AGE/DOSE

The Top 10 Potential Benefits of NAD+ Supplements

The top 10 benefits of NAD+ supplementation based on scientific evidence.

By Griffin Dean

The top 10 benefits (with one bonus) involve: 

  • Physical Performance 
  • Weight Management 
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Sleep 
  • Insulin Sensitivity
  • Blood Pressure 
  • Parkinson’s Disease 
  • Skin 
  • Cognitive Performance 
  • Addiction
  • Depression

NAD+ stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a fundamental molecule that plays many roles in keeping our cells healthy and alive. However, under certain circumstances, our natural NAD+ levels decline. As such, supplementing with NAD+ can potentially have restorative benefits. 

Don’t Be Fooled by False Claims

Many clinics offer NAD+ drip therapy, a form of NAD+ supplementation that requires a needle to inject NAD+ into the bloodstream. Some of these clinics may make erroneous claims surrounding the therapeutic benefits of NAD+ in their blogs and articles. To avoid being misinformed, always be sure that claims are backed by scientific evidence. 

An easy way to do this is by looking for references to peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. If a blog or article lists many claims but has no references to scientific literature, the claims could easily be false or erroneous. Of course, this is not to say that references automatically make claims true. Determining the validity of claims usually requires reading the referenced scientific literature. 

NAD+ Boosting Methods

There are several ways to boost NAD+ levels, including exercise. In terms of NAD+ supplementation, there is NAD+ drip therapy and NAD+ precursors. NAD+ precursors are converted to NAD+ in the body. They are used in place of NAD+ itself because NAD+ is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream when taken orally. 

The most well-researched NAD+ precursors are nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and nicotinamide riboside (NR). However, NAD+ precursors like niacin, nicotinic acid, and nicotinamide have also been shown to have beneficial effects in humans. 

10 Potential Benefits of NAD+ Supplementation

The following are 10 benefits (plus one bonus benefit) of NAD+ supplementation from NAD+ drip therapy and NAD+ precursors. These are essentially all the known evidence-based human benefits of NAD+ supplementation. They are in no particular order as nearly all of these benefits apply to specific populations. 

Physical Performance

Physical performance is usually measured by various strength and endurance tests. For example, the amount of time it takes to sit down and stand up from a chair five times. NMN has been shown to improve the physical performance of older adults. It was also shown to slightly increase the left-hand grip strength of older men. Additionally, NR was shown to improve exercise performance in 12 older but not younger men. Another NAD+ precursor, niacin was shown to improve the physical performance of patients with mitochondrial myopathy. 

Weight Management

Obesity is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, suggesting that it can shorten our lifespan. NMN was shown to lower the body weight of overweight and obese individuals. Moreover, NR was shown to increase the fat-free mass, which includes muscle and bone, of 13 obese individuals. More studies will be needed to determine if NAD+ boosters can reduce fat mass without significantly reducing fat-free mass in obese individuals.  

Lower Cholesterol

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) carries cholesterol to our cells. However, when LDL cholesterol becomes oxidized it can build up in our arteries and increase the risk of atherosclerosis. NMN was shown to lower the LDL cholesterol of overweight and obese individuals. Nicotinic acid has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. However, it seems to have more side effects than NMN, particularly flushing. 

Sleep

When it comes to health and longevity, getting adequate sleep is a must. With that being said, NMN was shown to improve the sleep quality of older adults. Additionally, NR was shown to increase the sleeping metabolic rate of 13 obese individuals. While increasing sleep metabolic rate may not help with sleep quality, it could help with losing weight. 

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin is the hormone that tells our cells to intake glucose from our bloodstream. When our cells are not sensitive to insulin, they will not intake glucose efficiently. This can lead to high blood glucose levels, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. NMN has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in prediabetic postmenopausal women, meaning it could help modulate blood glucose levels. 

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a prerequisite to multiple age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease. High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because it has no symptoms. NMN was shown to lower the blood pressure of overweight and obese individuals

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

PD is a neurodegenerative disorder with symptoms that include uncontrollable tremor-like movements. NAD+ drip therapy has been shown to alleviate symptoms of PD. Additionally, NR has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect against PD. NR, when combined with other compounds, has also been shown to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s. However, this list excludes combined therapies where the relative effect of NAD+ supplementation cannot be determined.  

Skin

NMN was shown to improve the skin of 17 postmenopausal women, although the body mass index (BMI) of these women increased. Skin changes were assessed subjectively with various factors, including moisture, flakiness, blemishes, tension, roughness, and makeup application. Notably, the study was done in Japan with cultural norms potentially influencing questions like, “Do you care about pimples?” 

Cognitive Performance

NAD+ drip therapy was shown to improve the cognitive performance of 11 healthy males. The mechanism for this effect is unknown but may be related to boosting the energy production of mitochondria in the brain. The neuroprotective effects of NR shown in PD and Alzheimer’s may be related to a similar mechanism. 

Addiction

For individuals addicted to alcohol and drugs, NAD+ drip therapy has been shown to resolve cravings for said alcohol and drugs while alleviating withdrawal symptoms. A few case studies have also shown that drip therapy can prevent hangovers from drinking alcohol. Celebrities like Justin Bieber have partaken in NAD+ drip therapy to treat their addiction problems. 

Depression

Various forms of NAD+ administration were shown to improve clinical symptoms of depression in 93% of 205 participants. In this study, oral supplementation as well as intravenous (IV) and intramuscular injections were used. While the study did not specify, it seems that no administration method was superior to the others. 

These Benefits Don’t Apply to Everyone 

To reiterate the above list, not all the benefits of NAD+ supplementation apply to everyone. Additional studies will be needed to determine which benefits apply to the general population. Based on the above studies, NAD+ supplementation may have specific benefits for certain populations, such as obese individuals, older adults, postmenopausal women, and individuals with diseases and other medical conditions. This is likely because NAD+ levels tend to be low under these circumstances. Therefore, individuals who consistently sleep well, exercise, and maintain a healthy diet may not benefit from NAD+ supplementation. 

References

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