NAD+ – when, how, and all the things you need to know


What is NAD+?
The science of NAD+
When and how to use NAD+ supplements
Benefits of NAD+ supplementation
How to supplement NAD+
How does lifestyle affect NAD+ levels?
Harnessing the power of NAD+

Have you heard of NAD+ supplements? They’re the key to better health for folks of all ages. Dubbed “anti-aging molecules,” these substances keep your body in tip-top shape. They combat stress, inflammation, disease, and even the passage of time.

NAD+ occurs naturally in our bodies and diets. But its levels aren’t consistent: aging, diseases, and everyday stressors exhaust it. Supplementation lets you prolong not just your life, but your youthfulness and vitality.

Are you ready to take this step toward health optimization? Join us to learn everything about NAD+ and ways to increase its levels

What is NAD+?

NAD+ is short for “nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.” It’s a vital coenzyme in human cells, affecting over 500 enzyme reactions. It acts as a helper molecule with numerous roles. Since it partakes in most processes of our brains and bodies, we can’t thrive or survive without it.

Everyone is talking about NAD+ for its potential to improve health for people of all ages. Let’s introduce it step by step to see what the hype is all about.

When did we discover this substance? How did we reach the level of accessible NAD+ supplements we have today?

The coenzyme was first discovered by a duo of British biochemists in 1906. They were analyzing fermentation and noted NAD+ in the process. Then came French scientist Pierre Chambon in the 1960s.

Chambon identified poly-ADP-ribosylation. During this process, NAD+ breaks down into two parts. One gets recycled, and the other meets proteins that perform essential cellular functions. That’s how we found cells can only survive with the presence of NAD+.

The link between NAD+ and aging came to light later. In the 1970s, we discovered the sirtuin proteins, which may prolong human lifespans. Researchers realized sirtuins can’t function without NAD+ in the 1990s.

Science has progressed since. We know much more about NAD+ benefits and side effects, but not everything. Research remains limited to animal and in vitro models. But knowledge is increasing by the day, and everything seems promising.


When we talk about NAD+, we primarily refer to its oxidized version. But that’s not the only form nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide comes in:

  • NADH is NAD that has an extra electron. We refer to it as reduced NAD.
  • NAD+ is NAD that’s lost an electron. We call it oxidized NAD.

The oxidized form is active, and reduced NAD is inactive. In practice, they behave like a redox pair. NADH gives an electron, and NAD+ receives it. Their interaction enables the complex roles they play within the cells.

Dealing with NAD+ and NADH poses the question of ratio. In general, it’s better to have more NAD+ than NADH. When the situation’s reversed, the body exhibits dysfunctional mitochondria and accelerated aging.

The ratio shifts with age, NADH rising and NAD+ dropping. That’s where NAD+ supplements enter the picture, rebalancing our internal processes.

The science of NAD+

NAD+ synthesizes from tryptophan or aspartic acid in the body. It can also emerge from parts of amino acids we consume via food, like niacin.

This coenzyme acts as a transfer mechanism for electrons within cells. It enables chemical reactions that generate our main source of energy: ATP. It loses an electron to NADH, which moves it to the mitochondria to create ATP.

The result is cellular energy that powers all physical processes.

Upon consuming NAD+, the body recycles some of it through the salvage pathway. The used molecule becomes a precursor, converting back into usable NAD+.

Why does this process matter? Because NAD+ ensures everything in your body works as intended.

Let’s analyze its primary methods of action to see why it’s crucial for human health.

NAD+ and energy

Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, turning nutrients from food into energy. NAD+ is necessary for these organelles to function. They rely on the redox reaction between NADH and NAD+.

NAD+ directly correlates with energy. And we’re not just referring to your ability to move and perform tasks. It creates energy at the cellular level, letting the body perform its functions. Slow growth, fatigue, and diabetes occur if the mitochondria malfunction due to a lack of NAD+.

Besides production, NAD+ affects energy regulation. It aids the enzymes responsible for breaking down sugars and fats. Without it, we become prone to metabolic disorders.

Taking NAD+ supplements could also make your mitochondria healthier. This compound strengthens the organelles and encourages the creation of new ones. For this reason, more energy stems from its presence.

NAD+ and brain health

NAD+ is associated with brain health and avoiding neurodegenerative conditions. It’s a cofactor for sirtuins, the enzymes responsible for longevity. It supports DNA repair and stress response regulation.

