How to Increase NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide)

You are too tired. You are gaining too much weight.

You look in the mirror and know you look older than your mid-to-late 30s.

You are ready for a positive change.

That change may be to increase your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.

NAD+, a coenzyme, plays a vital role in your health, whether it repairs your enzymes or works as an anti-aging stimulator.

If you do not have enough of the coenzyme, you are susceptible to certain diseases and a slowing of your metabolism.

Before explaining what you need to know to increase the amount of NAD+ in your body, let’s discuss what this coenzyme is.


What is Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide?

This coenzyme is made of nicotinamide and adenine. It is found in all living cells.

One responsibility it has is to communicate between your body’s mitochondria and the cell nucleus.

Also, the coenzyme is found in two forms in your body: the plus version, and NADH.

The former is the oxidized form.

The latter contains more electrons and is the reduced form of the coenzyme.

When you consume fat and carbohydrates for energy, the cells in your body break them down, or metabolize them.

Once your body is finished metabolizing the consumed fats and carbohydrates, your body stores them by creating NADH and ATP.


High Coenzyme Levels Give You a Boost of Energy via the Electrons from Food Consumed

Your body uses a process called “cellular respiration” to convert the energy located in your NADH to ATP.

This is done via one process known by two names.

You can call it “cellular respiration,” or “oxidative phosphorylation.” This process occurs in the mitochondria.

As your body metabolizes more fats and carbohydrates, the coenzyme levels in your body increase.

The plus version of the coenzyme decreases.

This means that during this process, the NADH contains the needed electrons, and becomes the plus version of the coenzyme when it gives them away.

Your body gets the boost of energy it needs from food due to the electrons contained in the fats and carbohydrates.

When your body has those electrons, you feel and look healthier.

You have the energy needed to enjoy your day, chase after your children, or go to work.

If you do not have the proper electrons in your body, you feel weak and sick.

You feel the aging process accelerating and experience fatigue.

The following are 11 harmful effects of having low NAD:


The Coenzyme Naturally Declines as You Age

You may not think about mitochondria when you think about getting older.

However, mitochondria are the powerhouse of your body’s cells.

They are responsible for acting like your digestive system because they metabolize nutrients and create energy-rich molecules for your cell.

This biochemical process is what was discussed earlier, and is called cellular respiration (1).

When you are younger, your NADH has enough electrons to donate readily to your body to generate the plus version of the coenzyme.

Increased levels of the coenzyme fight the aging process by activating other enzymes known as sirtuins.

Both SIRT1 and SIRT3 assist in controlling your genes and promoting a healthier aging process.

As you grow older, these coenzyme levels begin decreasing.

This means the energy transfer process mentioned above begins to falter; your mitochondria become less effective, and the aging process accelerates.

However, this process can increase at any time, and not because of age.

If you do not have the right coenzyme levels in your body, you may look older than you are.

This means you grow older faster, and you experience a decline in gene function.


You Feel More Fatigued When You Have Low Coenzymes

Everyone feels overworked and overtired sometimes, but this issue can usually be resolved by plenty of rest and/or sleep.

Unrelenting exhaustion is different and occurs for different reasons.

It is the profound exhaustion not relieved by sleep or rest. You may know this as feeling fatigued.

Over time, fatigue impacts your health because you are too tired to complete daily activities, and you lack motivation.

Low mental and physical energy may be a sign of low SIRT1 and coenzymes.

The plus version of the coenzymes controls your ability to acquire electrons because of what’s called “redox potential.”

The more redox potential in your cell, the better your mitochondria are able to work.

This increases your ability to fight infections and improves your cell function (2).

The increase of coenzymes and SIRT1 can improve chronic fatigue, fatigue, and fibromyalgia.


Low Coenzyme Levels Cause Unintentional Weight Gain and Metabolic Syndrome

Unintentional weight gain occurs when you gain weight without increasing the calories you consume.

It also occurs without decreasing your amount of daily activity.

Your eating habits and exercise habits may not change, but you still gain weight.

