One of the main roles of NAD+ is energy production. It carries electrons from one place to another, which makes it essential to creating not just the energy that helps you move throughout the day, but also the energy that powers the entire network of systems and organs which keep you alive and well.
The cellular ‘respiration’ process of turning nutrients into energy using NAD+ is the foundation of a healthy metabolism. In other words, NAD+ is the beginning of every energy-driven process that maintains health in your body.
As you age your immune system declines. You can get sick more easily, and it becomes harder to bounce back from illnesses. Because NAD+ declines with age, your body’s ability to manage the chronic and low-grade inflammation (called inflammaging; a key driver of many age-related diseases like hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cancer12) is lessened.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that regulating NAD+ levels could be an effective strategy to control inflammaging. It has also been shown to help regulate diseases driven by chronic inflammation, such as neurodegenerative diseases and some cancers13,14,15.
As you get older, particularly from middle age onwards, changes can start to occur within the brain that may trigger a gradual decline in mental capabilities. This is known as age-related cognitive decline, and it typically results in people becoming more forgetful and less mentally sharp. In severe instances, it can lead to dementia.
NAD+ has been shown to play important roles in metabolic processes in your brain. It has positive effects on brain function such as transmitting messages between cells, learning, and memory16 – all vital aspects of robust cognitive health.
Insulin is an important hormone that controls many bodily processes. However, insulin problems are at the heart of many modern health conditions. When your cells stop responding properly to insulin it can disrupt the balance of blood sugar levels. This can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes, which in turn can result in other complications like heart and blood vessel disease, eye damage, kidney conditions, and more.
Treatment with NMN, a molecule your body uses to create NAD+, has been shown to substantially improve insulin sensitivity in pre-diabetic humans17. It has also been shown to reduce insulin sensitivity in subjects with age-related diabetes18,19. These results highlight NMN as an effective path for correcting declines in the way your body responds to insulin as you get older.
We aren’t superheroes. But when your body operates like it should, its innate ability to repair itself sometimes borders on a superpower.
Encoded within your DNA are numerous processes that detect and repair damage inflicted by environmental and internal forces throughout your life. Yet, as good as your body is at repairs, the fix is not always perfect, and damage accumulates. Over time, repair systems fail to correct all the DNA damage and the result is aging and disease.
NAD+ is essential to DNA repair. The proteins in charge of the process use NAD+ as fuel to perform their vital functions20. When NAD+ is plentiful, it can also prevent the action of some proteins that meddle with your body’s ability to mend damaged DNA21. If NAD+ is not present in cells to stop this harmful interaction or to fuel repair, DNA breaks are not fixed. This can lead to cellular damage which drives the aging process itself.