Can NAD Supplements Help You Age Healthier?
NAD (also called NAD+) is the wellness molecule you’ve probably heard mentioned a dozen times but likely know very little about. America’s favorite biohacker Ben Greenfield calls it the darling of the supplement industry. You may have even considered purchasing NAD supplements for your wellness regimen, except for not knowing which to pick.
Now it’s time to dive deeper into this prolific particle and see how it can benefit you.
What Are the Benefits of NAD Supplements?
Technically known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, NAD is a coenzyme found in every living cell.
According to Dr. Charles Brenner, an anti-aging researcher at the University of Iowa, NAD assists other enzymes in chemical reactions that “convert food into DNA, hormones, and even energy in the form of ATP.”
“You couldn’t function without NAD,” Dr. Brenner says. There are several areas of our health that NAD+ may improve, and most of them are related to improving our metabolism.
1. May help support healthy aging
In a study conducted on mice, researchers found that NAD+ improved mitochondrial levels and increased muscular senescence.
Dr. Brenner said that NAD+ is consumed by sirtuin enzymes that “protect against stressors like free radicals.” This counteracts the ‘wear and tear’ of our cells.
2. May help support normal cardiovascular health
NAD+ is important for the heart’s metabolism.
Studies show that NAD+ positively impacts the heart’s mitochondria (just like the mitochondria in other cells), which could make it useful in supporting normal heart health.
3. May help support healthy muscle
Research notes that NAD+ levels decline with age – right alongside muscle density.
Since muscles require significant amounts of ATP, scientists believe that NAD+ could be useful in helping maintain muscle mass and function during aging.
Are There Risks Associated With NAD Supplements?
When speaking of NAD+ supplements, most people are actually referring to “NAD precursors,” Brenner said. These include Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN), and tryptophan. Of these precursors, NR – patented as Niagen – is the most widely studied in both clinical and preclinical trials.
“Niagen has been studied in multiple published human clinical trials, and no adverse events have been attributed to its use,” said Dr. Brenner. Niagen has also been successfully reviewed by the FDA with a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) label, according to Brenner.
That said, some people have reported headaches and nausea, among other non-serious side effects.
Where Can You Get NAD Supplements, and How Much Should You Take?
Like many supplements with increased media exposure, NAD+ suppliers are coming out with new supplements faster than we can purchase them. But not all of them have the clinically tested precursors that are shown to be effective.
Here are some NAD supplements that claim to be clinically tested:
- TruNiagen sells a 300 mg pill both on its site and Amazon. To be taken once per day. (Dr. Brenner is part of their scientific advisory board.)
- Elysium’s Basis has been found to increase NAD+ levels by up to 40 percent. Take two per day.
- Alive By Nature sells NMN-based and NAD+ supplements that can be taken orally or trans-dermal.