The unintentional weight gain is continuous, periodic, or rapid.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medication-related conditions such as high blood pressure, excess body fat around your waist, and high blood sugar.

When you develop all these medical conditions at the same time, you increase your chances of having diabetes, stroke, or heart disease.

If you have one of these medical conditions, it does not mean you will be diagnosed with or have metabolic syndrome.

You are at an increased risk of developing serious diseases.

If you have a healthy level of Sirtuins and coenzymes, your metabolism improves.

This means you benefit from a reduced LDL cholesterol, and you lose weight.

If you have a low level of both coenzymes and Sirtuins, you may experience unintentional weight gain without trying, and your metabolic syndrome may worsen.

For example, metabolic syndrome has been strongly linked to depression.

Low Sirtuin activity, along with low levels of coenzymes, will worsen your depression.

A mouse study looked at nicotinamide riboside, a precursor to the plus version of the coenzyme, and how it protected against obesity and diet.

It determined that animals can burn more calories and experience better fat burn with improved coenzyme levels.

They can also become more insulin sensitive.

In humans, sirtuins improve glucose homeostasis and glucose levels by increasing your insulin levels (3, 4).


Low Coenzyme Levels Cause Low Oxygen Levels in Your Cells

Lack of oxygen in your cells and tissues is called hypoxia.

Hypoxia is the insufficient amount of oxygen in your blood.

This lack of oxygen can cause severe and adverse effects in different areas of your body that need oxygen to perform needed functions.

A symptom of hypoxia is your heart pumping more blood to increase the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout your body.

This causes a decrease in your peripheral tissues.

The result is cyanosis, or bluish discoloration, in certain areas of your body.

Various medical conditions may cause hypoxia, such as anemia. Healthy people may develop hypoxia, too.

For instance, you may develop it when traveling to high altitudes.

Low coenzyme levels may also suffocate your body’s cells and cause hypoxia. Hypoxia causes your mitochondria to function improperly.

To accept electrons correctly in your mitochondria, your body needs the right amount of oxygen (5, 6).

When you have low coenzymes and hypoxia, your mitochondrial function is slowed because your body cannot accept the electrons.

This causes a buildup of NADH and a reduction of the plus version of the coenzyme.

The lack of the plus version of the coenzyme is called pseudohypoxia because your body has the same reaction as it would if you experienced hypoxia.

This means you can have adequate oxygen levels, but your body would still slow down your mitochondrial function as if you had hypoxia.

Low oxygen levels cause a chain reaction, because they also result in an increase of NADH, lower plus version of the coenzyme, and lower SIRT1.

The three factors together cause you to have a higher hypoxia-inducible factor.

Hypoxia-inducible factor plays a huge role in how your body responds to low blood oxygen concentration.

For example, it may increase the hypoxic areas, such as tumors or localized ischemia.


Not Enough Coenzyme Worsens Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases are medical conditions that affect the functions or structures of your heart.

These diseases include heart attack, coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart failure.

Symptoms of cardiovascular diseases vary depending on the medical condition you have.

General symptoms include pressure in your chest, pain in your arms, legs, and shoulders, and fatigue.

The treatment for any cardiovascular disease depends on your specific medical condition.

The combination of a cardiovascular disease and low coenzyme levels may worsen your symptoms.

Your heart muscles rely heavily on mitochondria.

Mitochondrial activity requires you to have SIRT3. SIRT3, a mitochondrial protein, is connected to living longer.

The lower your SIRT3 levels, the more you are at risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and the worsening of cardiovascular disease symptoms (7).

Research done on animals shows that a depletion of the plus version of coenzyme will generally cause DNA damage, failing hearts.

It will also quicken the pace of heart failure.

The plus version of the coenzyme levels will also drop if you have an ischemia-reperfusion injury.

This injury is known as damage to your heart from lack of blood flowing through your body.

An increase in the plus of coenzyme and SIRT3 can treat or act as a supplementary treatment of heart diseases.


