What is NAD+ and Why Is it Important For Slowing Down Aging?

What Is NAD+

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a key component for reactions to occur. It is known as a coenzyme and without it, our chemical pathways can’t keep moving smoothly. Because it has such a general function, it is important for a wide range of functions including making energy for our cells.

Functions of NAD+:

  • DNA repair
  • Cell repair
  • Turning genes on and off
  • Maintaining neurotransmitter levels
  • Communicating with cells
  • Producing energy for cells

NAD+ Levels Decline with Age

Scientists know that NAD+ is one of the most important molecules in the body and unfortunately, we lose NAD+ as we age. By middle age, NAD+ has fallen to half of youthful levels and by 80, it is down to 1%-10%! This results in a variety of health issues that are often disregarded as part of ‘getting old’.  The decline of NAD+ has particular effects on our brain function as that is where most NAD+ receptors are located.  These effects include memory loss, mood issues and cognitive decline.

Why is NAD+ Important to Combat Aging?

Dr. David Sinclair and his colleagues at Harvard discovered recently that the decline of NAD+ as we age has an effect on some important processes that rely on NAD+.  A class of genes, known as sirtuins, play a large role in how the body ages by regulating inflammation and DNA protection. Sirtuins depend on NAD+ to start and stop protective pathways that are linked to age-related diseases.  In other words, sirtuins are able to “turn on” and “turn off” certain genes like a light switch.

When we eat inflammatory foods, breathe in pollutants or are exposed to other toxic chemicals, our cells are at risk.  With bountiful amounts of NAD+, your cells are able to activate genes to prevent and correct DNA damage.  Superhero genes, such as sirtuins, allow your cells to live long and healthy lives, leading to a better quality of life for you.

Benefits of NAD+ Therapy For Aging

Administering a high dose of NAD+, through NAD+ therapy, can optimise your NAD+ levels and reverse the losses that come with age. NAD+ therapy can rev up the cell’s engines (called the mitochondrion) translating into more energy and a range of potential benefits.

1. Contribute to longer telomeres
The possibility of extending telomere length with NAD+ holds out hope for slowing the aging process and improving longevity.

2. Promotes DNA Repair
Improving DNA repair with NAD+ may slow cellular aging, reduce the persistence of cancer-causing mutations, and play an important role in preventing inflammatory conditions such as atherosclerosis.

3. Induces Energy-Intensive Enzymes
Improving the energy-extraction process in all cells with NAD+ increases their capacity to do the work they are specialized for. It also protects mitochondria from early death, a benefit that is associated with reduced cellular aging and lowered risks for cardiovascular and brain disease.

4. Promotes Chromosome Stability
NAD+ supplementation is a promising cutting edge strategy to improve chromosome stability, a treatment that may slow down cellular aging (senescence) and lower the risk of cancer.

5. NAD+ is a Neurotransmitter

Ample NAD+ nutrition is essential for sustaining brain health, cognitive function, and preventing neurodegenerative decline.

6. Activates Sirtuins
Sirtuin activation has shown great promise in fighting cardiovascular disease and preserving aging brain function, but these longevity-promoters cannot function without sufficient NAD+.

7. Supports Energy Production
Supporting efficient energy production and adequate ATP levels requires consistent and abundant NAD+. This is critical because waning energy supplies contribute to the aging process.

Safety of NAD+ Therapy

Numerous clinical trials have been published on NAD+ Therapy and it is typically very well-tolerated[4]. Side effects are typically mild, such as flushing, and would be monitored by the medical professional administering the therapy.


1. Role of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide and Related Precursors as Therapeutic Targets for Age-Related Degenerative Diseases: Rationale, Biochemistry, Pharmacokinetics, and Outcomes
2. Blander G, Guarente L (2004). “The Sir2 family of protein deacetylases”; Annu. Rev. Biochem. 73: 417–35.
3. Bürkle A (2005). “Poly(ADP-ribose). The most elaborate metabolite of NAD+.” FEBS J. 272(18): 4576–89.
4. Dietrich C, Charles B, Claire LK. “Safety and Metabolism of Long-term Administration of NIAGEN (Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride) in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial of Healthy Overweight Adults.” Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 5;9(1):9772. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46120-z.

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Ken Chu, Naturopathic Doctor

Kenneth J. Chu is a practicing naturopathic doctor and a board member of the Integrated Association of Naturopaths in Hong Kong. After obtaining his Bachelors Degree in Biological Sciences, Ken then graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto. Ken practices a holistic healing approach, using a combined approach of clinical nutrition, homeopathy, and herbal medicines to address the root causes of his patients’ problems.

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