Everyone knows that the brain is a vital, complex organ responsible for controlling the body’s different functions. It receives and interprets information and allows us to think, feel, act and remember. But, as people age, the brain’s cognitive function weakens, and it becomes more susceptible to different neurodegenerative disorders. One of the main culprits of these aberrant changes is low nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels.
NAD+ and the Human Body
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is a molecule found in the cells of almost all living beings. It makes sure that cellular processes are working properly. NAD+ is consumed by enzymes, keeps the mitochondrial function of cells in top shape, and greatly contributes to cell repair and regeneration.
So how is NAD+ created in the body?
NAD+ is created through 3 biosynthetic pathways:
- Preiss Handler Pathway – Generates NAD+ from nicotinic acid
- De Novo Synthesis Pathway – Generates NAD+ from tryptophan
- Salvage Pathway – Generates NAD+ from nicotinamide
In short? There are multiple ways our cells generate the NAD+ necessary to keep our bodies functioning smoothly.
NAD+ and Aging
It would be great if these internal systems stayed the same throughout our lifetime. However, NAD+ levels in humans decline with age. So all the signs we associate with aging, like inflammation, metabolism, and neurodegeneration, could be attributed to a lack of cellular NAD+. The development of age-related diseases like arthritis, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer shouldn’t be too far behind.
For the longest time, health problems in older adults, particularly muscle and cognitive decline, were seen as an intrinsic part of life. We believed that the neurodegenerative disorders that affect motor function and cognitive abilities were to be expected. And avoiding them was a matter of luck.
However, research has shown that this isn’t exactly the case. Let’s take a look at one of the most prevalent illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease. This affects a person’s ability to store and retrieve memories. While there is still no definitive cure for the disorder, researchers continue to look for ways to slow down its progression. A study published by Texas Tech University showed that mitophagy enhancers such as NAD+ can save the neurons of Alzheimer’s patients.
So what does this mean? Basic biology has taught us that mitochondria are the cell’s powerhouses. It is an energy source that keeps the cell going. Mitophagy is the process of removing dead mitochondria, and this helps keep a healthy cellular environment. Researchers found that NAD+ boosters like nicotinamide riboside and mitophagy enhancers like Urolithin A (UA) can improve synaptic functions by enhancing mitochondria.
Another set of clinical trials was conducted on aged mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Scientists discovered that mixing the NAD+ precursor nicotinamide riboside (NR) into their water resulted in enhanced motor functions. While the NR trials did not postpone the disease’s progression nor lengthen the mice’s lifespan, they paved the way to possible ALS treatments through the use of NAD+ or its precursors.
How to Keep the Body’s NAD+ Levels Up
If you want to keep your brain in tip-top shape, naturally boosting your body’s NAD+ levels could be the way to go. Here are some lifestyle changes you can adopt:
Avoid a High Fat Diet
Maintaining a healthy weight by eating nutritious food increases NAD+. A healthy diet also promotes energy metabolism on a cellular level by generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from nutrients.
Switching to nutritional food items also reduces the risk of metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and strokes.
Maintain Physical Activity
Regular exercise can boost the NAD+ levels in the body. It enhances the proteins responsible for DNA repair in the skeletal muscle. The general goal for adults is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day or at least 150 minutes per week.
Consult with Your Local Healthcare Provider
While lifestyle changes can naturally boost NAD+ levels, this doesn’t shield you from the illness. Early disease detection and treatment are key. Try to maintain regular checkups with your healthcare providers and stick to their guided plans.
Current NAD+ Studies
NAD+ has been proven to counter age-dependent health decline in multiple model organisms. Scientists continue to discover ways to counter DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction as they conduct more research. Researchers are also studying the possible adverse effects of NAD+ on the body to ensure that any possible treatments administered to humans are safe. Studies on NAD+ show a lot of exciting opportunities in the field of aging science that can lead to a positive future for humanity. For more updates, you can check out NAD.com.
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.