Skin Cancer and Sunburn Can Increase with Low Coenzyme Levels

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of cells on your skin. It often develops because of increased exposure to the sun.

A person may develop one of three types of skin cancer.

These are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Skin cancer may develop anywhere on your skin, including your chest, scalp, legs, and hands.

Sunburn is a burn to your skin that causes your skin to appear painful, hot to the touch, and red.

Sunburn generally occurs after a few hours of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from various sources, like sunlamps or sunshine.

Signs of sunburn also include swelling in the affected area, small blisters filled with fluid, and headache.

If you have a low level of coenzyme, the chances of developing sunburn and skin cancer may increase.

NADH and the plus version of the coenzyme protect your skin from damage, such as skin cancer and burning.

The role of the plus version of the coenzyme is to absorb the UVB spectrum.

NADH is responsible for absorbing the UVA spectrum.

If you have low levels of the plus version of the coenzyme, you may easily burn when your skin is exposed to the sun.


Low Coenzyme Levels May Contribute to the Development of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, damages your central nervous system.

More specifically, it eventually disables your brain and spinal cord.

With MS, your immune system attacks the myelin that coats and protects your nerve fibers.

Lack of myelin causes problems with the communication between your body and your brain until the damage is permanent.

There is no cure for MS. The signs and symptoms of MS vary depending on the amount of nerve damage you have, and which nerves are affected.

For example, symptoms include weakness in one or more of your limbs and pain or tingling in areas of your body.

You may lose bladder function and the ability to see.

When you have chronic nervous system inflammation, an enzyme called CD38 that uses NAD+ reduces the availability of the coenzyme.

In many people with MS, the plus version of the coenzyme increases in your immune system and decreases in your nervous system.

However, the plus version of the coenzyme throughout your system also becomes deficient.

You may have less serum tryptophan available to make the plus version of the coenzyme inside your neurons (8).

The plus version of the coenzyme creates a neuronal deficiency that makes you more vulnerable to MS degeneration.

Researchers found that in animal models of MS, the plus version of the coenzyme was elevated in the central nervous system only because of changes in the immune system.

An increase in the plus version of the coenzyme, via supplements, helped MS in the animal models.

However, administering tryptophan during the study seemed to increase amounts of lymphocytes.

This made MS worse in the animal models studied.


Your Immune Function and Balance May be Harmed by Low Coenzyme Levels

Your body’s immune system is made of proteins, special cells, organs, and tissues.

They come together to defend against microorganisms and germs you come into contact with every day.

Your immune system does this in a number of steps, called an immune response.

Inflammation is an immune response to an infection or injury.

The body’s inflammatory response involves changes in blood flow and migration of fluid, white blood cells, and proteins.

Inflammation may last three days or more. The longer it lasts, the more it is called chronic.

People who are sick often have inflammation and chronic infections they cannot overcome.

If you are healthy or sick, low coenzyme levels may increase the amount of inflammation in your body.

It may also impair your immune system’s ability to fight off germs and bacteria.

You may experience brain fog, which is the inability to think clearly, and chronic fatigue.

Research involving animal models showed that an increase in the plus version of the coenzyme reversed the autoimmune disease such as increasing the number of anti-inflammatory responses.

For example, the research found that the plus version of the coenzyme could reverse autoimmunity by increasing the number of anti-inflammatory cells Th1 and Th17 in your body.

Both Th1 and Th17 are considered bad cells, but the plus version of the coenzyme changes them to good.

Also, the combination of the plus version of the coenzyme and SIRT1 can clear pathogens via MHC II activation.

For instance, the combination of low oxygen and hypoxia prevents the activation of SIRT1 activity.

This decrease and the decrease of NAMPT, which makes the plus version of the coenzyme, reduces the pro-inflammatory cytokines in your body.

This makes it harder for your body to fight infections and germs.

An increase in SIRT1 and the plus version of the coenzyme balances your immune system and helps it fight off infections and germs.


