Save 10% on the PlatinumLED Biomax with code ALEX (limited time only)

Megadosing Nicotinamide Riboside Or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide: Dangerous Or Smart?

Whatever your goals in life, two benefits are almost universally appreciated by everyone: 1) having more energy and;  2) slowing down aging.

And whenever there's a compound that promises those two benefits, it will create a crazy hype in the health and biohacking community.

In this case, two compounds called "nicotinamide riboside" and "nicotinamide mononucleotide" created such interest due to their purported ability to achieve these benefits. 

Both compounds are different versions of vitamin B3 or "niacin". 

But due to the promised benefits, many people began taking does that are 50-300 times as high as the Recommended Daily Allowance.

The science on these compounds, however, is fairly recent and far from settled, and it's safe to question whether taking such huge doses is a smart thing to do. Additionally, you could question whether these compounds achieve what they promise.

So I decided to explore the justification behind these supplements. Does the hype live up to reality?

Let's find out!

 

Megadosing Nicotinamide Riboside Or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide: Dangerous Or Smart?

To start things off, let me give you my overview of this blog post:

  • I'll first consider the topic of NAD+. NAD, or "Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide", is a catalyst for enzymatic activity and is boosted by your niacin intake. As a result, NAD+ can increase the speed of biochemical reactions in the body. Due to NAD+ central role in the mitochondria - the energy-producing factories of your cells - it increases your body's energy levels. 
  • I'll then compare the different types of niacin. Many people believe that the newer forms of niacin - such as "nicotinamide riboside" and "nicotinamide mononucleotide" - have benefits that the types predominant in foods don't have. 
  • Next, I'll look at which different roles niacin plays in the body. It turns out vitamin B3 is important for far more functions than just energy production and your anti-aging goals. 
  • Subsequently, the benefits of higher NAD+ levels are considered and why you need to avoid low NAD+. These sections conclude that upping your NAD+ levels is a lofty goal.
  • I'll then talk about optimal niacin dosing through your diet. The outcome? By including some meats in your diet you assure that you've got sufficient niacin. Some plant foods, such as beans, are also a decent source. 
  • Next, I'll explore whether it's smart to supplement with  "nicotinamide riboside" (NR) and "nicotinamide mononucleotide" (NMN). Here I claim that using higher doses of these supplements may have benefits for your energy levels and aid in anti-aging.
  • If you do decide to supplement with (high) doses of any form of niacin, however, read my section on possible side-effects. Taking high doses of niacin changes your metabolism at a fundamental level, such as the way your body processes fatty acids and carbohydrates. Additionally, high niacin doses can sap your body of "methyl donors", which concerns single-carbon metabolism. Without explaining that concept in full detail here, know that you probably need to supplement with additional nutrients if you take high doses of niacin. The way most NR and NMN supplements are used today by most people almost certainly creates dangerous side-effects.
  • Lastly, I'll consider several lifestyle changes you can make to naturally increase your NAD+ levels
  • My conclusion is that Nicotinamide Riboside is a potentially great supplement if your lifestyle is already in order, while Nicotinamde Mononucleotide's benefits are mostly unproven right now. NR might have some additional benefits over and above the more regular niacin forms such as "nicotinamide" and "nicotinic acid" - which are found in high quantities in foods. NR is also found in foods but in very small quantities.
  • If you want to buy high-quality NR right now, click HERE. If you want a budget version of niacin, click HERE.

Want to know the full story?

Let's get started:

 

1. NAD+, Energy, And Anti-Aging: Theory And Practice

Before considering what NAD+ does and why it's important, let's take a quick detour. Again, NAD+ may help you slow aging and up your energy levels. The detour helps you understand the role of NAD+ later on:

Every complex biological organism on this planet is made up of billions if not trillions of cells. Cells are the "basic unit of account" that make up complex life.