The neuroprotective properties make NAD+ a cognitive shield. It safeguards the neurons from damage and degeneration. Its activity may lead to decelerating and even preventing cognitive decline.

There are also studies into NAD+ supplements for dementia treatment. It’s a brain booster that doubles as a neuroinflammation-buster, lessening your symptoms. It might uphold cognitive functioning even upon diagnosis.

NAD+ and aging

There’s a clear connection between NAD+ and aging. It ties into DNA repair, maintaining the stability of your genome. And its integrity is essential for staying healthy and high-functioning.

We also link NAD+ to cellular senescence. This state makes the cells lose the ability to divide and perform tasks. They accumulate with time and contribute to diseases that come with aging. NAD+ delays this slow dying-off.

The levels of this coenzyme deplete as we age. They may also drop due to stress, chronic inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. Low levels put you at a higher risk of age-related diseases. Which ties neatly into our next topic: NAD+ supplements.

When and how to use NAD+ supplements

NAD+ supplements are suitable for most people at most times. This compound participates in many physiological activities, making it universally beneficial.

Even though it’s a well-rounded therapy, NAD+ does relate to some health conditions. Folks often seek it out to address or prevent:

  • Fatigue and low concentration
  • Anxiety and excessive stress
  • Depression or a low mood
  • Skin issues like dermatitis
  • Weight loss issues
  • Impaired cognitive functioning

As NAD+ drops with age, people in their later decades often use supplements. They keep the body and brain functioning optimally, despite the passage of time.

The supplementation itself is between you and a physician. They analyze your health, discuss goals, and determine the appropriate course. An individualized approach is optimal, as there’s no one-size-fits-all best NAD+ supplement.

The initial treatment is administered over several sessions. You consume a specific amount every few days to let your body adjust. Follow-up treatments are typically performed once every other month.

Depending on your goals, you might get a:

  • Microdose (200 mg): Used by healthy folks to get an energy boost.
  • Low dose (400 mg): The starting dose for anti-aging and reducing fatigue.
  • Moderate dose (800 mg): Improved cognitive function.
  • High dose (1000 mg or more): Better neurotransmitter function, fewer withdrawal symptoms.

These rough figures are a starting point: your dose might take trial and error to pinpoint. But the effort is worth the benefits you experience once you nail it down.

Benefits of NAD+ supplementation

Given the integral role of NAD+ in your overall functioning, it’s essential to keep it optimal at all times. Supplementation is never a bad idea, and it can support specific health goals. Here’s what it can do for you:

  • Slow down aging. NAD+ is among the most potent anti-aging peptides. It preserves DNA, which otherwise deteriorates due to stress and free radical damage. This effect maintains your appearance, health, and quality of life.
  • Support addiction recovery. The best NAD+ supplements in high doses numb down the mu receptors. They reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Uplift the mood. The brain needs NAD+ to generate mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. Normal levels of these feel-good chemicals relieve depression symptoms.
  • Relieve chronic fatigue. Additional NAD+ increases the amount of ATP produced by your body. It increases energy levels and decreases persistent exhaustion.
  • Boost cognitive function. Studies found that NAD+ has neuroprotective properties and enables neurogenesis. It protects from cognitive decline, preserving memory, learning, and focus.
  • Enhance sleep quality. NAD+ levels directly relate to sleep quantity and quality. The coenzyme supports your circadian rhythm for better, more regular rest.
  • Improve heart health. High blood pressure harms veins and arteries. Research suggests NAD+ supplements protect blood vessels from aging.
  • Elevate exercise performance. Some folks use NAD+ to boost their training sessions and speed up recovery.

The more folks learn about this therapy, the more widespread it becomes. The risks are minimal, too: let’s compare NAD+ benefits and side effects.

Potential side effects

As it’s inherent to the human body, NAD+ is generally well-tolerated. Still, there are some side effects associated with using this supplement:

  • Flushing and itching
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Low platelet levels
  • Leg cramping

Even though these effects are mild, they can be troubling in the long run. Consider stopping or swapping your supplement if adverse reactions persist. Talk to a doctor to determine the safest route forward.

The type and grade of your product can also influence the side effects. The best NAD+ supplements are high-quality and well-dosed, reducing the associated risks.