Your Brain Function May be Impaired by Low Coenzyme Levels

Your brain is made of different, specialized areas that work together to help you think, feel, and function.

It is one of the highest-functioning parts of your body, and it needs a lot of neurons that contain mitochondria.

Lack of mitochondria is called mitochondrial dysfunction and contributes to various neurodegenerative and mental health diseases.

Low coenzyme levels inhibit brain function and cause other neurodegenerative and mental health diseases.

The increase in NADH treatment can improve brain function and many diseases affecting the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

NADH can also treat Parkinson’s disease because the coenzyme increases your bioavailability of levodopa, a medication that is used for that purpose (9).


Low Coenzyme Levels Decrease Your Thyroid Hormones and Metabolism

Your thyroid hormones are produced in your thyroid gland, which releases two types: thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3).

Thyroid hormones affect every organ and cell in your body.

Too much of these hormones can speed up processes in your body. Too little hormones will slow your body’s functions down.

Metabolism is your body’s process of converting food into energy.

The energy may be used immediately or stored for later use.

Metabolism never stops, and is never completely impaired, as it continues 24 hours a day.

However, it can slow down, making it harder to convert food that you consume into energy.

The plus version of your coenzyme, along with various hormones like T3, control metabolism.

For instance, the lower your plus version of the coenzyme and T3 hormone are, the colder you will feel because of a decrease in your metabolism.

When your T3 hormone and plus version of your coenzyme are at their optimal levels, your metabolism and thyroid function will be in high gear (10).


A Decrease in Your Coenzyme Levels May Also Decrease Your Cellular Antioxidants

Oxidation occurs when your body process, or metabolizes, oxygen you breathe.

It also processes the oxygen our cells produce from the food your body converts into energy.

During oxidation, your body also produces free radicals. These free radicals, which interact with the molecules located in your cells, also causes cellular damage.

This damage, known as cellular oxidative stress, also hurts your genes (DNA) and mitochondria.

Cellular oxidative stress can cause you to age faster, and suffer from memory loss and joint pain.

Low levels of the plus version of the coenzyme can also cause an increase in cellular oxidative stress and its symptoms.

An increase of the plus version of the coenzyme will increase your antioxidant enzymes SIRT3 and SOD2.

Cellular antioxidants will decrease the symptoms and factors associated with cellular oxidative stress (11).


Factors that Will Decrease the Amount of the Coenzyme in Your Body

Lower levels of the coenzyme may have devastating effects on your health.

The following are some factors that can lower your coenzyme levels, causing the symptoms listed in the prior section.

  1. Reduced Sirtuin. Low sirtuin levels can cause your coenzyme to decrease. It may disrupt your mitochondrial function, too.
  1. Damage DNA. If your body endures massive amounts of damage to your DNA, you may notice a decline in the plus version of the coenzyme. This reduction can also reduce your Sirtuin activity.
  1. Alcohol Consumption. Alcohol has a lot of negative health effects, such as causing you to age faster and decrease the plus version of your coenzyme. That is why the more you drink, the worse you feel.
  1. High Insulin and Blood Sugar Levels. You are at a greater risk of low levels of the coenzyme if you have high blood sugar levels. These high levels of insulin and blood sugar cause both NADH and the plus version of the coenzyme to decrease (12).
  1. Disruption of Circadian Rhythm. The circadian clock genes called CLOCK and BMAL1 are your internal clock. It runs 24 hours a day and is responsible for your wake/sleep cycle. The ebb and flow of your plus version of coenzyme can slow as you age. However, a decreased production of NAMPT at any age will cause your wake/sleep rhythm to change for the worse (13).
  1. Chronic Inflammation. The lower your coenzyme, the higher the chances of increased chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a repeated cycle of one or more areas of your body becoming inflamed.
  1. Overeating. Overeating involves consuming more than the amount of food you need to maintain a healthy weight. If you overeat, you may have low oxygen levels in your cells. This means higher NADH levels, and lower levels of its counterpart, which can cause a decrease in needed SIRT1, too (14).