One theory about the creation of life on this planet is that very simple cells like bacteria and Archaea "fused", which then allowed for a "division of labor" within each cell. Of course other theories exist on this subject, but let's, for now, run with this theory (1; 2).

The division of labor within a cell subsequently allowed for an excess of energy and more complex organisms to arise.

As a result, what makes a very complex human being and a very simple organism different is the co-existence of billions or trillions of cells, versus just a few. By many cells working together life could thus develop into ever more complex entities.

Every single organism and cell needs energy to exist (3; 4). In other words, without energy you would die very quickly. 

NAD+ comes in wherever energy plays a role. NAD+ is both central to energy production as well as cell signalling (5; 6; 7). Cell signalling is the "information" part of the equation as opposed to that of "energy" - "information" plays a lesser role in this blog post.

The problem is that NAD+ levels decline with age (8; 9). With age, those declining NAD+ levels also lead to a decline in energy production.

That decrease in energy production subsequently sets you up for many health conditions, such as diabetes, heart and blood vessel diseases, cancer, and problems with the nervous system (8; 9).

Lower NAD+ levels may also be one of the reasons why you're simply less "lively" once you're 80 or 90 years old.

Through niacin supplementation, anti-aging theories claim that increasing NAD+ levels may lower your risk for metabolic and neurodegenerative conditions, as well as increase your healthy lifespan - or "healthspan".

More daring claims make you believe that you can feel and behave like 18 or 25 again. While I'm only later considering whether that claim is true, let's first look at how such claims can be scrutinized. 

To understand NAD+, you need to learn about energy creation in the cell:

NAD+ And Your Mitochondria

Most kids in elementary school already know that you need both oxygen and food to survive. But what most adults don't even know, however, is that the oxygen and food are directly processed by your "mitochondria".

Mitochondria are the "energy-producing factories" of your cells--although they also fulfill other roles such as helping your immune system (10; 11; 12).

The consequence is that the better your mitochondria function, and the more mitochondria you have, the healthier you'll generally be.

The oxygen you're breathing and food that's broken down in the digestive system thus eventually ends up in your cells and is primarily processed by your mitochondria (13; 14). In plain English, when you're eating fats or carbohydrates, their carbon molecules are used to produce energy.

On the one hand, that process of breaking down is chemically and physically very complex and not even fully understood. On the other hand, what is known, is that NAD+ plays a vital role in that process of creating energy (15; 16; 17).

So once your NAD levels deteriorate, it's harder to stave off disease and to follow an exciting lifestyle. 

Declining NAD+ levels are thus one of the reasons why your grandmother needs to take afternoon naps. It's also the reason she doesn't go dancing in the middle of the night anymore. 

How NAD Is Produced From Niacin

NAD+ can be created from different sources, such as vitamin B3 as well as from proteins in your food. 

Proteins can be broken up into amino acids, and one of these amino acids can support your cells NAD+ levels. That amino acid is called "tryptophan" (18; 19).

Using these nutrients, NAD+ is produced in different parts of the body, such as (predominantly) the liver, your gut, small amounts in other organs, and in individual cells throughout the body (20; 21).

A currently predominant scientific theory holds that taking very high doses of either vitamin B3 or tryptophan will improve your body's NAD+ production, thereby lowering the effects aging has on your body.

The assumption, again, is that as a 70-year-old you'll return to your youthful energy levels.

NAD+ Deficiency And Aging

You may think: "but how do you exactly know for sure that lower NAD+ levels are the cause of aging?"

That's a great question.

Very strong evidence actually exists that NAD+ deficiency is directly responsible for some of the "side-effects" of aging, such as lower energy levels and metabolic disorders such as diabetes (22; 23; 24).

Boosting NAD+ sometimes also reverses the impact of the aging process. Furthermore, niacin is the most important way in which you can improve those NAD+ levels. So the next logical step is to look at different types of niacin you can take:

 

2. Different Niacin Types

There's no such thing as a "nutrient" - which is true for niacin as well. Just like different types of magnesium, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin K exist, the same is true for niacin.

