What is NADH? Why You Should Care about NAD+ and NADH if You Want to Live Longer
Let’s be honest here; everyone wants to live a longer life, right? Especially if those years are packed with energy and vitality! While this might seem like an impossible dream meant only for the movies, what if we were to tell you that it might not be as far off as it seems?
This is why you should care about NAD+ and NADH.
If you took chemistry in high school or college, you might remember a bit about NAD+ and the Krebs cycle, you know, the process that cells use to generate energy?
For those of you who didn’t, let’s take a look at what this coenzyme does and why it matters to every living thing on earth.
What is NADH?
Before we get into the NADH definition, let’s take a look at plain old NAD.
NAD is short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. This is a coenzyme that every cell in the body must use in order to keep you alive. Without it, you would have zero energy and life would not exist.
NAD moves electrons from molecule to molecule, causing your enzymes to activate chemical reactions that keep your body working and keep the cells healthy.
Now to understand NADH, it might be easier for you to think of these two in this way; think of NAD+ as a delivery driver who picks up electrons from one business (a molecule) and then drops that electron off at another business. When NAD+ has a hold of that electron, it owns hydrogen, which makes it NADH. Once it drops off that electron at another business (a molecule) it becomes NAD+ again.
So NADH only exists as long as it is holding on to a hydrogen electron. Once it releases the electron, NADH becomes NAD+ again.
Why Does This Matter?
This matters to everyone, actually, because without NAD+, we would cease to exist. Actually, all life would cease to exist.
This coenzyme plays a vital part in converting fat, carbohydrates, and protein into energy. NAD+ and NADH are also required for keeping our blood glucose going while we sleep and for the creation of ketones, which is an alternative source of energy for the body.
For the transmission of thoughts to acts, for our eyes and ears to function, for every single movement of our muscles, NAD+ is required.
As NAD+ is picking up electrons (becoming NADH in the process) and dropping them off at other molecules, the battery pack that runs your cells, called mitochondria, use that energy to do whatever it is they need to stay alive, including repairing themselves from damage or stress when necessary.
What Else Does NAD+/NADH Do?
Glad you asked.
NAD+ is also responsible for making sure that proteins are in the proper shape or form that they need to do their job. If an insulin receptor, for example, is an irregular shape, your cells won’t receive the signal to accept the delivery of energy that is coming from your food. NAD+ helps to shape the protein so it will “fit” into the insulin receptor.
A Brief DNA Lesson
The body’s DNA strand have end caps that keep the chromosomes from coming apart at the ends. These end caps are called telomeres. Scientists have discovered that people with long telomeres have a longer life.
We also have some pathways called Sirtuins. These protect your cells from age-related degeneration. The cells of the body use NAD+ to make sirtuins work, keeping your cells younger and healthier. Sirtuins are also in charge of keeping those telomeres long and strong.
How This All Ties Together
As you can see, NAD+ is vital for every living thing. It keeps our mitochondria strong and healthy, meaning less aging, as well as keeping our sirtuins busy keeping the cells youthful, and, last but not least, when our sirtuins are busy, they keep telomeres long, which means a longer life.
Here’s the Catch
NAD+ isn’t something new or recently discovered, we’ve known about this coenzyme since 1906. Scientists simply didn’t understand much about it until the last two decades.
Now researchers know that, as we age, our NAD+ levels diminish.
This is due in part to a compound in the body called CD-38. This compound destroys NAD+ cells, which isn’t a bad thing because when NAD+ levels get too high, our sleep/wake/hunger cycles get out of balance.
Unfortunately, as we get older, our NAD+ gets lower and our CD-38 levels get higher. This means our cells cannot take in as much energy, our mitochondria become weaker and our telomeres get shorter.
This sets the stage for the aging process to start and our bodies to begin to lose their vitality, youthfulness, and vigor.
How to Keep NAD+ Levels Higher?
You can boost your NAD+ levels in several ways.
1. Practice intermittent fasting or go on a restricted calorie diet.
While this will increase your NAD+ and NADH levels, the problem with this is fairly obvious. Most people won’t keep this up for very long.
2. Go All Out for Exercise
Performing intense cardio vascular exercise, such as High Intensity Interval Training, in combination with a restricted calorie diet will increase your NAD+ levels.
3. Consider Taking Another Supplement, Oxaloacetate
When you have high levels of both NAD+ and NADH, your cells work better, you naturally have more energy, and vitality. Oxaloacetate stimulates the longevity factor in almost the exact same manner that fasting does. This supplement also makes more NAD+ available for your body to use.
Oxaloacetate is an obscure element that plays an important role in the production of energy, as well as protection from certain health risks, including cancer. Because this compound is not found in food, it needs to be consumed as a supplement.
4. Take an NAD+ Supplement
This is the easiest way to make your NAD+ levels higher. Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to maintain a very low- calorie diet and intense exercise program for a long period of time. To maintain your NAD+ levels, you would need to keep this regimen up for years! Not fun.
Imagine if you could take a NAD+ supplement that also contained oxaloacetate? This would give your body the ultimate anti-aging compound you need (NAD+) while the oxaloacetate makes the NAD+ more bioavailable to your cells without fasting or staying on a calorie restricted diet!
Watch this page for information regarding a new and thoroughly researched NAD+ supplement
The Bottom Line
While NAD+ supplements might not be the fountain of youth or everlasting life, it can absolutely give you the upper hand when it comes to aging and aging well.
Of course, all the supplements in the world won’t make up for a poor diet and bad lifestyle choices, such as smoking, heavy drinking, and lack of exercise. If you truly want to live the best life possible, for as long as possible, you would be wise to consider adding NAD+ supplements to your healthy diet and exercise program.