What is NAD+?
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (better known by its abbreviation, NAD+) is a molecule that we call a cofactor or coenzyme. Found in every cell in your body, as the name “co-enzyme” implies, NAD+ is required to work with enzymes in a “co-starring” role to catalyze some of the most significant chemical reactions regulatory and signaling processes in the body (which are carried out by enzymes), ranging from energy production and metabolism to cell survival.
NAD+ and NADH (image from Wikipedia, Public Domain)
You Down With ATP? It Makes Energy! And to Make It, It Takes NAD.
One of the most important “co-starring” roles of NAD+ is in cellular energy production. If you think back to high school biology or biochemistry, you will surely remember that the cells of your body have structures called mitochondria, which are often referred to as the “power plants of the cell.” You will also probably recall from high school science class that the cell’s energy “currency”—essentially a way to store energy—is a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. So, you absolutely need to make ATP for energy, but I’ll bet you don’t remember what else ATP is used for: synthesizing RNA and DNA. In fact, the name adenosine triphosphate itself gives it away: it sounds very much like the RNA and DNA bases adenine, and indeed, it I what is called a nucleotide, which means it has a base, a sugar, and [in this case, three] phosphate groups, so it is ready to be synthesized into RNA or DNA as is!
Finally, ATP is a powerful signaling molecule, affecting the behavior of important enzymes such kinases (powerful regulators of cell survival and growth) and cyclic AMP (which regulates, among other things, calcium levels).
There are several ways to make ATP, the most well-known of which are cellular respiration and photosynthesis in order to convert glucose and oxygen into ATP. Since we aren’t plants, photosynthesis doesn’t apply to us.
The enzyme involved in the process of making ATP has the rather obvious name of ATP synthase. The chemical reaction adds one inorganic phosphate (Pi) to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and converts it to ATP.
The reaction to make ATP looks like this:
On a thermodynamic basis, this reaction is energetically unfavorable. The reaction only works because the enzyme driving it, ATP synthase, is coupled to a proton gradient that is set up by pumping protons (H+) from the mitochondrial matrix across the mitochondrial membrane such that there is a high concentration of protons (low pH) in the intermembrane space, ultimately leaving the converse situation in the matrix (low concentration of protons (high pH). However, the way that this proton gradient is established is crucial: It takes a series of oxidation-reduction (“redox”) chemical reactions in which electrons are donated by electron donors or carriers—and the chief electron donor here is none other than the coenzyme NADH (the reduced form of NAD+)=which then passes on its electrons to a series of chemical complexes (labeled I-IV in the diagram below), one of which is the famous Coenzyme Q10, followed by molecular oxygen (O2.)—which is the final electron acceptor in the chain— yielding ATP, NAD+, and water as final reaction products. This process is called the electron transport chain (ETC) and it is one of the most important in biochemistry.
The Mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain. Image Used by Permission.
NAD+ Declines as You Get Older, Making You More Vulnerable to Illness
Where does NAD+ come from, anyway? Ideally, NAD+ comes from NADH, which then gets re-oxidized, and NADH is formed as the by-product of aerobic respiration, namely, the result of the normal metabolic processes of the Krebs (citric acid) cycle—which breaks down carboxylic acids—and glycolysis—which breaks down glucose. Studies have demonstrated that NAD+ levels decline as we get older, resulting in increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases, including heart disease, fatty liver, insulin resistance, as well as a reduced capacity to deal with stress. However, the good news is that those same studies have also shown that if we replenish NAD+ levels by IV injection, these negative effects may be reduced, or even reversed!
Yes, But What EXACTLY Is NAD+?
Well, besides what we told you above, the chemical name of NAD+, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reveals that it is related to niacinamide and niacin, which are forms of Vitamin B3. That’s important, because we know that certain derivatives of niacinamide and niacin are biosynthetic precursors of NAD+. And both in the laboratory, as well as in clinical practice, we know that giving niacin and related compounds to patients has boosted lifespan as well as outcomes in key conditions like heart disease. But we believe that from looking at the evidence and from our experience, giving NAD+ directly by IV is far superior to giving a precursor of it such as niacin orally.
A Possible Role for NAD+ in the COVID Pandemic
One of the reasons that COVID-19 has proven to be so unpredictable and dangerous is the added risk it can cause among patients who are older, and/or who have certain pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and compromised immune systems. It turns out that, according to a recent study, another factor to consider may be NAD+ levels and a protein known as SIRT1(3). As detailed above, advancing age is correlated with decreasing NAD+ levels. NAD+ levels also are known to be reduced in conditions associated with stress, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
If a person is deficient in NAD+, that may be the deciding factor as to whether they progress to the so-called “hyperinflammatory phase” of COVID-19 or not—and that may mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, according to the paper, boosting NAD+ levels by administering IV NAD+—both as a preventative measure and in a therapeutic setting—could reduce the levels of the SARS-CoV2 virus, as well as reduce the chance of entering the dangerous hyperinflammatory phase, thus possibly mitigating the severity of the disease in vulnerable patient populations.
Why Should I Get My NAD+ From the IV Therapy Center of Beverly Hills?
When it comes to getting NAD+ into your body at the highest levels that your cells can use, taking NAD+ pills, capsules, or drinks don’t work: your body will break them down and render them worthless. NAD+ is not as stable as was once thought, so the only way to guarantee it gets delivered to all the cells in your body where it can do its essential work is by IV. And that’s exactly what we do when you come to the IV Therapy Center of Beverly Hills for an NAD+ infusion. You will get only pure NAD+, infused intravenously under hygieni protocols by our IV nurses, under the strict and demanding supervision of a physician. This is your assurance of quality, and our commitment to you to always meet and/or exceed the standard of care.