Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme that has tremendous potential to increase brain health and promote anti-aging. The NAD+ version is the oxidized form. As we age, not only do brain cells break down from oxidative stress and cellular deterioration, but we run the risk of developing amyloid plaques which are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques kill brain cells, affecting memory and cognitive function. Even if we don’t develop Alzheimer’s disease, the mitochondria in our brain cells slowly become compromised, meaning they are no longer the energy powerhouses they once were. Mitochondrial production of ATP in our cells diminishes, and as a result, we have less energy for our brains to function well. Cognition declines, memory declines, and reflexes decline. These are hallmarks of aging- but do they have to be?
NAD+ has been found to have powerful neurological effects and can act as a key anti-aging compound. NAD+ has been effectively used to treat addiction disorders and has shown real promise in trials against Alzheimer’s disease (Wu, et al, 2014). This is because NAD+ has been shown to be intrinsically involved with regulating metabolism, mitochondrial function, aging, and cell death in the brain. All of these are key factors in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease but are also descriptions of how aging in the brain progresses. While NAD exists naturally in the brain, it declines with age. NAD+ can decrease neurotoxicity in the brain. It can decrease ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) in the brain, which can damage brain tissue, decrease neurotransmitters and deplete glutathione which the brain needs to drive the mitochondria. “NAD+ is a vital redox cofactor for metabolism and ATP production, and a key substrate for at least four families of enzymes involved in healthspan and longevity” (Lautrup et al, 2019). NAD+ can also decrease oxidative stress in the brain, which can lead to cell death. It is an effective neuroprotective enzyme that seems to have the effect of reversing brain decline.
NAD+ and the ten hallmarks of aging
In 2018, the researchers Mark Mattson and Thiruma Arumugam published a landmark paper detailing the 10 hallmarks of aging. It appears that NAD+ may act in a positive way to inhibit them. Since “Emerging findings are revealing linkages by which age-related NAD+ depletion is positively related to the 10 hallmarks of brain aging.” Let’s go through them and show how NAD+ might work to combat the effects of aging:
The fact that NAD+ therapy shows such promise across the range of factors that contribute to aging is exciting indeed! Aging is complicated, but the fact that NAD+ seems to act against the entire range of aging mechanisms in the brain should tell you something! The therapy itself involves a series of injections that patients have indicated show positive results quickly. Help your brain feel younger!