Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a naturally occurring coenzyme found in all living cells. It’s essential for many biochemical processes, and its role in human health has become increasingly recognized in recent years. In particular, NAD+ has been found to play an important role in mental and physical well-being, with research suggesting that it might benefit a wide range of conditions. Keep reading to learn more about NAD+.
What is NAD+?
NAD plus plays a crucial role in cellular metabolism, including energy production and electron transfer. It’s a small molecule that works with enzymes to facilitate the conversion of food into energy in the form of ATP. NAD+ also has a role in regulating gene expression, DNA repair, and other cellular processes.
NAD+ comprises two components: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and its phosphate group (NADP). NAD+ is synthesized in the body from two different precursors, nicotinamide and adenine. Nicotinamide is derived from the vitamin niacin, and adenine is derived from the nucleotide adenosine. NAD+ can be obtained from food sources, such as meat, fish, and dairy products.
What does NAD+ do in the body?
NAD+ plays a critical role in the energy metabolism of cells. It’s the primary electron carrier in the electron transport chain (ETC), which is the process that produces the majority of the energy used by cells in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). In the ETC, electrons are passed through a series of enzyme complexes, ultimately used to generate ATP. NAD+ is also involved in other metabolic pathways such as glycolysis, the Krebs cycle, and fatty acid oxidation. It can also produce NADP+, which is used in anabolic pathways such as photosynthesis.
NAD+ is required for a variety of metabolic reactions. In glycolysis, NAD+ converts glucose into pyruvate, which is further metabolized to produce ATP. It functions as a cofactor in the Krebs cycle, which helps oxidize acetyl-CoA to form carbon dioxide. NAD+ is also used in fatty acid oxidation, which helps oxidize fatty acids to produce ATP.
NAD+ is also involved in the repair of damaged DNA. The enzyme PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) uses NAD+ to repair DNA damage, a critical process for maintaining the genome’s integrity. Additionally, it helps to regulate gene expression, as it’s involved in activating certain transcription factors.
The human body requires a constant supply of NAD+ to function correctly, and its levels can be affected by various factors. For example, NAD+ levels can be depleted by oxidative stress, which is caused by an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Additionally, NAD+ levels can also be affected by diet.
What role does NAD+ play in aging?
NAD+ is essential for several reasons when it comes to aging. First, it helps regulate the energy metabolism of cells, which is necessary for proper functioning. In addition, NAD+ helps regulate gene expression, which is important for maintaining cellular health and function.
This coenzyme is found in both the cytosol, the fluid in cells, and the mitochondria, where it’s involved in the generation of energy. It’s thought that the decline in NAD+ levels with age may contribute to decreased energy production and DNA repair in the elderly. This may increase the risk of age-related disorders like cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, there are ways to increase NAD+ levels in the body. Eating a healthy diet rich in B vitamins and antioxidants and exercising regularly can help boost NAD+ levels. Additionally, supplementing with NAD+ precursors such as nicotinamide riboside and nicotinamide mononucleotide has been found to be effective in increasing NAD+ levels. However, be sure to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
By taking steps to maintain healthy NAD+ levels, we can help slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.