What is NAD+
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a coenzyme found in all living cells. It plays a crucial role in a number of important biological processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and gene expression.
NAD+ is involved in the production of energy in the body through the process of cellular respiration. It is used to transfer electrons from glucose and other nutrients to the electron transport chain, which generates ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary source of energy for the body's cells. (1)
NAD+ is also involved in DNA repair, helping to fix damage to the DNA molecule and prevent mutations that could lead to cancer and other diseases. It does this by activating proteins called PARPs (poly ADP-ribose polymerases), which help to repair damaged DNA strands. (2)
In addition to its role in energy metabolism and DNA repair, NAD+ is also involved in the regulation of gene expression. It does this through a process called epigenetic regulation, in which it activates or deactivates certain genes by modifying the structure of DNA and histones (proteins around which DNA is wound). This process is important for maintaining healthy cell function and preventing diseases such as cancer. (3)
NAD+ levels decline with age, and low levels of NAD+ have been linked to a number of age-related diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. (4) Supplementation with NAD+ precursors, such as nicotinamide riboside (NR), has been shown to increase NAD+ levels and improve markers of health and aging in animal studies. (5)
There is also some evidence to suggest that NAD+ supplementation may have anti-aging effects in humans. A small clinical trial conducted in 2018 found that NR supplementation improved markers of aging in elderly subjects, including reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, and improved physical function. (6) However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of NAD+ supplementation in humans and to determine the optimal dosage and duration of treatment.
In addition to its potential health benefits, NAD+ has also been explored as a potential treatment for addiction and substance abuse. NAD+ is thought to play a role in the rewarding effects of drugs, and some studies have suggested that NAD+ supplementation may help to reduce cravings and improve outcomes in individuals with substance abuse disorders. (7)
Overall, NAD+ is a vital coenzyme that plays a key role in a number of important biological processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and gene expression. Its levels decline with age, and low levels of NAD+ have been linked to a number of age-related diseases. Supplementation with NAD+ precursors may have potential health benefits, but more research is needed to fully understand the optimal dosage and duration of treatment and to determine its effectiveness in humans.
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"Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)." Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide.
"Poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP)." Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/poly-ADP-ribose-polymerase.
"Epigenetic regulation of gene expression." Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/epigenetic-regulation-of-gene-expression.