Naturally boosting your body’s NAD+
NAD+ is a vital molecule for cellular health, and so making sure you have sufficient levels of it, as you get older, is crucial for slowing and limiting ageing. While we need it more as we age, unfortunately, our NAD+ levels drop off drastically with the years. However, there are ways we can naturally boost NAD+.
We get most of our NAD+ from ordinary dietary food. So, if you pay a little attention, you can boost NAD+ simply by preferring some healthier foods over others. We don’t get NAD+ from food directly though, since NAD+ is such a big molecule that it is unable to pass through the walls of our gut.
How do we get it then? Well, our bodies make NAD+ from certain precursors, molecules like Lego blocks that we take apart and put together to produce NAD+. Therefore, if we want to boost the NAD+ we get from food, we must consume foods that are naturally rich in these precursors.
First, what are these precursors? There are five main precursors, the first three are different forms of vitamin B3. These are: nicotinic acid, also known as niacin or NA; nicotinamide, also known as niacinamide or NAM; and nicotinamide riboside or NR. The B3 vitamins are found in meat, fish, dairy products, raw and cooked vegetables, beans, and seeds.
Then, there is tryptophan, an amino acid found in the same protein rich foods. This is not only a precursor of NAD+, but also of other essential molecules, such as the antioxidant, sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, and the so-called “happiness hormone” serotonin.
Finally, there is nicotinamide mononucleotide or NMN. All the other precursors have to go through various intermediate steps before becoming NAD+. Not so for NMN, which forms the last step in the conversion process. Foods particularly rich in NMN are tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, edamame soybeans, avocados, mushrooms, and fresh fish.
One last dietary way of boosting NAD+ is by consuming more fructose-rich foods. These are not only fruits, but also sweeter-tasting vegetables, such as zucchini, asparagus, peas, peppers, and butternut squash. Though fructose is not a precursor to NAD+, it has been shown to boost sirtuin 1, another enzyme associated with longevity, whose levels rise hand in hand with NAD+.
I already watch my diet. Any other way?
You already try to eat healthily. What else can you do?
For a start, sleeping well is intimately connected to your NAD+ levels. Of course, you should try to sleep enough, but not too much. What’s more is that recent scientific research says that it’s best to go to bed and get up at as close to the exact same time of day as possible. Even better if you try to mimic the sun, by falling asleep not so very long after sundown, and waking up at sunrise.
Hot and cold shock
This might sound like a torture method, but it can be rather pleasant, or invigorating. Think of a hot sauna or bath. That’ll work fine. But also, a cold shower, or outdoor swimming, in cold rivers, lakes or the sea. Such activities boost NAD+ since experiencing a hotter or colder than usual body temperature activates NAD+ synthesizing enzymes in response.
The fast way
Fasting has been associated with increased NAD+ levels, as well as a way to keep in shape and maintain a good rate of metabolism. It sounds like another torture method, yet it isn’t as bad or as hard as it sounds. Fundamentally, it doesn’t mean necessarily eating less. All it means is waiting a little longer for your next bite, or having breakfast or lunch a little bit later, getting a bit more used to that slight burning sensation of hunger in the pit of your stomach.
The right balance
As with most things in life, it’s important to keep a balance. Sure, you need to watch your diet, get plenty of exercise, and soak up a few natural rays. But if you restrict your calorie intake too much, exercise too aggressively, or burn yourself under the sun, it’s bad for your NAD+.