Aging is a complex process that involves DNA damage, tissue degeneration, metabolic dysfunction, and more. These cellular level changes are responsible for what we humans feel as we age: Decreased energy, impaired healing ability, and susceptibility to disease. For many years this process has been seen as inevitable and irreversible. Yet as scientists discover more about what processes lead to aging, more potential therapies are developed to slow down or even reverse this process. Some leading researchers, such as David Sinclair from the University of Harvard, have gone as far as to label aging as a disease that is treatable. With this change in perspective, many are now viewing diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s not as primary illnesses but a result of a bigger issue: aging.
NAD & Aging
One emerging therapy to combat aging is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). NAD is a cofactor that is required for all living cells for multiple biological processes including metabolism, DNA repair, gene expression, and more. NAD is found in food and is naturally produced by the body. As people age, their NAD levels decrease significantly, dropping nearly 50% by middle age. There are two proposed reasons for this decline: a simple decrease in production, and an increased utilization of NAD secondary to increased cellular damage and stress. These decreases in NAD levels could contribute to DNA damage, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other processes that contribute to the phenomenon of aging.
NAD in Studies
NAD as a treatment modality for anti-aging has been gaining interest as more research has shown benefits. One study done in mice showed an average 5% increase in life span when treated with an NAD precursor. Even more interesting is that the mice in the study were not given supplementation until they were nearing the end of their lifespan. Other studies have shown protection against diabetes, slow in progression of Alzheimer’s disease, protection against cardiovascular disease, and improved muscle function. Despite these exciting findings in animal models, significant work is still needed in humans. Ongoing trials may culminate in a breakthrough for multiple different medical conditions. Until these studies are completed, the search for the fountain of youth continues.
This information should not be used for treat-ing a medical problem or disease. Always consult with a licensed physician prior to start-ing any supplement or therapy.