Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) is the oxidized form of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Hydroxide (NADH). NAD+ is a crucial component of the Electron Transport Chain (ETC). ETC is the key to the cellular energy generation cycle. It produces energy in the form of ATP by transferring electrons from one carrier to another. NAD+ acts as a medium for sharing power within and outside the cells.
In addition to energy generation, NAD+ helps carry out several biological processes. One such process is the folding and protein modification after their synthesis (post-translational edit). It also helps in the activation/deactivation of several enzymes.
NAD+ peptide also acts as a means of communication between the body cells. NAD+ acts as an extracellular signaling molecule and helps regulate pivotal body functions. These functions include the activity of the intestine, bladder, neurons, and blood vessels.
It also acts as a co-founder for body processes. These include energy conversion, immune mediation, regulation of circadian rhythm, and timely DNA repair. NAD+ is a crucial bio-molecule, but its levels in the body are age-related. Its levels decline with age, which signifies its importance in age-related diseases. Strategies that can help replenish the levels of NAD+ can be effective in treating a variety of age-related conditions. It is a natural molecule with virtually no side effects. Its use with other biological molecules can help achieve cumulative results.
What Does Research Suggest By NAD+?
As mentioned, NAD+ is the critical component of crucial biological processes. Below are some research implications of NAD+:
1. Anti-Aging Potential of NAD+
Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cells. It controls body processes that generate ATP, which is the body’s energy currency. In addition, it helps in several intracellular signaling processes and regulates innate immunity.
Age-related changes cause a decline in the function of mitochondria. Mitochondria senescence leads to decreased cellular metabolism, heightened inflammation, and accelerated aging. These processes can lead to age-related conditions, and it also causes organ dysfunction and altered healing from injuries.
Processes that can modulate or accelerate the actions of mitochondria can reverse the biological clock. As mentioned, NAD+ is the critical component of mitochondrial functions. A decline in the levels of NAD+ interrupts signaling pathways to the nucleus by promoting a pseudohypoxic state. These changes undergo reversal with adequate supplementation of NAD+. NAD+ supplementation can reverse age-related decline in mitochondrial action.
NAD+ supplementation leads to the activation of SIRT1. SIRT1 is a gene that produces an enzyme called Sirtuin-1. It is also known as NAD+ dependent Deacetylase Sirtuin-1. Sirtuin-1 acts as a co-mediator for cellular processes. These include improved metabolism, cellular longevity, reduced inflammation, and improved general health.
2. Neurodegenerative Conditions
NAD+ released by the nerve endings acts as a signaling molecule. Due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and regenerative properties, it has significant neuroprotective effects. NAD+ acts on the mitochondrial energy generation pathways and reduces the production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are toxic molecules that lead to the generation of biologically healthy molecules. ROS increases significantly with age and is the pathogenic process in age-related conditions. These conditions include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
In the animal models of Parkinson’s disease, NAD+ supplementation leads to reduced ROS. It also improves the survival of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. It effectively reduced the motor deficits seen in the animal models of Parkinson’s disease. It can also help prevent the progression of other neurodegenerative conditions too.
3. Improve Muscle Function:
Like other body organs, muscles undergo age-related decline too. This decline is a direct consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction and NAD+ decline. A fall in mitochondrial gene expression leads to reduced oxidative phosphorylation. A decrease in oxidative phosphorylation leads to reduced energy production by mitochondria. Animal research suggests that NAD+ supplementation can help improve gene expression and energy generation.
NAD+ supplementation helps stabilize the activity of Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1-alpha). Stabilization of this gene has effects on muscle growth similar to regular exercise. Also, increased oxidative stress and inflammation cause a decline in muscle mass. NAD+ supplementation causes an improvement in the survival of muscle fibers.
4. NAD+ And Addiction Treatment
Addiction to substances such as alcohol and drugs causes a decline in NAD+ levels. NAD+ reduction causes cognitive and nutritional deficiencies. Research suggests that supplementation with NAD+ can help overcome the dietary weaknesses and cognitive decline associated with drug addiction.
5. NAD+ and Inflammation
Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is an enzyme-linked to inflammation. Several cancers lead to an over-expression of this enzyme. It is also linked to type 2 diabetes, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and obesity. NAD+ supplementation can cause a dramatic decline in the levels of NAMPT.
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