Many anti-aging researchers see maintaining your energy as the key to extending good health and delaying old age.
It’s not just about whether or not you feel tired by mid-afternoon. Everything you and your body does require energy. That includes breathing and digesting food for yet more energy.
When your cells have plenty of energy, you feel young – and your cells do their jobs. They keep your heart thumping, your blood flowing and your immune system fighting off infections.
When your cells don’t have enough energy, they feel tired and cranky – and so do you.
Even more importantly, they do their jobs in a half-assed way. Your liver doesn’t eliminate toxins. Your muscles don’t repair damaged tissue. Your immune system overlooks cancer cells.
Everything slides downhill, putting your health at risk in many ways.
They are separate organelles inside your cells. You have trillions of them. They’re often called the powerhouses, batteries or furnaces of your cells. They take glucose or fatty acids and combine it with oxygen to form ATP. And ATP is what your cells burn for energy.
To work properly, your mitochondria need nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), so it’s a popular subject within the anti-aging community.
As you age, your NAD+ levels go down. If you can boost your NAD+, will that keep you young?
Nobody knows for sure, but many people are betting it will.
Besides being necessary for healthy, functional mitochondria, NAD+ turns off certain genes that drive aging. It’s a cofactor for important enzymes that activate sirtuins.
SIRT1 is the sirtuin gene activated by resveratrol, which has been famous for years.
Therefore, NAD+ appears to turn off unhealthy genes much like resveratrol and caloric restriction do, but does so more directly. This affects fat synthesis, inflammation and the management of blood sugar levels.
What’s not to like?
There’re No Clinical Trials in Human Being Demonstrating the Value of NAD+
So far, all the studies have been done with mice and rats.
If we assume an effective way to increase NAD+ would benefit older humans, how can we do it?
You can’t take NAD+ itself, because it’s digested before reaching your cells.
The answer lies with niacin or niacinamide, better known as Vitamin B3.
Supplement manufacturers began selling nicotinamide riboside (NR), which is an alternative form of Vitamin B3.
Your body converts both Vitamin B3 and NR into NAD+.
Recently, several companies have come out with yet another alternative molecule your body turns into NAD+. That’s nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN).
Now the manufacturers are claiming NR works better than NMN – or NMN works better than NR.
Depends on which side you’re on.
Remember, Most Studies to Date Are on Rats or Mice
Also, in the furor over whether NMN does or does not increase your NAD+ more than NR, nobody seems to be testing either one against plain old Vitamin B3.
That’s a common vitamin widely available that costs much less than NMN and NR.
Do You Need to Take a Supplement to Boost NAD+?
NR was first discovered in cow’s milk, so you can get trace amounts of NR just by drinking milk. However, nobody can say whether you can consume enough NR from milk to make a significant difference in your NAD+.
Niacin raises your NAD+, so you can not only take niacin supplements, you can eat foods that contain a lot of niacin. This includes liver, chicken breast, turkey, tuna, anchovies, avocado, ground beef, peanuts, brown rice, mushrooms, whole wheat, and potatoes.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is also a precursor to NAD+. You can get it from eating eggs, turkey, salmon, soy products, spinach, oatmeal, seeds, and nuts.
Studies show Vitamin D also raises NAD+ in cells. That doesn’t prove Vitamin D raises NAD+ in the human body, but getting an adequate supply of Vitamin D is good for your health in other ways. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. If you’re inside a lot, you live in the north of it’s between October and April, you can take Vitamin D supplements.
Resveratrol increases NAD+ in your mitochondria. Of course, it comes in supplement form, and people like to talk about the resveratrol in red wine. You can also consume it just by eating red/black grapes, peanuts, cranberries and blueberries.
Lowering your caloric intake raises your NAD+ levels. You can do this through caloric restriction. That’s eating a low number of calories every day.
In my opinion, intermittent fasting is easier. You do feel hungry for short times, but when you eat, you eat until you’re full and satisfied.
Both practices raise NAD+.
The activity most closely tied to your body’s energy levels is of course exercise. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a shocking exercise raises your NAD+. After all, it pushes your mitochondria to produce more energy.
Therefore, your body adapts to exercise by increasing both the number and size of your mitochondria.
Both aerobic and resistance exercise, therefore, naturally raise your NAD+.
What Reduces Your NAD+?
Alcohol and high blood levels of insulin and sugar.
Can You Get Too Much NAD+?
Yes. Too much energy can disrupt your sleep and circadian cycles.
Remember, although NAD+ is essential to good health and long life, that doesn’t mean NR and NMN supplements are the best way to live forever. That has NOT been proven.
Do keep your NAD+ levels high with a nutritious diet, not overeating, avoiding alcohol and exercising regularly.