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What is NAD+

NAD+ is a coenzyme, or molecule, found in all living cells, and it plays a vital role in energy metabolism and maintaining proper cell functioning. It is particularly crucial for the functioning of our mitochondria, the power plants in our cells that turn our food and oxygen into energy. 

NAD+ levels can be increased through the following pathways:

  • indirectly (by digesting certain foods or supplements)
  • directly (by sublingual absorption, subcutaneous injection or IV)

Indirect NAD+

Our body can convert certain precursors such as NR and NMN into NAD+, thus indirect.

  • NR (nicotinamide riboside)
  • NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide)

Direct NAD+

NAD exists in two forms: an oxidized and reduced form, abbreviated as NAD+ and NADH (H for hydrogen):

  • NADH (reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide taken sublingually)
  • NAD+ (oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide as injection or IV)

Potential Benefits vs. Side Effects

At specific doses, these supplements may help improve insulin sensitivity and heart function and reduce tiredness with few side effects.

NMN and NAD+ are molecules your body makes naturally. Scientists, such as Harvard University professor and longevity expert David Sinclair, are currently looking into its promising potential benefits for many different areas of health, including:

  • longevity
  • diabetes
  • liver conditions
  • brain health
  • heart health
  • exercise training
  • sleep
  • weight loss

Research on the effects of NMN and NAD+ is still emerging, and more investigation is needed, but many very promising scientific studies exist.


Put simply, NMN is a naturally occurring molecule that helps power your body.

NMN is a type of molecule called a nucleotide. Nucleotides play many roles in your body, including as the building blocks of DNA.

Within your cells, NMN is converted into another molecule known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). Your body needs NAD+ for a variety of functions involved in metabolism and energy production.

You might think of NMN as raw material and NAD+ as the refined version that your body can actually use.

The amount of NAD+ your body can make depends on the amount of NMN available in your body. You can also deliver NAD+ directly by means of an IV or injections.


All the cells in your body use NAD+ and NMN, its precursor, to function properly. NAD+ helps cells regulate a number of essential functions that help keep your cells running smoothly, including:

  • energy metabolism
  • DNA repair
  • gene expression
  • cellular stress responses

It’s essential that your cells have plenty of NAD+ to support these functions.

Your NMN levels naturally decline over time, and, as a result, your levels of NAD+ decline, too. This may contribute to some of the health effects you might experience during aging.

NMN vs. NR

If you’ve heard of NMN, you might have also heard of nicotinamide riboside (NR). NR is another molecule similar to NMN that people also take as a supplement for healthy aging.

Studies show that the body converts NR into NMN, which then is converted into NAD+.

Potential benefits of NAD+

It’s also important to consider the research behind the benefits of NAD+. Studies investigating NAD+ shed light on its potential benefits:

  • It may increase longevity. In your cells, NAD+ activates a group of proteins called sirtuins, which help repair your DNA. The activity of sirtuins is linked to longevity. On the flip side, low-NAD+ levels are associated with age-related diseases.
  • It may have protective effects on the brain. NAD+ is thought to modulate the production of a protein that helps guard cells against impairment of mitochondrial function and oxidative stress. These cellular stressors are related to some neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It may help reduce heart disease risk: In mice has found that high NAD+ levels in the blood reversed age-related arterial damage, which may help guard against heart disease.
  • It may protect against cancer. Elevated NAD+ levels may help protect cells against oxidative stress and DNA damage, which are associated with cancer development.
  • It may help with jet lag: Suggests NAD+ may help adjust your internal clock, potentially helping ease jet lag or other circadian rhythm disorders.
  • It may help aging muscles: In older mice have shown that high blood NAD+ levels helped improve muscle function, strength, and endurance in older mice.

It’s important to note that these benefits were found for NAD+, not for NMN specifically. More research on the benefits of NMN and NAD+ is needed.

Recent research has found that taking NAD as a supplement (e.g. indirectly digested as a pill) doesn’t lead to the same potential benefits. Taking NMN as a pill can be beneficial, but this depends on your digestion. NADH and NAD+ can only be highly effective, if absorbed or injected into the bloodstream.

Can it help with aging?

NMN and NAD+ levels naturally decline with age, so many researchers have suggested that taking NMN as a supplement or NAD+ as injections or as IV therapy may help with age-related health concerns.

How can I increase my NMN naturally?

NMN is found naturally in a variety of foods. Some NMN-rich dietary sources:

  • avocados — 0.36 to 1.60 mg per 100 grams
  • broccoli — 0.25 to 1.12 mg per 100 grams
  • cabbage — up to 0.9 mg per 100 grams
  • tomatoes — 0.26 to 0.30 mg per 100 grams
  • raw beef — 0.06 to 0.42 mg per 100 grams

Small amounts of NMN are also found in cow’s milk, cucumbers, and edamame.

Studies in mice have found that the gut absorbs NMN readily, but more studies are needed to investigate how eating NMN-rich foods may increase NAD+ levels in your cells.


Many people, including experts, suggest that taking NAD supplements may provide a variety of health benefits. While animal studies have found the supplement reversed many age-related health effects, the evidence in humans is still limited.

Please make sure you read and agree with our Medical Disclaimer.

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