If you go on Facebook you will see ads or posts touting NAD+ to reverse aging biomarkers. Well, the big question is “does NAD+ reverse aging biomarkers?” And, the other question is, “what is NAD+?” Let’s start with the second question. NAD+ is short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. NAD+ is a critical co-factor in many biochemical reactions. It is used in every cell in the body and regulates the genes related to aging. NAD+ levels naturally decline as we age.
Now the answer to the first question. Research shows that NAD+ reverses several biochemical markers associated with aging. Reversing aging biomarkers does not mean reversing aging. But, in the presence of optimal NAD+ levels aging can be slowed, at least, in animal studies. A more recent study on mice shows NAD+ to reverse aging biomarkers in two ways.
How NAD+ Reverses Aging Biomarkers
NAD+ reverses aging biomarkers two ways. First, it increases mitochondrial activity. Secondly, it activates sirtuin genes that regulate life span. We discussed the importance of mitochondria – the power plants of our cells, and the role of sirtuin genes in this article on resveratrol. NAD+ activates SIRT1 and SIRT3 genes.
Roles of NAD+
In addition to regulating genes that control aging, NAD+ helps regulate cellular energy by improving the utilization of fatty acids and glucose in the cells. As NAD+ levels decline with aging mitochondrial function declines. This mitochondrial dysfunction can be reversed by increasing NAD+ levels.
NAD+ activates production if SIRT1 and SIRT3 enzymes. These enzymes control gene expression of multiple biological processes. Metabolic changes linked to aging are reversed in worms and yeasts when NAD+ levels are raised and progress when NAD+ are lowered.
What are these biomarkers of aging affected by NAD+ and the positive multi-organ effects it produces? NAD+ improves insulin resistance, reduces inflammation, reduction in bone loss, reduction in muscle wasting, reduction in some cancers, improved endothelial function (blood vessels and blood flow), improved stem cell activity, and improved wound healing. Many of these effects are mediated via activation of SIRT1.
Impaired DNA Repair and Accelerated Aging
Accelerated aging is the result of DNA damage and subsequent impaired DNA damage repair. Neurocognitive impairment is related to DNA damage. SIRT1 improves DNA repair thus limiting neurocognitive impairment.
SIRT3 mediates the mitochondrial effects of NAD+. Poor SIRT3 activation leads to obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, or what is known as metabolic syndrome. SIRT3 also activates stem cells protecting against neurocognitive impairment like SIRT1.
NAD+ is not the only thing or factor to activate sirtuin genes. Sirtuin genes are also activated by calorie restriction. Calorie restriction is shown to increase lifespan every animal studied. The diabetic drug, metformin, which has anti-aging properties is felt to stimulate sirtuin genes.
How to Improve NAD+ Levels
The good news is this. You can improve your NAD+ levels. NAD+ levels can be optimized through supplementation with nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3. nicotinamide riboside is a precursor of NAD+. The recommended dose is 100 mg a day.
Slow aging by achieving optimal NAD+ levels.