022).
One way to raise NAD+ and slow aging is NMN. NMN, Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, is a NAD+ precursor that helps the body to produce more NAD+. A precursor is a substance used to make another molecule, especially in metabolic reactions.
NMN can slow the genetic changes linked to aging, which can lengthen longevity. In studies in mice, NMN can extend life span by 29% (Nadeeshani H, 2022).
What exactly does NMN do?
NMN has many anti-aging and health benefits:
- Metabolic Benefits – NMN repairs mitochondrial function and improves energy metabolism (Nadeeshani H, 2022). NMN can also enhance gene expression, preventing gene expression changes due to aging (Poddar SK, 2019).
- Insulin/Diabetes – Higher NAD+ improves insulin sensitivity and lipid profile in diabetic and obese mice (Nadeeshani H, 2022).
- Inflammation – NMN can reduce the inflammation related to aging (Mills KF, 2016).
- Cognition – NMN slows cognitive decline in mice with Alzheimer’s disease (Shade, 2020).
- Heart Health – NMN can protect the heart from injury and reverse arterial dysfunction by decreasing oxidative stress (Nadeeshani H, 2022).
- Gut Health – NMN regulates gut microbiota (Huang P, 2021). It increases good gut bacteria and decreases harmful gut bacteria, which inhibits gut inflammation (Huang P, 2021).
- Eye health – NMN improves retina and eye function (Mills KF, 2016).
What increases NMN?
NMN levels also naturally decrease with age (Shade, 2020). We can increase NMN levels through different methods.
NMN is found in some foods. Broccoli, cabbage, avocado, cucumber and tomato are good sources of NMN (Mills KF, 2016). Raw beef, meat and shrimp have NMN, although in lower amounts than these vegetables (Mills KF, 2016). Vitamin B3 is a building block for NAD+. Most NMN is made from vitamin B3 in the body (Shade, 2020).
It is hard to get enough NMN through diet. Dietary supplements are a stronger and better source of NMN to increase NAD+ levels in the body (Poddar SK, 2019). In supplement form, NMN is quickly absorbed and converted into NAD+.
How much Supplemental NMN is needed?
There are no official guidelines on NMN dosing. Studies show no significant adverse effects from an NMN dose of 500mg or more per day.
Are there any Side Effects of NMN Supplementation?
- High amounts of some NAD+ boosting supplements can have digestive side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, flushing, stomach discomfort and indigestion (Huang P, 2021).
- There is not much research on the long-term safety of NMN in humans unfortunately (Huang P, 2021). Short term doses have been found to have no adverse effects. One study showed that taking oral NMN (up to 300 mg/kg) for 1 year did not cause any adverse or toxic effects (Huang P, 2021).
- Some studies have found that increased NAD+ in mice can cause cancer and cancerous tumors to grow faster (Nacarelli T, 2019). Further research is needed to fully understand the role of NAD+ in cancer and the effects of increasing NAD+. Research today cannot prove definitively that high NAD+ levels actually promote cancer growth, but it is not disproven either.
- Another safety concern is the quality of NMN supplements. As with all supplements, there are poor-quality products on the market. Some products may claim to be NMN, but cost a lot less. These may not be pure NMN. Price is a good indicator in this case as NMN is difficult to manufacture. So NMN supplements can be expected to be fairly expensive. A cheap product is not going to be pure NMN. Be aware that you need to find a high quality NMN supplement. We sell a physician-grade liposomal form of NAD+ at our clinic. The liposomal form helps greatly with cellular absorption. Call us if you are interested!
How else can we increase NAD+?
- Calorie restriction, fasting and Intermittent Fasting (IF): Calorie restriction of 20-30% less than what one normally eats will boost NAD+. An IF of 12-16 hours overnight, or a longer fast, have all been shown to increase NAD+ and increase SIRT1 (Wang, 2014).
- Maintain consistent and low blood sugar levels
- Regular exercise
- Avoid excessive sun which causes cellular damage that uses up NAD+ for repair
- Heat therapy, such as hot tubs, saunas and heated pools
- A diet with foods containing B vitamins, broccoli, cabbage, avocado, cucumber and tomato
- NMN supplements
High-fat diets, alcohol and aging decrease NAD+ levels (Nadeeshani H, 2022). A diet high in saturated fat can decrease NAD+ in the liver and white adipose tissue (Poddar SK, 2019). Alcohol can interfere with NAD+’s role in maintaining overall metabolic processes and reduce the positive effects of NAD+ (French, 2016). Avoiding excessive alcohol will help to maintain NAD+.
If you are interested in anti-aging supplements, then boosting NAD+ is key. NMN supplements can be a very effective way to do this.
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