The Power of NAD
By Edison de Mello, MD, PhD
A critical step in DNA to repair cellular aging, NAD, short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a coenzyme found in every cell in the body and is involved in several diverse metabolic processes. Studies have shown NAD slows the aging process, improves mental clarity, restores neurologic function, and improves the body’s overall health. This natural coenzyme is crucial in maintaining DNA integrity and reversing cellular damage but its levels decline due to the following:
- Environmental factors.
Replenishing these levels may provide a wide range of anti-aging benefits and an array of improved metabolic, neurologic, anti-microbial, and decreased cellular stress. In addition, NAD plays one of the most significant roles within the body by facilitating oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions. These reactions are a part of the metabolic system that convert food into the energy the body needs to function properly.
NAD's Role in our Metabolism
Mitochondria are membrane-bound cell organelles crucial for enhanced chemical energy to power the cell's biochemical reactions. This Chemical energy is stored in a small molecule called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Mitochondria contain their own small chromosomes. Generally, mitochondria, and therefore mitochondrial DNA, are inherited only from the mother. NAD increases the activity of proteins and DNA repair, respectively.
How does NAD work?
An impressive body of research has shown promising results: NAD slows the aging process, improves mental clarity, restores neurologic function, and improves the body's overall health.NAD also plays a vital role in regulating the circadian and metabolic rhythms and maintaining DNA integrity and health. It functions as a quality control mechanism for new proteins. Although humans naturally produce NAD, its levels decrease as we age, leading to cellular changes and age-related pathologies. Lower levels of NAD are linked to damage to DNA which, left unrepaired, accumulate over time into cell changes and mutations. Restoring and supplementing NAD counteracts many of these reactions and help preserve the integrity of DNA over time.
NAD Benefits and Uses
Although research into the effects of NAD on the body is ongoing, many studies have demonstrated promising results of the benefits of NAD supplementation and restoration across a wide range of conditions. NAD can help individuals who are:
- Recovering from addiction and substance abuse
- Interested in extending their lifespan.
- Interested in restoring neurological function.
- Experiencing cognitive decline
- Seeking to restore muscle strength and function.
- Seeking to boost a weight-loss regimen.
- Slow the aging process.
- Improve mental clarity and clear brain fog.
- Improve brain regeneration.
- Battle anxiety and depression
- Boost energy levels and reduce overall fatigue.
- Assist with addiction recovery (alcohol, opioids, nicotine)
- Seeking to promote whole-body wellness and optimal performance.
- Restore muscle function and athletic performance.
A concentrated dose of NAD is mixed with a saline solution and delivered directly into the bloodstream. IV administration can enter cells immediately, bypassing the digestive and metabolic systems. The goal is a 100% absorption rate for maximum effect and minimal waste.
As previously stated, changes in metabolism as we age can lead to various age-related conditions. NAD plays a role in regulating the enzymes (Sir2p) that influence lifespan and aging. It protects the integrity of DNA, which is damaged from "wear and tear," errors in DNA duplication, and the damaging effects of free radicals.
NAD is essential in regulating inflammation that damages DNA and corrects existing damage. Restoring and supplementing NAD in the body can improve physical health, physical appearance, emotional well-being - and quality of life to name a few.
Benefits of NAD IV Therapy for Anti-Aging Include:
- Slow aging.
- Improve appearance.
- Restore muscle function.
- Restore athletic performance.
- Reduce fatigue.
- Boost energy levels
- Boost metabolism
- Prevent damage to DNA.
- Correct damage to DNA
NAD for Addiction
NAD is an alternative to medication-based solutions - for individuals undergoing addiction and recovery treatment, NAD is beneficial for patients who want to avoid the side effects of medications. Because it detoxifies the body, helping replace the essential vitamins and nutrients that are typically depleted in individuals who are suffering from substance abuse. It has been proven to reduce withdrawal symptoms by binding to opiate receptors, helping overcome cravings and the risk of relapse.
NAD also protects the brain and accelerates recovery while stimulating energy production, thus helping minimize fatigue during withdrawn and detox.
It is common that those in recovery to attempt to boost energy by overloading their system with sugar, caffeine, or other substances that often cause a "crash." NAD increases cellular and metabolic energy levels and lessens the urge to go for a quick "pick-me-up” cup of coffee or sugary foods which may give a quick energy boost—but eventually, a quick and hard crash.
Addiction specialists have used NAD to help patients with anxiety, depression, and cravings due to withdrawal from alcohol and opiates. Generally, multiple NAD treatment is needed to aid substance abuse disorder recovery.
