NAD for Brain Health
Aging is something our society has become obsessed with. How do we slow the aging process? How do we maintain the mental clarity we had when we were 20 years old? These are questions we all ask ourselves as we approach middle age or even our golden years. Some of us may be young but still have issues with cognition and focus.
There are a myriad of products available on the market that cater to slowing the mental decline we experience as we age, and NAD is one of those products. There is promising evidence that demonstrates the potential role NAD can play in improving brain health.
What is NAD?
NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It is a substance found naturally in our bodies, but levels decline as we age. Diet and poor overall health can also cause a decrease in NAD levels. Cell damage and free radicals present in the body can deplete NAD at any age; therefore, supplementation with NAD may be an effective strategy to maintain a healthy brain.
How Does NAD Work?
NAD is considered anti-aging primarily because it is involved with the production of ATP, which is a molecule that provides energy in every single cell throughout our bodies. All of the processes our bodies carry out, from breathing to digestion depends upon the amount of ATP present in our cells.
Does NAD Support Brain Health?
Interestingly, the brain requires the most ATP compared to any other organ. It consumes 25% of the total energy available in the body.  It is safe, therefore, to infer that the more ATP available, the better our brains can function. This is why NAD has gained so much attention in recent years – it is vital for the production of ATP.
One of the major reasons brain aging is accelerated is due to DNA damage, and this may occur for a variety of reasons. NAD plays an important role in DNA repair by directly activating pathways that lead to the restoration of the DNA molecule. 
Inflammation plays a key role in causing or exacerbating various diseases. Neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the nerve cells, is associated with a decline in cognitive function, including attention span, memory, and our ability to problem-solve. By reducing the inflammation of nerve cells in the brain, cognitive function is restored. Studies have shown that markers of inflammation in neurons are associated with reduced levels of NAD.  Also, supplementing with NAD may be helpful in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Other Potential Health Benefits
NAD may also be used to help with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. It is also considered a valuable aid in weaning off individuals addicted to drugs like cocaine and heroin. More studies need to be conducted, however, to support these claims.
Supplementing With NAD
Supplementing with NAD can be tricky for different reasons. One reason is that NAD is not very stable in pill form. Once ingested in the body, NAD will break down before it is absorbed in the body and any potential health benefit is lost. Also, NAD is a big molecule, and putting a sufficient amount of it in a capsule would require an extremely large pill that may be difficult to swallow.
Numerous studies have shown that the best way to increase NAD in the body through supplementation is by using NR (nicotinamide riboside) supplements. This substance is a precursor to NAD. Once absorbed into the body, NR will convert to NAD, thereby providing all the health benefits previously discussed.
Our Top 3 Picks To Increase NAD In The Body
TRU NIAGEN 300MG – This supplement contains the NR formulation which efficiently provides the body with all the brain-boosting functions of NAD. This supplement has been reviewed by the FDA, and their website boasts that human clinical trials have demonstrated an increase in NAD levels.
LIFE Extension NAD – This product also utilizes nicotinic riboside (NR) to supply the body with NAD. In addition, it contains resveratrol which is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that works with NAD to improve brain health.
Ultra Health NAD– This supplement also uses NR to provide the brain with NAD. It is 100% vegan, and the manufacturing plant for this product is located in the United States.
The brain benefits of increasing NAD in the body are backed by several studies, and no side effects have been shown when taking supplements containing NR, a precursor to NAD. Supplementing with products that provide NR, which increases the amount of NAD, is simply replenishing what our bodies cannot efficiently produce as we age. We highly recommend increasing NAD levels through supplementation, especially since there are no cases of adverse events; however, you should always speak with your doctor before taking any new vitamins or supplements.
- Frequently Asked Questions
NAD is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
Yes, by increasing energy in cells, reversing damage to DNA, and reducing inflammation.
Yes, but production decreases as we age, so supplementation can restore what we lose as we get older.
The best supplements actually use a substance called NR, which upon ingestion, produces NAD.
- Dunn J, Grider MH. "Physiology, Adenosine Triphosphate." StatPearls, February 17, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2022.
- Lautrup, Sofie et al. "NAD+ in Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders." Cell Metabolism, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2022.
- Hou, Yujun et al. "NAD+ supplementation reduces neuroinflammation and cell senescence in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease via cGAS-STING." PNAS, September 8, 2021. Accessed May 24, 2022.