Who isn’t searching for that magic-like pill or method to feel younger, increase cognitive ability, and boost overall fitness? We all want to be smarter, feel better, and look our best. Sadly, the fountain of youth doesn’t exist but modern science is getting closer and closer to delivering on medications and supplements that are the next best thing.
One of these anti-aging, health-boosting wonders is available to you right now. It’s called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, more commonly referred to as NAD, and it is taking the fitness, nootropic, and medical communities by storm. Let’s take a look at what NAD is, how it works in the body, and how it can dramatically change your life for the better.
What is NAD?
As mentioned above, NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. A little bit of history of this compound: It was discovered in 1906 by Arthur Harden and William John Young. NAD is found in every cell in your body, so this should say something about its importance for your health and overall wellbeing. More specifically, it plays a critical role in the health and actions within the mitochondria.
Science Behind NAD
First, what are mitochondria? You can think of mitochondria as the power stations within each cell in your body. When we eat food, it is broken down into usable nutrients. Our mitochondria are responsible for taking these nutrients and turning them into energy for you to use. As we age, our bodies become less and less efficient, and this includes our mitochondria.
It has been shown that the mitochondria become weaker and less productive as we get older. This, in turn, increases the risk for disease and health issues. Sounds bad, right? So where does NAD come into play? Recent studies have discovered that NAD supports the health of our mitochondria, maintaining high levels of function. What’s more, NAD increases the function of several other energy pathways in the body including the Karen cycle and glycolysis.
Benefits of NAD
NAD’s role in mitochondrial health can’t be overstated, but what’s the take away from this? If NAD is so important for mitochondria, how does this benefit you? By helping mitochondria to preserve their function and overall health, you’ll experience a number of incredible benefits.
NAD is thought to be able to reverse age-related damage and prevent further breakdown that is common during the aging process.
In a fairly recent study published in 2016, scientists found that old mice who were treated with NAD showed a reversal of aging in muscle. NAD only produces an effect that was similar to if the mice had been exercising and eating a healthy diet.
Another study involving mice showed how supplementation with NAD resulted in improvements in insulin sensitivity, circadian rhythm, and inflammatory response; all things that decline with age.
Only within the last couple years have human-based studies been given the green light so there aren’t many to cite, but there are several that are currently taking place. What do we know about the anti-aging effect of NAD on humans?
In a study published in Nature Communications, several important clues to the benefits of NAD were revealed. First, researchers demonstrated that supplementation with nicotinamide riboside (NR), a NAD precursor vitamin, effectively increased the natural production of NAD in the body. Next, NR supplementation was shown to be well-tolerated and safe for consumption up to six weeks.
Most importantly, the increase in NAD led to improvements in systolic blood pressure and arterial stiffness, two elements that naturally worsen with age. The best part about the study? The participants were older adults ranging from 55 to 79.
Risk of Disease
Continuing with the point above, what is one thing that increases as we age? Our risk for diseases. As cellular processes breakdown from natural aging, our bodies become less effective at healing, repairing, and fighting off the onset of DNA damage. The greater the damage to our DNA, the higher the risk for cancers and serious illnesses. NAD might be able to change all of that.
One study published in Molecular & Cellular Oncology demonstrated that restricting or removing NAD dramatically increased the amount of DNA damage in animal subjects. However, when NAD was provided to the animal subjects, it had the opposite effect, helping to strengthen DNA and initiating an anti-aging response. Researchers suggest that NAD supplementation can act as a way to prevent or improve certain age-related diseases such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
NAD may also be an effective complementary treatment for diabetes, one of the most common preventable diseases in the world. Studies show that NAD can help to improve glucose sensitivity and support weight loss (more on this below). Diabetics are also at high risk for nerve and liver damage. Animal-based studies suggest that high levels of NAD can prevent liver and nerve damage, and even reverse some of the previous damage.
NAD may be able to improve athletic performance by influencing the energy pathways in the body during exercise: As we discussed above, NAD increases the effectiveness of energy pathways in the mitochondria, most notably, the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate. ATP is the preferred fuel source of your body’s muscle tissue. It’s used during short term, high intensity work such as when you are pushing weight for a set.
Studies show that NAD can increase the amount of available ATP in the body, which in turn can promote better performance during all-out sets like a sprint. You may also notice that you have more energy for the entire workout.
But don’t take my word for it as there’s science to support this idea. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine demonstrated that subjects given NAD showed increased athletic performance. Researchers suggest the boost in athletic ability was due to the increase in ATP production.
Muscle Mass and Weight Loss
What if you’re an avid gym goer, but your focus is more on aesthetics, rather than performance? If you want to build more muscle mass, the key might be NAD. One animal-based study shows that mice given NR, a pre-cursor to NAD, were able to recover lost muscle mass and grow more. While NAD might not turn you into the next Phil Heath, it can certainly play an important role in building lean muscle tissue without the risk of overtraining.
Now the other side of the coin: If you want to lose weight and slim down, NAD can help. Studies suggest that an increase in NAD levels can increase caloric utilization, helping to burn more fat for energy. In one study published in Cell Metabolism, scientists found that higher levels of NAD correlated with an increase in fat-burning enzymes. What’s more, subjects who were give NR to increase their levels of NAD showed a higher rate of weight loss, most likely due to increased energy expenditure.
If you want to reap the benefits of enhanced sports performance, bigger muscles, and a leaner waist, then you need to rest. Results happen when you sleep, not while you’re in the gym. Train all you want but if you skip on sleep, you’re doing more harm than good. Lucky for you, NAD can help with sports recovery.
NAD has been shown to help offset the age-related breakdown of your circadian rhythm, ensuring you’re able to get better sleep during the night. Sleep is essential for recovery as this is when growth hormone release is at its highest, helping to heal muscle tissue and support cellular health.
