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How To Increase NAD+ Levels: NMN vs. NAD+

How To Increase NAD+ Levels: NMN Vs. NAD+

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Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a naturally occurring coenzyme that has an important role in cell functioning. In particular, it helps to protect cells against the effects of ageing and disease. Unfortunately, as we age, our NAD+ levels halve every 20 years; stress, chronic disease and our environment can also exacerbate this. A decline in NAD+ levels contribute to the ‘hallmarks of ageing’, which include:

  • Genomic instability – this is like having a shaky or unstable foundation for your genetic information. It means that the DNA in your cells is more prone to errors, mutations or damage, which can lead to a higher risk of diseases, including cancer.
  • Telomere attrition – telomeres are like protective caps on the ends of our DNA strands. Telomere attrition refers to the gradual wearing down of these caps as cells divide, which can lead to ageing and various health issues.
  • Epigenetic alterations – changes that can occur in how our genes are expressed without altering the underlying DNA sequence. Think of it as switches that can turn genes on or off, influencing our health and development.
  • Loss of proteostasis – a circumstance where the body struggles to maintain the proper balance of proteins. It’s like a breakdown in the protein recycling and disposal system, which can lead to diseases.
  • Dysregulated nutrient sensing – this is when the body’s ability to sense and respond to nutrients like glucose or insulin becomes disrupted. It can be likened to the body losing its ability to regulate its energy intake and expenditure.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction – mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, providing energy. When they don’t work properly, it’s akin to a power outage in the body, leading to various health problems.
  • Cellular senescence – this is when a cell retires. It can no longer divide and perform its functions properly. These “senescent” cells can build up in our bodies and contribute to ageing and diseases.
  • Stem cell exhaustion – stem cells are essentially the repair crew for our body, replenishing damaged or old cells. When they become exhausted, it’s as if we’re running out of repair workers, which can hinder tissue repair and regeneration.
  • Altered intercellular communication – think of this as problems in the lines of communication between cells. Garbled messages can lead to misunderstandings and issues with the body’s coordination.

We’re led to believe that these hallmarks are an inevitable part of ageing. Thankfully, NAD+ levels can be increased through a combination of lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, as well as supplementation, including the popular NAD+ IV drip. This can give us more control over the ageing process.

NMN vs NAD+ supplements

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is often included in conversations about NAD+. Both are naturally occurring molecules, but NMN is a precursor (a substance that can be transformed into another substance) to NAD+ and is a key component when it comes to increasing NAD+ levels.

Let’s explore the differences between NAD+ and NMN, as well as practical, actionable ways to increase your levels of NAD+.

What’s the difference between NMN and NAD+?

As mentioned, NMN is a precursor to NAD+, which means that it serves as a building block for the creation of NAD+. However, while NMN is available as an over-the-counter oral supplement, NAD+ is not. Instead, it must be taken intravenously and administered by a medical professional. This is because, NAD+ is unstable, and is easily broken down when passing through the gastrointestinal tract, therefore becoming unusable (it does not need to pass through the digestive system when using a correctly administered IV drip).

Conversely, NMN is stable, which is why it is readily available as a supplement. Because NMN is a precursor, it goes through a process within the body transforming it into NAD+. As Victoria, our New Patient Liaison and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, explains, “Many people ask us if supplementing orally with NMN is enough to sufficiently raise NAD+ levels. Like any oral supplements, there are benefits and disadvantages. For example, it is more convenient to take a daily oral supplement instead of going for an IV drip. Depending on brands however, differing amounts of the nutrients in these oral supplements get absorbed by the body. Therefore, it is quite hard to ascertain how much is actually being absorbed. By providing the body with NAD+, there is no need for the body to work to convert it into what the body needs”.

Many of our age-conscious patients choose to have a regular NAD+ IV drip in order to boost their levels directly, whether they take a supplement or not. At Harpal Clinic, we can offer an NAD+ IV drip paired with Nuchido TIME+, which is a supplement that features raw, precursor materials which have been clinically proven to help the body create its own NAD+.

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How the body produces NAD+

A biological pathway encompasses a sequence of interactions involving molecules within a cell, ultimately resulting in the production of a specific outcome or a modification in the cell’s state. There are three main pathways involved in how the body maintains NAD+ levels:

Preiss-Handler pathway
The Preiss-Handler pathway utilises dietary nicotinic acid, which is essentially niacin, and an enzyme called nicotinic acid phosphoribosyltransferase (NAPRT) to produce NAMD, which is then transformed into NAAD and finally NAD+. This pathway marks the beginning of the biochemical cascade (a series of chemical reactions that occur in a cell when actuated by a stimulus) of how our bodies create NAD+.

De novo synthesis pathway
The second pathway is the de novo synthesis pathway. This is the conversion of tryptophan, an essential amino acid which we can obtain from our diets.

Salvage pathway
The third pathway is the salvage pathway, which is the main route to obtaining NAD+. The body obtains nicotinamide molecules, whether from niacinamide, nicotinamide riboside (NR) or NMN, and turns them into NAD+. The body can also recycle broken down NAD+ molecules by using the leftover niacinamide and recycling it into NAD+.

How to increase NAD+ levels naturally

As well as boosting NAD+ levels with NMN supplements and an NAD+ IV drip, there are also ways to encourage your body to produce more naturally.

As you might have guessed, diet plays a part in NAD+ abundance. Here are some dietary changes you can make to help support your body in NAD+ production:

  • Fasting – fasting is abstaining from eating food and certain drinks during a certain time period throughout the day. Some people may find it easier to start with a less-intensive fast of 16 hours, and gradually increase it over time. During eating hours, it is important to stick to healthy eating.
  • Keto – this is a low-carb, high-fat and adequate protein dietary plan.
  • Increasing vitamin B3 consumptiona study revealed that niacin, a form of vitamin B3, increases levels of NAD+ in the blood and muscles.

In addition to these dietary changes, regular exercise can naturally increase NAD+ levels, alongside keeping you physically fit and slowing down the effects of ageing. Exercise contributes to the maintenance of mitochondrial health (mitochondria being the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell), and should be a lifestyle priority alongside detoxification and good quality sleep.

Why is NAD+ available at Harpal Clinic, but not NMN?

We offer an NAD+ IV drip, which provides patients with a direct boost of NAD+, which is more efficient than only taking NMN.

As Dr Harpal Bains puts it, “We don’t offer NMN, because the body would just convert it into NAD+. However, you risk the body not being able to do the conversion well enough as there are quite a few steps involved. An issue at any of these steps will lead to a block in this conversion. So it just makes more sense to provide an NAD+ IV drip directly. However, the supplement that we recommend alongside this treatment, Nuchido TIME+, encourages the body to produce more NAD+ in between IV drips, to prevent you becoming deficient”.

At Harpal Clinic, we conduct a medical consultation prior to administering NAD+ in order to assess whether you may have any pre-existing issues that may affect the efficacy of the treatment, such as poor methylation (which can impact the metabolism of NAD+). This allows us to tailor the dosage to achieve the best results.

Let’s talk about how we can help you