Replenishing NAD levels may provide a wide range of anti-aging benefits. NAD IV therapy delivers NAD+ and a blend of complementary vitamins (B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Glutathione) directly into the bloodstream, making it the most efficient and effective way to restore natural levels of this coenzyme, all of the which are often depleted in individuals battling drug addiction. The frequency and duration of NAD treatment may vary depending on the substance involved and the severity and length of the addiction.
Benefits of NAD IV Therapy for Addiction and Recovery Include:
- Fewer withdrawal symptoms
- Reduce cravings associated with withdrawal.
- Restored energy levels.
- Improved mood
- Cell restoration
- Improved brain function
Improved cognitive clarity.
Increasing Memory and Brain Plasticity
A decrease in cognitive ability is one of the hallmarks of aging and age-related neurological conditions, including dementia, decreased focus, and memory problems.
NAD helps keep the brain in top condition by rejuvenating and restoring brain function by boosting proteins, such as sirtuins, which are anti-aging naturally occurring proteins that slow the effects of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline. Working as a team, NAD and these proteins protect against toxicities in the body and improve the brain cell’s ability to fight stress and brain inflammation.
This damaging “brain inflammation” has been linked to degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. An impressive body of research has shown that protecting brain cells from inflammatory damage preserves neuronal stress resistance and plasticity – the ability of the brain to adapt to changing environments.
NAD IV treatments can help maintain mental clarity and focus and protect mental clarity against neurodegenerative diseases for a happier quality of life.
Benefits of NAD IV Therapy for Neurological Conditions Include:
- Improved brain health and neurological function
- Improved mental clarity.
- Improved brain regeneration
- Improved focus and concentration
- Boosted mood.
- Improved memory
Metabolism refers to the amount of energy expended to maintain the body working optimally. The metabolic function of our bodies slows with age, which among many things, can lead to weight gain and lower energy levels.
NAD plays a significant helping in regulating metabolism, which helps improve weight loss and overall energy levels. It does so by enhancing the body’s oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions. These complex chemical reactions help convert food into energy that cells use to keep us vital. In addition, NAD accepts and donates electrons used in energy metabolism during cellular respiration.
NAD further promotes mitochondrial fitness by maintaining the mitochondrial protein response - a reaction to cell stress, and ensuring that these cells form the correct shape for normal function. In addition, NAD helps the liver break down essential fats to provide energy for the body thus helping the mitochondria make ATP, a significant energy source for cells.
Benefits of NAD IV Therapy for Metabolic Function Include:
- Increased energy levels
- Decreased fatigue.
- Restore muscle function and athletic performance.
- Improved metabolism
- Weight loss
As discussed, NAD, one of the body's most critical metabolic cofactors, is essential to manufacture and expend cellular energy. Variations that influence the function of our metabolism can lead to a decrease in NAD levels, leading our metabolism to become sluggish and fat burning low.
NAD IV therapy increases our metabolism's ability to burn calories and fat more efficiently. Research has shown that replenishing the decreased levels of NAD intravenously helps stimulate the conversion of food into a more viable energy source, which is, in turn, recycled to burn calories, leading to weight loss.
Although shedding extra unwanted pounds is only part of the weight loss journey, NAD helps keeps them off. That's where lifestyle modification comes in. Exercising, decreasing alcohol, sleeping well, stopping smoking - and better understanding your "food triggers" are essential to keeping the weight off permanently.
NAD also helps "rescue" a resting and slow metabolism, which is essential in maintaining low-fat reserves after significant weight loss. And declining NAD levels are closely related to various metabolic issues, including fatty liver disease and diabetes.
NAD for anxiety and depression
As I mentioned above, an active lifestyle featuring regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a focus on getting a good night’s sleep can work wonders for your mood and general health. But sometimes, despite doing all the above, anxiety and depression can still creep in.
Fortunately, research has demonstrated that NAD can help elevate mood and counter symptoms of depression and anxiety. For example, a recent study has suggested that NAD IV therapy can offset fatigue, a predominant symptom of depression and anxiety. It does so because NAD increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in the brain, creating beneficial neurochemicals.
Anxiety reduces levels of NAD in the brain and serotonin (aka the feel-good hormone) that regulates mood. Supplementing NAD can help the brain produce normal amounts of this “feel good” neurochemicals, especially when we’re stressed or anxious.
Neurotransmitters not only support mood elevation but also give us an overall feeling of peace and calm, while helping the body to effectively eliminate drugs and other damaging substances.
What types of NAD therapy are available?
NAD IV therapy
NAD IV therapy involves the intravenous delivery of IV fluids and NAD into the body.