What’s more, there are countless user reviews citing that NAD has helped to shorten recovery time, alleviate muscle soreness, and improve post-workout feeling. Those supplementing with NAD have commonly reported no fatigue during or post-workout as well.
Nootropics have been a hot-button topic for the better part of the last ten years, and while everyone is buying up unproven and under-dosed blends, the answer to improve your brain power can be found in NAD.
Studies show that NAD is an effective way to increase your thinking power, emotional intelligence, memory, and neuroplasticity. In one study published in Neurobiology of Aging, scientists confirmed that increasing NAD levels via NR supplementation helped avoid cellular breakdown and the onset of Alzheimer’s while improve cognitive function and synaptic plasticity.
If all the benefits listed above weren’t good enough, NAD has been shown to improve your mood and mental wellbeing.
In one study, NAD supplementation was correlated with an increase in dopamine levels, and a resulting decrease in depression. This wasn’t a small-scale study either; there were 400 subjects. Other studies and experts agree that NAD can help to fight depression or simply improve your day-to-day mood.
The direct influence that NAD has on your mental wellbeing paired with a dramatic improvement in the health of your body on a cellular and more sleep can result in a completely new feeling of being.
My Experience with NAD
I’ve been taking 6 patches of 400 mg every month, which can be ordered from Dr. Greene’s Optimal Wellness Center. The nasal spray is excellent as well, but I prefer the NAD patches. In my opinion, the NAD patches are the most convenient, effective, and affordable way to get the most out your own NAD experience.
Now to my own experience with NAD: It was, in short, incredible. When using the NAD patches or receiving the IV-drip treatment, I noticed a range of benefits stemming from my day-to-day health to my time in the gym.
General Health: While I don’t do drugs, or drink alcohol, I have a serious caffeine addiction. It gets to the point where I have terrible withdrawal symptoms. I’m afraid to stop drinking coffee or taking my caffeine-based supplements! After my NAD IV infusion from Dr. Greene’s Center, I had no interest in drinking caffeine that morning. That was the first dramatic change I noticed.
Cognitive Benefits: Continuing to use the NAD patches, they made me feel like I was a growing twelve-year-old with wild, untapped mental energy. I felt my memory increase and my critical thinking skills skyrocket. I was far more productive than usual, and my social skills improved dramatically.
Fitness Benefits: This was the real test: How do the patches or the IV-drip effect my workouts. As a personal trainer, I need something that’s going to improve, not hamper my performance. The NAD treatments delivered above and beyond. My strength went through the roof, and my overall ability to exercise increased. My body felt more elastic like I was able to push myself to new heights without the risk of injury. My hand-eye coordination and grip strength were like that of a growing teenager. I found myself making it to the end of an exercise when the muscle failed – not my grip.
Despite a surge in strength and performance, I always felt a steady flow of calm and confident energy – Nothing at all like the overwhelming feeling you get when you take too much of a pre-workout supplement. I was focused and centered the entire workout with no feeling of anxiousness.
There was also a noticeable improvement in my ability to recover post-workout. I found myself with very little soreness even after my most insane workouts. Best of all, I was back in the gym faster than before.
Overall Experience: Everything improved from using the NAD patches. It transcends other therapies I’ve tried including acupuncture, cryotherapy, and sauna use. Overall, if I had to describe NAD in one word, I believe it feels like what Buddhist monks call enlightenment.
How to Get NAD
Convinced as I am about the benefits of NAD? Wondering how you can increase your NAD levels? There are four common ways that you can increase the amount of NAD in your body; however, some are not as great as others.
The first place you can start to naturally increase your levels of NAD is with your diet. Admittedly, this is a long-term strategy and not something that will change everything overnight. You should look at a healthy diet as a lifestyle, and something you’ll be doing for the rest of your life – not a one-time thing to try to increase NAD levels. With that said, you’ll want to focus on foods that contain high numbers of B-vitamins such as the following:
- Dark leafy greens
- Whole eggs
Diet will not produce an instant and noticeable effect when it comes to NAD, this is more of a method of supporting your body’s natural production. Diet can also be a complement to taking NAD supplements, using NAD patches, and or getting an NAD IV-drip performed.
Continuing with the point above, to increase B-vitamin levels you can also take a supplement; however, be careful. Many B-vitamin supplements are synthetic and cheaply made. If you’re going to support your daily B-vitamin levels with a supplement, look for one that is whole-food-based. It will cost a little more, but it’s worth every penny.
There are also nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplements. You could use these NR supplements as a complement to your diet, but I’m not a big fan of them because of the binders within that can cause indigestion. If you’re able to find a binder-free NR supplement, I’d say give it a try; however, you won’t get near the results you would by using patches or an IV-drip treatment.
NAD patches are a convenient and cost-effective way to increase the level of NAD in your body. The patches are no bigger than a large band-aid, and once you directly apply the NAD drops, you wear it between four to six hours but no longer than eight hours. In terms of effectiveness and budget, I’d like to highly recommend the patches. Check out my quick tutorial below.
This is the treatment option for those who are very serious about increasing their health and longevity. The IV-drip treatments come with the bigger price tag, but they are also far more effective than all the other methods combined. You can check out my review of the NAD IV-drip treatment (as I’m getting it done) in the video below.
Intravenous NAD treatments are available at treatment centers. For an IV-drip NAD treatment, I recommend the Optimal Wellness Center in Cheshire, Ct. This center is also able to order NAD patches, and NAD nasal spray from Dr. Kevin Greene, MD.
Not living in or near Cheshire? That’s okay! There are plenty of NAD treatment centers across the country. Just be sure to do a bit of research on the facility and the doctors to make sure they are trained, safe, and effective.
Have You Used NAD?
What results did you experience? Was it life changing? Curious about trying NAD? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below!