New NAD+ Blood Test Kit Available

Researchers unveil an easy-to-use and cost-effective blood nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) concentration reading device that they apply to confirm falling NAD+ in aged humans and NMN's restorative effects on NAD+ levels.

By Bennett M. Sherman

Key Points

  • A new NAD+ reading technique called bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) only requires 5 µL of blood and takes readings with accuracy comparable to less efficient and more costly conventional methods.
  • The new finger prick method verifies that NAD+ levels significantly fall for aged individuals between 50 and 80 years old.
  • The new NAD+ measuring technique shows that although 500 mg doses of oral NMN for 30 days almost doubles blood NAD+, 1,000 mg doses of NMN increase blood NAD+ a further 30%.

Declining NAD+ levels with age in human blood, muscle, and saliva has been linked to aging and age-related conditions like frailty, arthritis, and heart failure. To avoid ailments associated with falling NAD+ levels during aging, researchers have proposed replenishing NAD+ with precursors like NMN. Conventional techniques that measure how NMN affects NAD+ levels like liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) require a laboratory and multi-step sample preparations for analyses and so aren’t efficient or cost-effective. Coming up with more affordable and easy-to-apply NAD+ measurement methods will make large scale, population-based studies of NAD+ levels and replenishment techniques easier.

Published in Aging Cell, Yu and colleagues from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology Chinese Academy of Sciences reveal a new, more cost-effective NAD+ measurement technique that requires only 5 µL of blood. With this new technique, the researchers confirm that, on average, human blood NAD+ levels decline with age. Making use of their new technique, the researchers also show that 1,000 mg of NMN increases blood NAD+ significantly more than 500 mg. The study highlights a new, efficient and cost-effective way to measure human NAD+ and demonstrates its capabilities with experiments confirming NAD+ declines with age along with NMN’s effects on blood NAD+.

The Finger Prick Method to Measure NAD+ Confirms Declining NAD+ Levels and Optimal NMN Doses

Utilizing a new technique called BRET, based on NAD+ sensing proteins from the bacteria Escherichia coli that change conformation when bound to NAD+, Yu and colleagues collected 5 µL blood samples from 75 female and 67 male study participants. The researchers compared blood NAD+ readings between the BRET method and one of the conventional NAD+ reading techniques, LC-MS. Intriguingly, the NAD+ readings almost perfectly aligned between the two techniques. These results suggest that the new BRET technique can reliably read blood NAD+ levels, much like LC-MS.

Here is a graph showing the levels of something called 'NAD+' in people's blood. The dots on the graph show the measurements from a special method called 'BRET' (on the up-and-down line) and another method called 'LC-MS' (on the left-and-right line). When the dots make a line that goes up and down and left and right, it means the two methods gave almost the same numbers. The number that tells us how close they are is really big, which means they are almost exactly the same!
(Wang et al., 2023 | Aging Cell) Blood NAD+ concentration readings from BRET almost perfectly align with those from the conventional LC-MS method. Each dot represents blood NAD+ concentration readings from a study participant. LC-MS blood NAD+ concentration values are on the X-axis, and BRET blood NAD+ blood NAD+ concentration values are on the Y-axis. A Pearson’s r correlation reading of one is perfect correlation, and any reading above 0.5 indicates a strong correlation. The Pearson’s r correlation was 0.992 for the two NAD+ concentration readings, indicating near-perfect correlations.

To apply the accurate NAD+ reading BRET technique, Yu and colleagues sought to find whether it confirms that human blood NAD+ levels fall with age. The researchers split the female and male participants up by age and found that for both sexes, average NAD+ levels significantly declined in aged individuals compared to younger ones. These results confirmed that NAD+ levels decline with age in both sexes using the BRET technique.

This is a picture that shows something called 'NAD+' in the blood. It helps us see if people have more or less of it when they get older. The gray dots are from boys, and the red dots are from girls. When boys and girls are young, they have more NAD+ in their blood, but when they get older, they have less of it. The older people have less NAD+ than the younger ones.
(Wang et al., 2023 | Aging Cell) The BRET technique confirms that average blood NAD+ levels decline with older age. Analyzing fingertip blood NAD+ concentrations, the BRET technique showed that in the younger group (20 to 50 years old), males (gray dots) had more blood NAD+ than females (red dots). Also, for both sexes, the older group (50 to 80 years old) showed lower average NAD+ levels than the younger age group (20 to 50 years old).

With the utility of the BRET technique in reading blood NAD+ levels established, Yu and colleagues sought to apply the method to find whether 1,000 mg doses of NMN exceeded 500 mg doses in increasing blood NAD+. The researchers provided study participants with either dosage orally for 30 days. Interestingly, even though 500 mg doses of NMN almost doubled blood NAD+, 1,000 mg doses further elevated blood NAD+ by about 30%. These data suggest that the optimal NMN dose for increasing blood NAD+ is higher than 500 mg, possibly being closer to 1,000 mg.

This picture shows how a medicine called 'NMN' can help our bodies have more of something called 'NAD+' in our blood. When people take 500 mg of NMN, it makes their NAD+ almost twice as much as before (the gray bar). And when they take 1,000 mg (the red bar), it makes the NAD+ even more, about 30% more than when they took 500 mg (the blue bar). So, NMN can help people have more NAD+ in their blood after taking it for 30 days.
(Wang et al., 2023 | Aging Cell) Five hundred mg doses of NMN almost double blood NAD+, and 1,000 mg doses of NMN increase blood NAD+ a further 30%. After 30 days of taking NMN, 500 mg dosages (blue bar) almost doubled blood NAD+ compared to non-treated adults (gray bar). One thousand mg doses (red bar) increased blood NAD+ concentrations almost 30% further compared to the 500 mg doses.

“We demonstrated a low-cost and easy-to-use assay using recombinant sensor protein and an automated optical reader for measuring fingertip blood NAD+,” said Yu and colleagues.

Using the NAD+ Measurement Technique to Research Ways for Individually Tailored Anti-Aging Regimens

The study sheds light on BRET, a new, cost-effective way to measure human NAD+ levels. The method measures blood NAD+ with the accuracy of more expensive and less efficient techniques like LC-MS. It also confirmed that blood NAD+ levels decline as people grow older and that 1,000 mg doses of NMN surpass 500 mg doses for replenishing blood NAD+. Interestingly, the prominent Harvard Professor and NMN researcher David Sinclair takes 1,000 mg of NMN per day, which aligns with the study’s findings that 1,000 mg dosages surpass 500 mg for boosting NAD+.

Due to its low cost and ease of application, researchers can apply the BRET technique to more individuals to find if some people produce more or less NAD+ than average. Along those lines, identifying these subgroups with NAD+ measurements like BRET in tandem with future genetic analyses could lead to individually tailored anti-aging regimens that include supplementation with molecules like NMN. With the ease of BRET’s applicability, more discoveries related to NAD+ biology along with individualized age intervention treatment options related to increasing NAD+ could await in the next two to three years.

Model and Dosage

Model: Adults between 55 and 70 years of age for measuring how different NMN dosages affect blood NAD+ concentrations

Dosage: 500 mg or 1,000 mg per day of oral NMN for 30 days


Wang P, Chen M, Hou Y, Luan J, Liu R, Chen L, Hu M, Yu Q. Fingerstick blood assay maps real-world NAD+ disparity across gender and age. Aging Cell. 2023 Aug 28:e13965. doi: 10.1111/acel.13965. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37641521.

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