Avoid supplementation if you have severe allergies or liver and kidney problems. Skip it during pregnancy and breastfeeding, too. The studies on its safety are limited in such scenarios. Consult a physician first if you’re on insulin or antidepressants.

How to supplement NAD+

NAD+ supplements are available as injectables and ingestibles, as precursors or the coenzymes themselves. Both models include starting low, monitoring your reaction, and adjusting the dose. Foods can be NAD+ boosters, giving you another avenue to explore.

Let’s discuss the available options.

Food sources

Food typically doesn’t act as a NAD+ supplement, but that doesn’t make it useless for this purpose. Many food sources carry NAD+ precursors, causing your body to produce more coenzymes.

Non-vegans are best off loading their plates with beef, turkey, chicken, or fish. Dairy, especially whole milk, is another rich source of NAD+ precursors. Those who avoid animal products may rely on enriched grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy.

Having a healthy diet isn’t an easy task for folks with busy lives. As a result, many people resort to supplements to give themselves a boost.

NAD+ precursors

Besides food, several supplements act as precursors to NAD+. Precursors are substances that trigger the production of others, delivering an indirect yet potent effect.

Efficient NAD+ precursors include:

  • Tryptophan. An amino acid from milk, cheese, poultry, fish, and seeds. It’s the least efficient NAD+ precursor but might boost immunity.
  • Niacin and niacinamide (two versions of vitamin B3). The former is used for treating cholesterol and kidney disease. It can cause skin flushing until the body adapts. The latter doesn’t affect cholesterol, but it supports skin health.
  • Nicotinamide riboside. This chemical is a form of vitamin B3 found in milk, meat, fruits, and vegetables. According to animal studies, it improves insulin sensitivity and prevents weight gain.
  • Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). This precursor has been shown to increase the lifespan of animals. It also reduces oxidative stress and weight gain. By boosting NAD+, it slows age-related metabolic disease.

While precursors work as NAD+ supplements, they’re not your most efficient choice. That title goes to purified, IV-delivered NAD+ concentrates.

Intravenous NAD+

NAD+ IV therapy is the most efficient way to replenish this coenzyme. The infusion may take several hours but delivers near-immediate effects.

A medical professional injects a concentrated amount of NAD+ dissolved in saline water into your bloodstream. It bypasses the digestive system and gets absorbed quickly without creating byproducts.

It’s common to experience sleep disturbances after an infusion. Still, patients generally report feeling well-rested despite them. They clear in several days, especially with melatonin.

How does lifestyle affect NAD+ levels?

Thriving in modern society isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile. Establishing healthy habits keeps you looking, feeling, and functioning your best. NAD+ supplements only facilitate the process.

Start with the basics: a balanced diet, daily movement, no smoking, and enough sleep. Then consider these specific lifestyle factors that influence NAD+:

  • Have a regular sleep schedule. Insufficient and irregular sleep contributes to lowering NAD+. Sticking to an established sleep-wake cycle stabilizes your melatonin production and keeps it high.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol. The body uses NAD+ to metabolize alcohol, and heavy drinking depletes its levels.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity reduces NAD+ levels and can cause fatty liver, which further diminishes it.
  • Protect yourself from UV rays. Excess sunshine exposure activates a DNA repair response. But this action burns through your NAD+ supply, so it’s best to minimize it. Think board-spectrum, high-SPF, and regularly applied sunscreen.
  • Get regular, mid-intensity movement. A sedentary lifestyle makes cells generate less energy and lose efficiency. But over-training calls for NAD+ to mend torn muscles. Find the right balance for optimal health and longevity.

Harnessing the power of NAD+

NAD+ is in the limelight of medical research for all the right reasons. It improves energy, brain health, and even the aging of our bodies. It might hold the key to longer, healthier lives: why not take advantage?

Start with a lifestyle that boosts NAD+. Simple habit changes can make a big difference, but why stop there? Don’t disregard medical options on your path to optimization.

Whether through NAD+ supplements or precursors, this coenzyme should stay on your radar. As research advances, the future seems brighter than ever for longevity-seekers.

Are you ready for the next step? Schedule a consultation with our naturopathic doctors. Let’s talk about your goals and devise your NAD+ supplementation schedule today.

Author: Dr. Jason Phan NMD – Founder of LIVV Natural – Anti-aging – regenerative medicine – peptide therapy