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NAD+: Why You Need It and How to Increase It in Your Body

    Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) plays a crucial role in maintaining good health, which includes stimulating the anti-aging activities of sirtuins. A high level of NAD+ is essential for healthy metabolism while low NAD+ levels contribute to several diseases and fatigue. Read further to learn more about NAD+ and tips to increase it in your body.

    How NAD+ Benefits Your Health

    NAD+ helps activate enzymes that are essential for redox reactions in the body, transporting electrons from one reaction to another. These enzymes include poly-ADP-ribose polymerases or PARPs, sirtuins, and CD38. And all these make use of NAD+ to break down NAD+.

    So if there is an increase in the activity of these enzymes, the amount of available NAD+ in the body decreases. With such reduction, sirtuins can be inhibited.

    Sirtuin enzymes have the ability to turn off certain genes promoting aging like those involved in fat synthesis and storage, inflammation, and blood sugar management. As NAD+ level increases, the more sirtuins become active.  

    How to increase NAD+

    1. Supplementation

    Increase NAD+ levels in your body by taking in nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplement.

    NR is a type of vitamin B3 and a trace nutrient in most foods. It has a positive effect on neuroprotection and energy metabolism. Also, it helps increase NAD+ levels in your body.

    A study published in Nature found that human blood NAD can increase as high as 2.7-fold with just a single oral dose of NR. It also revealed that there is a superior and distinct effect of NR as opposed to nicotinamide and nicotinic acid.

    2. Fasting

    Your body can sense the ratio of NAD+ and NADH (the reduced form of NAD+). If you have lower NAD+, it will signal that you have an excess of energy. Conversely, if you have higher NAD+ levels, you are spending more calories than you’re ingesting.

    NADH will be accumulated if your cells have more carbohydrate to burn. Nutrient and carbohydrate depletion allows NADH to be used up to promote NAD+ buildup. Thus, calorie restriction and fasting will result in higher NAD+ and sirtuin activation.

    3. Ketosis

    Ketosis and other fat-burning states will help increase your NAD+ levels. Adhering to a ketogenic diet will help you enter such a state without the need to fast.

    4. Exercise

    When you exercise, your cells will burn NADH for energy. And this can generate more NAD+. The best method to create time-efficient energy stress through exercise is interval training. Another good method is aerobic exercise – this helps you sustain energy stress for a prolonged period of time.

    5. Sauna

    Sauna has been a crucial part of every historical culture because it is believed to be a panacea. But sauna and heat shock also help increase NAD+ levels. Infrared sauna are considered ideal since infrared increases sirtuin levels.

    6. Fermented Foods and Beverages

    Consuming fermented foods and beverages that contain NAD+ is a good habit to maintain as doing so helps energize you. Know that fermentation makes use of NADH to produce lactate – and NAD+ is the byproduct.

    7. Fructose

    Fructose is the simplest form of carbohydrate found in many plants. It helps increase Sirt1 function. Also, it activates the enzymes that can convert NADH to NAD+ in the mitochondria. Some good sources of fructose are honey and fruits.

    The Importance of Increasing NAD+ in People with Fatigue

    Your blood sugar and oxygen level can either worsen or increase the ratio of NADH and NAD+ in your body. If you have low oxygen and excess sugar, you’ll start getting fatigued.

    Experts in pharmaceutical market research emphasize that NAD+ is one of the reasons why sugar or carb consumption can make people with medical conditions feel worse. Eating will decrease your NAD+ levels while fasting helps increase it. This is exceptionally true for people with a high fat or high sugar diet.

    Calorie restriction and interval exercise can help prevent fatigue after meals because they help raise your NAD+ levels. But for people with chronic illnesses, exercise can make them feel worse since exercise causes oxidative stress and can be inflammatory.

    It is for this reason that you should always consult your physician before taking NR supplements, adhering to a low-caloric diet and starting an exercise regimen. This way, you will know the right dosage, diet and exercise routine that will be beneficial to your overall health and well-being.

    Like all recent discoveries and findings, more research needs to be done. But as of today, most of the studies performed have shown that NAD+ offers profound health benefits. It seems like experts have figured out a way to slow down aging or even turn back time!


    Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.