We all want to be our best, our optimal selves.
Unfortunately, as we age, many of our body’s internal functions that we rely on to optimize our health undergo a decline. Maybe our minds are not as sharp, our attention not as clearly focused, or we find we can’t push just a little bit harder when we’re working on a project or heading toward that finish line in our athletic pursuits.
Although there are many possible reasons for these declines, the source is frequently based on loss of cellular efficiency and aging, also known as senescence. If we can just tweak the cell’s anti-aging potential, we can gain back some of what we lose with time.
Enter the magic of NAD.
What is NAD?
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide commonly referred to as NAD is essential to life.
This molecule is intimately involved in energy production and cellular genetic material repair and is considered a key anti-aging or senolytic molecule. Benefits of NAD are far reaching and include improved glucose metabolism, energy production, cognitive enhancement and reduction of anxiety and depression.
As we age and our cells undergo repeated stress, NAD levels begin to decline. The source of NAD is nicotinamide riboside, a type of B3 vitamin that we get from various food sources. Conversion of the NR version of vitamin B3 to NAD happens in the cell, but is dependent on adequate amounts taken in with foods and proper absorption of the vitamin in the gut
With repeated stress and a busy lifestyle, it is easy to fall behind on the intake of this vitamin. This plus inefficient recycling-based loss contributes to falling levels of NAD with age.
How do we increase NAD stores naturally?
A healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, exercise, and consistent, adequate sleep all help maintain healthy NAD levels. Here are some specific ways to help in these areas.
- Good food sources of NR include avocado, nut butters, lean chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and seeds.
- Studies have shown that obesity and overeating are directly related to reduction of NAD and accelerated aging.
- Foods rich in processed carbohydrates and saturated fats have also been shown to cause NAD levels to decline.
Here are then some great strategies to improve our NAD levels through our diet:
- Eating the foods listed above is a great start.
- To take it to the next level, include a calorie-restriction strategy, such as intermittent fasting or fasting-mimicking diet.
- Finally, work on eliminating all trans and saturated fats commonly found in all processed and fast foods and gradually convert to a diet low in processed carbohydrates and high in lean protein and healthy fats.
High intensity exercise has been shown to improve cellular efficiency, reduce inflammation and promote healthy NAD levels. As always there is a sweet spot. Excessive high intensity exercise without adequate recovery can create inflammation and drive NAD levels down, so make sure that you have a balanced exercise program that incorporates cardio based workouts and restorative workouts such as yoga and Tai-Chi.
This is our internal clock and when running properly, it facilitates every function and reaction in the body. When the rhythm is off, NAD levels start to decline.
One of the main ways of maintaining this rhythm is getting consistent sleep with regular wake up and bedtime hours. It is typically recommended that we get about seven hours each night. Using electronic screen, working late and right before bedtime can disrupt our sleep cycle so avoiding these activities is also critical.
Other ways to get NAD:
A great way to add to the NAD stores is to supplement our intake. Two main oral supplement versions on the market today are nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). There is currently a debate on which source is better. At OWM Integrative Wellness we recommend NR.
Due to commonly poor gut absorption, intravenous administration of nutrients which offers 100% cellular absorption is becoming increasingly accessible and popular, and intravenous NAD infusions are no exception.
How do you know when to supplement with oral and IV NAD?
This is a difficult question, the answer to which will become clearer as we get more research on this molecule.
Based on the best current research, at OWM Integrative Wellness, we believe that this has to do with the amount of daily stress a person is experiencing. The stress can be from a multitude of sources including hard physical work, excessive work related or social stress, and a chronic systemic or mental illness. In other words, any condition that will drive the cells into accelerated aging and deplete NAD stores.
In a young healthy individual with low stress levels, nutritional, sleep and exercise routines are an adequate way to boost and maintain optimal NAD levels. In folks approaching middle age with the stress of work and family, oral supplementation becomes important. For people that are in the middle age bracket with very busy stressful lives or the ones with chronic illness, intravenous supplementation is recommended every three months in addition to daily oral supplementation.
For more information on NAD therapy and other intravenous infusion options please visit us here.