Ways You can Increase Your Coenzyme Levels for Optimal Health

You can increase the number of coenzyme levels in your body by doing some things to improve your health.

These include:

  1. Caloric Restriction or Fasting. Carbohydrates tend to cause an accumulation of NADH. This means a lower level of its counterpart. Fasting and caloric restriction tend to speed up your buildup of the plus version of the coenzyme levels and will aid in optimal health (15).
  1. Take an Oxaloacetate Supplement. Oxaloacetate is a molecule that plays a vital role in energy production. It provides protection against strokes, cancer, and brain injury. It also increases the plus version of your coenzyme.
  1. Take a Nicotinamide Riboside. A nicotinamide riboside, or NR, is found in trace amounts in nutrient-rich foods. It is a vitamin B3, and aids with energy metabolism and neuroprotection. It also helps increase the plus coenzyme. You can take a supplement form of this vitamin, too.
  1. Consume Fructose. Fructose, commonly called fruit sugar, is found in a variety of plants. The proper amount of fructose can increase your SIRT1 function. It can also activate the enzyme used to convert NADH and its enzyme counterpart into mitochondria. Fruit and honey are great sources of fructose.
  1. Spend Time in Saunas. Sweating out toxins from your body can increase the level of the plus version of the coenzyme. Spending time in a sauna is a great way to increase this coenzyme (16).
  1. Having a Little Body Fat Increases Your Coenzyme. A healthy weight is ideal for optimal health. However, you may want to have a little more body fat to increase the amount of the plus version of the coenzyme in your body. More body fat tends to lead to a higher level of hypothalamic coenzyme and systemic levels.
  1. Consume Kombucha and Fermented Foods. Fermented foods and beverages contain the plus version of the coenzyme. The fermentation also uses NADH to create lactate. Lactate is a byproduct of the plus version of the coenzyme.
  1. Exercise More. To increase your coenzyme levels, you may want to burn NADH by exercising. Remember, the more NADH you have, the less of its plus counterpart in your body. NAMPT levels can also increase when you exercise. One type of exercise to try is aerobic because it provides sustained energy and stress relief for a long period.
  1. Try Beta/Ketosis – Hydroxybutyrate. You may try a ketogenic diet if you do not want to restrict calories or fast. This can help you enter into a fasting state. Ketosis, which is a fat-burning state, can help you increase the plus version of your coenzyme.


Supplement Form of This Coenzyme

You may think the list of ways to increase your coenzyme levels is great, but not something you have time to do.

Supplementation with this coenzyme is available.

The supplement increases the coenzyme found in your mitochondria and cells.

It also may reverse many of the disease and aging processes associated with low levels of the plus version of this coenzyme.



You may enjoy many benefits of having an increased amount of the coenzyme.

For instance, an increased level may decrease your physical performance during exercise.

A study made this determination when studying mice.

Low levels of the coenzyme may be beneficial because it can stop tumor growth. Cancer cells rely on carbohydrates for energy and growth production.

With low levels of the coenzyme, they do not get the needed carbohydrates to grow (17, 18).

However, if you plan to use a supplement form of the coenzyme, understand the precautions (1920).

NADH supplements are only safe to use on a short-term basis, meaning no longer than a 12-week period.

You should not use NADH supplements if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.

The safest amount of the supplement to take is about 2.5 mg a day in that short time frame.

Typically, this supplement does not have side effects.

However, if taken in high doses, you may experience some, which may include anxiety, insomnia, over-stimulation, and fatigue.



NAD is one way to achieve optimal health.

You may feel too fatigued, and it doesn’t go away with sleep and/or rest.

The fatigue is not occurring because you are working too much.

You may feel that your wake/sleep rhythm is out of control. You may be gaining weight even though you have not changed your eating habits.

All these things may be happening because of low levels of one coenzyme.

Take charge of your health and your life by increasing the coenzyme levels that will make a serious difference.

Consult your physician before increasing your intake of this coenzyme.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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