There is no dearth of products that claim to slow down the aging process. However, how many of them actually work? The cosmetics industry is full of fake products that advertise anti-aging properties. Now, researchers have come across a novel molecule that actually has the capability to turn back the clock and slow down the aging process.
The results of the study have recently been published and they point to the fact that a form of vitamin B-3, known popularly as nicotinamide riboside (NR) chloride or NIAGEN which boosts the production of the enzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is known to slow down the aging process. Let us take a closer look at the findings of this new study to understand whether NAD+ can slow down aging.
What is NAD+ and Can It Slow Down Aging?
The study showing the anti-aging effects of NAD+ was published in the journal Nature Communications. In this unique study, the results of which were anxiously awaited and monitored, the researchers showed that a form of vitamin B3, known as nicotinamide riboside (NR) chloride (NIAGEN), is responsible for boosting the production of the enzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) within our cells. The enzyme NAD+ is said to potentially slow down the aging process. NAD+ is found in all the cells of our body and is primarily responsible for repairing the DNA. NDA+ also works together with proteins to maintain good health, especially under conditions of stress. NAD+ is also known to be a primary component responsible for creating cellular energy. The findings from the study showed that supplementing the levels of NR in the body was safe and effective and it also raised the levels of NAD+, which in turn slows down the process of aging. So YES, NAD+ helps in slowing down the aging.
When and Why Does NAD+ Decrease in our Body?
As one starts to get older, the levels of NAD+ in the body start to decline. The decline of NAD+ means that the transfer of cellular energy starts to slow down and falter. This can cause problems at a mitochondrial level, which is what causes the symptoms of aging. This is because bad mitochondria are said to signal the beginning of the ‘end’ for the human body. NAD+ helps battle the problem of aging as it activates a certain type of enzyme in the body known as ‘sirtuins’, which control the genes to promote healthy aging. The higher the levels of NAD+, the more activated sirtuins in the body, which in turn means that we have healthier mitochondria. This means longevity for the body, thus fighting off the signs of aging. As we grow older, the NAD+ levels start falling, which causes less activated sirtuins. This starts causing problems with the mitochondria, thus causing the body to start getting old.
Does NAD+ Really Prevent Aging?
While NAD+ cannot really stop aging, the study’s results show that NAD+ can at least slow down the process of aging. While the research is still in its early phases and more studies are required before one can claim this with certainty, but there is no doubt that the results are promising. Another study done at Harvard showed that mice which were bred with a defective sirtuin had problems with their mitochondria and also showed signs of rapid aging. During the same study, once the mice reached 22 months of age, they were given an increased level of NAD+. The results from the study showed the following:
- The mice had less inflammation.
- There was less muscle wasting of the body.
- There was also less insulin resistance in the mice.
From the results, it appeared as if the mice were suddenly 6 months old. The results of the study suggest that an increase in the NAD+ levels in humans can also slow down the aging process, giving our bodies more time. In fact, keeping with the results of the study, further research also suggests that it might well be possible to reverse mitochondrial decay by using dietary supplements, which helps increase the cellular levels of NAD+.
However, one needs to keep in mind that NAD+ does not guarantee that you will remain young forever. However, results from all these studies potentially show that if you increase the levels of NAD+, then you might be able to stay healthy and young for a longer period of time.
How do you Increase the Levels of NAD+?
You can increase the levels of NAD+ in your body in a number of ways.
- To begin with, the easiest way is to drink a glass of red wine every night. Red wine is beneficial because it works directly on increasing the levels of sirtuins in the body, bypassing the need for NAD+ completely. This is one of the reasons why doctors often recommend having a glass of red wine every night. If you don’t like red wine or are not keen to consume wine, then there are several other, more direct routes to increase NAD+ levels.
- There are many supplements available that can help. You could opt for taking a resveratrol complex, which is also one of the ingredients present in red wine that works to directly increase the levels of sirtuins in the body.
- You can also consider taking pterostilbene. This is a compound which is chemically similar to resveratrol and also has many of the same benefits and effects, but it is considered to be superior to resveratrol in many ways.
- One of the leading supplements on the market at the moment is called Niagen® and there are many scientific studies still being done on this compound.
At present, there are two companies that are selling supplements that are said to boost the NAD+ levels in the body. They are ChromaDex and Elysium. However, the researchers of these studies believe that the current level of research is not sufficient enough to convince people to go ahead and purchase the products that are being sold as anti-aging supplements. It will take more time for these products to catch on in the market, and more research is also required to convince people about the validity of the potential of NAD+.
If taking supplements is not appealing to you, then you can also opt for a restricted calorie diet, which has shown good results and known to increase NAD+ levels in the body. The reasoning behind a restricted calorie diet is related to the ratio of NAD+ and the other compounds in your body. When the calorie intake becomes restricted, your body starts properly balancing this ratio by increasing the production of NAD+.
Exercise is also known to have the same effect as a calorie reduction diet and helps in slowing the aging process. Exercising causes a buildup of a favorable ratio of NAD+ as compared to other compounds in the body.
Though research has shown promising results for the benefits of NAD+ on aging, further research is still required before people start picking up the supplements. In the meantime, you can always try to increase the levels of NAD+ naturally through diet and exercise. This will also have a positive impact on your overall health, apart from increasing the levels of NAD+ and help in delaying the aging process.