NAD+ in Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders
NAD+ is a pivotal metabolite involved in cellular bioenergetics, genomic stability, mitochondrial homeostasis, adaptive stress responses, and cell survival. Multiple NAD+-dependent enzymes are involved in synaptic plasticity and neuronal stress resistance key areas for maintaining optimal brain function.
There are emerging findings that reveal key roles for NAD+ and related metabolites in the adaptation of neurons to a wide range of physiological stressors and in counteracting processes in neurodegenerative diseases, such as those occurring in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington diseases.
Advances in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of NAD+ based neuronal resilience will hopefully lead to more novel approaches for facilitating healthy brain aging and for the treatment of a range of neurological disorders and while more studies are needed this is an exciting area of research.
NAD+ Has Numerous Functions in Cells
NAD+ is a vital redox cofactor for metabolism and ATP production (the energy that is produced by the power houses of your cells the mitochondria, each cell has hundreds up to even 2000 mitochondria per cell and this ATP gives the cell the energy to do it’s specific jobs whether its a neuron or a liver cell, a skin cell or a kidney cell, a hormone secreting cell or a muscle cell etc) , and a key substrate for at least four families of enzymes involved in healthspan and longevity (Fang et al., 2017; Gomes
et al., 2013; Verdin, 2015).
NAD+ plays an essential role in glycolysis and the citric acid (TCA) cycle, forming NADH during ATP production (Krebs, 1970; Wallace, 2012).
NAD is one of the central electron donors in
oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in the mitochondria, providing electrons to the electron transport chain (ETC) to generate ATP, that all sounds complicated but all you need to really understand if that NADH is key in making ATP; and ATP is literally our life force. No NAD and no ATP = no life withing about 30 seconds. Its that crucial.
All cells are reliant on the optimal production of ATP and NAD is key to this process and therefore underpins many of the aging processes in the human body including cerebral neurons. In other words it’s critical for optimal brain function.
While more studies are needed and indeed underway, taking a NAD+ precursor may be a great way to prevent neurodegeneration.
You can get your NMN, the immediate precursor to NAD+ which is unfortunately unable to be taken directly here:
NMN has been proven to be bioavailable through tablets and powder taken orally and increases the levels of NAD+ in the body.