Health In Focus
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) - a co-enzyme found in living cells has a role in pharmacology and use in the future treatment for various diseases
  • Researchers are studying the consequences of NAD deficiency and are looking into how effective it would be in reversing the signs of muscle and cell atrophy by enhancing the production of NAD.
  • Preliminary studies on mouse models indicate that NAD can reverse the signs of aging, however it is still under contemplation until controlled clinical trial can prove it.

Mitochondria otherwise know as the powerhouse or the batteries of the cell, is a structure inside a cell, its most important function is to produce energy, by taking nutrients from the cell, breaking it down and turning it into energy.

As we grow older the cells in our bodies also get damaged due to various factors, which in turn contributes to the aging process.
Helper Molecules in Optimal Levels Could Aid the Reversal of Degenerative Changes
Helper Molecules in Optimal Levels Could Aid the Reversal of Degenerative Changes

NAD ( Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide ), is the coenzyme form of the vitamin niacin, it functions as one of the most important coenzyme in every cell of our body and plays an essential role in many biochemical reactions such as energy metabolism, mitochondrial functions, calcium homeostasis, gene expression, immunological function, aging and cell death.

Studies in the past have found that there is an inverse relationship between NAD and our natural aging process irrespective of one's personal health, diet or physical fitness. With age NAD levels decrease making it difficult for cells to process energy leading to impairment and depletion of mitochondria, the most important factor in aging.

A latest study done by researcher Joseph Baur, from Perelman School of Medicine, on mouse models studied the role of NAD precursor molecules by targeting the NAD salvage pathway and thereby trying to resynthesize and make fresh NAD to maintain optimal vital reactions thus combating age-related cell damage and preventing the natural course of aging.

While studying the effect of restricting the amount of NAD in specific tissue, to stimulate the process of normal aging on young mice models, Baur and team found that, the mice tolerated NAD well without losing spontaneous activity however they accidently found to their surprise that when the mice reached adulthood they showed signs of muscle atrophy, similar changes seen in muscular dystrophy patients.

Next they tested the effect of dietary form of vitamin B3 on the mice and found a drastic and almost complete reversal of muscle atrophy symptoms. The research team also found that if there was an induced lifelong over expression of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), it maintained the exercise capacity in aged mice, thus proving that enhancing muscle NAD synthesis could battle age-associated atrophy.

The effect of NAMPT is controversial and is still a matter of debate and further research has to be done to confirm long-term safety.

Although various studies have been done on NAD and its positive health benefits, especially its role in reversing the aging process, more research needs to be done to study its long term effects.

Over the counter supplements of NAD first came into the market in 2013 and it claims to reverse the signs of aging with one supplement a day, however the supplements are under dosed and you will not be able to see any noticeable difference. A better alternative would be the use of Vitamin B3, specifically the type nicotinamide riboside, as it is said to increase NAD levels, however it would be a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any supplements.

References :
  1. Penn study illuminates role of essential compound in maintaining physical endurance, possible MD treatment - Newswise
  2. Actions & Reactions - (
  3. Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt): a link between NAD biology, metabolism, and diseases. - (
Source: Medindia

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