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What is Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)

What is Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a crucial molecule involved in several biological processes essential for maintaining health and vitality. Here are some of the key reasons why NAD+ is important: 

  1. Energy Production: NAD+ plays a central role in cellular energy metabolism. It is a coenzyme involved in redox reactions within the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, where it helps convert nutrients such as glucose and fatty acids into usable energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through processes like glycolysis and the citric acid cycle.

  2. DNA Repair and Maintenance: NAD+ is a substrate for enzymes called sirtuins, which are involved in various cellular processes, including DNA repair, gene expression, and longevity. Sirtuins require NAD+ as a coenzyme to carry out their functions, such as removing acetyl groups from histones and other proteins, which can influence gene regulation and cellular processes.

  3. Cellular Signaling: NAD+ serves as a signaling molecule involved in regulating various cellular processes, including metabolism, circadian rhythm, stress response, and cell survival. NAD+ levels can affect the activity of enzymes and proteins involved in these signaling pathways, influencing cellular functions and responses to internal and external stimuli.

  4. Mitochondrial Function and Biogenesis: NAD+ is essential for maintaining mitochondrial function and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis, the process by which new mitochondria are formed. NAD+ activates enzymes such as sirtuins and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) that regulate mitochondrial health, dynamics, and turnover.

  5. Age-Related Decline and Longevity: NAD+ levels tend to decline with age, and this decline has been implicated in various age-related diseases and conditions, including metabolic dysfunction, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. Strategies to boost NAD+ levels, such as calorie restriction, exercise, and supplementation with NAD+ precursors like nicotinamide riboside (NR) or nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), have been proposed as potential interventions to promote healthy aging and longevity.

  6. Neuroprotection: NAD+ plays a critical role in maintaining neuronal function and protecting against age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. NAD+ precursors and activators of sirtuins have shown promise in preclinical studies for their neuroprotective effects and potential therapeutic applications in treating neurodegenerative disorders.

Overall, NAD+ is a fundamental molecule involved in numerous cellular processes critical for maintaining health, energy metabolism, and resilience to stressors. Strategies aimed at preserving or enhancing NAD+ levels hold potential for promoting overall well-being and extending healthspan.