Other ingredients, like vitamins, can also be added to the solution. Although many people associate IV treatments with severe illness and hospitalization, IV sessions offer several advantages over other delivery methods of supplementation. Because treatments are delivered directly to the bloodstream, none are lost in the digestive process due to it NOT being broken down by the GI’s protective acidity. This also allows treatments to start working right away, so you feel the benefits more quickly.
Lastly, IV fluids help ensure that you are properly hydrated, thus helping flush toxins from your body to ensure optimal function. This is especially advantageous to those seeking NAD treatments to help with recovery from substance abuse disorder.
As stated above, replenishing NAD levels may also provide a wide range of anti-aging benefits. NAD IV therapy delivers NAD+ with or without (depending on choice) a blend of complimentary vitamins, such as B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Glutathione, and others, directly into the bloodstream, making it the most efficient and effective way to restore natural levels of this coenzyme, often depleted in individuals battling drug addiction.
- Bypasses the digestive system, allowing for a high absorption rate.
- Treatment is administered by a licensed healthcare professional, eliminating any guesswork.
- Hydrates in addition to supplementing NAD, and other nutrients may be added to treatment.
- Effects can last for months between booster appointments.
- Most expensive NAD therapy option
- Appointments must be made to receive treatment, and multiple sessions may be required over the course of several weeks.
- Not ideal for those with aversion or fear of needles
For those who want the benefits of NAD without having to reserve 2-3 hours for a drip – without having to pay the high fee for an IV infusion - or who have a needle phobia, NAD injections may be right for you. Although less effective than an IV drip, it can nevertheless offer you an option to see if it works well for your system.
Like IV NAD, the first step is to consult with specialized healthcare professional to determine if NAD injection treatment suits your needs. Once a comprehensive medical assessment is made and a treatment course is determined, the next step will be to figure out the correct dose and frequency for you.
- Bypasses the digestive system, ensuring a high absorption rate.
- Treatment is self-administered and delivered directly to your home.
- Less expensive than NAD IV therapy
- More expensive than nasal sprays and oral supplements
- People may be uncomfortable self-administering shots.
- Not ideal for those with fear or aversion to needles
NAD Oral Supplements
NAD capsules are generally used for people who prefer traditional oral treatments, and this option is generally cheaper than IV therapy or injections. However, due to Hydrochloric acid, a component of the gastric acid in the digestive system, NAD absorption is generally diminished when given orally. Similarly, to NAD IV or injection, a licensed health care expert should assess you to determine which dosage is right for you.
- Typically, safe without severe side effects
- Does not involve uncomfortable administration methods.
- Most affordable NAD therapy option.
- More studies are still needed to determine other potential health benefits.
- May need to buy larger quantities to decrease cost
- Not ideal for those who have difficulty taking supplements or medications orally.
- The digestive system processing of NAD makes it less bioavailable.
Potential side effects
Research has indicated that NAD supplementation is safe and well-tolerated, presenting few side effects, if any. However, more studies must be completed before any long-term side effects become known.
NAD IV therapy side effects can be divided into Symptomatic and Metabolic. If present, symptomatic side effects usually occur instantly during the therapy and go away as quickly when the drip is finished. Whereas metabolic side effects generally develop on a cellular level, specifically for patients receiving high-dose NAD treatments for an extended period.
At this time, we know that the mild-to-moderate side effects that have been reported include the following:
- Abdominal pain
As mentioned above, most of these side effects are mild and tend to vanish quickly once the drip is completed. Still, as a rule, one should always contact the healthcare practitioner supervising your drip or any other form of NAD treatment to assess that a more severe side effect, such as an allergic reaction, is not happening.
Other side effects may be related to the type of therapy you are undertaking. For example, there is a risk of vein damage and infection with IV and injection therapy, which, when administered properly, can significantly be mitigated by proper hygiene and administrative procedures. IV therapy can also result in an air embolism if proper care is not taken. I recommend you seek NAD IV therapy by prescription from a licensed and trained healthcare professional.
Your NAD provider should evaluate you before treatments begin. When selecting a provider, you should also check the lab providing NAD. Labs should be certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that the lab operates according to the FDA’s safety standards.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/coenzyme-nad https://www.bajabodymind.com/nad-therapy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27882448
ScienceMag.org: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6265/1208 https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/coenzyme- nad
About the Author:
Dr. Edison de Mello is the founder and Chief Medical Office of the Akasha Center for integrative medicine and the Akasha Naturals. He is a Board-Certified Integrative Physician and a Board-Certified Psychotherapist, “Meeting the patient before meeting their diseases” is Dr. de Mello’s signature approach to care.
His book "BLOATED: How to Eat Without Pain" has received praise from innovative practitioners in Integrative Medicine. Because he strongly believes in community building, Dr. de Mello sits on several service-related non-profit organizations.