In fact, four main niacin types can be found on the market today:

  1. Nicotinamide, mainly found in animal foods
  2. Nicotinic Acid, a predominantly plant-based niacin form
  3. Nicotinamide Riboside (such as Niagen), which is mainly used as a supplement but also found in milk
  4. Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, which is actually produced from nicotinamide and nicotinic acid

All of these are eventually converted into NAD+, albeit, all in different ways. Some of these types - such as nicotinic acid - require more intermediary biochemical steps to be converted while others are processed more straightforwardly.

Let's explore all four types below:

 

Nicotinamide

Again, nicotinamide is mainly animal food-based (76; 77). Nicotinamide is converted into NAD+ by requiring magnesium and ATP.

Most plant foods only contain a fifth to a tenth of the nicotinamide as animal foods do, and thus, animal foods are the best nicotinamide source.

Additionally, nicotinamide does not cause "flushing", the redness in the skin associated with taking high doses of "nicotinic acid", the next niacin form:

 

Nicotinic Acid

Nicotinic acid is the "plant-based" form of vitamin B3 (90; 91).

In the small intestine, the part of the digestive system that follows the stomach, that nicotinic acid is converted into nicotinamide. Hence, the predominantly plant form of vitamin B3 needs to be converted into the "animal form" to be used.

For that conversion process, additional nutrients such as potassium are required. Plant foods are generally a great potassium source, so there should be a problem for proper conversion.

So unlike carotenes, which are "plant versions of vitamin A" that are sometimes poorly converted by the human body into usable forms, the same is most likely not true for nicotinic acid.

 

Different subtypes of nicotinic acid also exist:

 

Immediate release (flush)

You may know of nicotinic acid from the Niacin detox protocol. I've extensively tested that protocol on myself as well.

"Niacin flush" means that you're experiencing (possible extreme) redness and blood flow in the skin.

Now, contrary to popular belief, the niacin flush is not fully benign. In fact, the niacin flush is an inflammatory reaction involving "prostaglandins" (97; 98; 99). That niacin flush can be blocked by taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, although that's generally not a smart thing to do.

And there's another reason why a niacin flush is not fully benign: 

The body binds excess nicotinamide to glycine if it cannot be converted into NAD+. If that process of binding to glycine fails, the body produces a "flushing response" (93). Glycine is yet another amino acid - a building block of protein.

Once you deplete that glycine, you'll lower your health. Most people also consume too little glycine because they don't include bone broth, gelatin, or collagen in their diets.

In general, there are no "positive gains" to be made by creating a massive niacin flush. Quite on the contrary, a niacin flush is probably a sign that you've taken too much of this vitamin and are now experiencing overdose symptoms.

Fortunately, science has developed "sustained" and "extended" release versions of niacin. Are these forms any better? Let's find out:

 

Sustained and extended-release

The sustained and extended-release forms of nicotinic acids do not produce a flush, simply because your methylation pathways of the body can more adequately process this niacin. 

"Niaspan" is an example of extended-release niacin.

Due to more adverse effects such as liver damage, extended-release versions may be even more dangerous. I think one reason for this outcome may be that the methylation pathways are not continually overloaded, leading to, paradoxically, better health outcomes.

The sustained release can be used though, although it's easy to overdo. In general, I recommend the flush "instant" version as safest, and the sustained version as a second option of nicotinic acid.

Don't use the extended-release. Next, there's the first niacin many use for anti-aging purposes (although regular niacins also help in that area):

 

Nicotinamide Riboside

Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) is one of the newest kids on the block (94). NR has received quite some attention in the biohacking and anti-aging circles.

In nature, NR is mostly found in tiny quantities in milk. But because you can buy this niacin version as an isolated compound online, it's now possible to take much more NR than you'll ever get from food.

This type of niacin has "ribose" added to it, from which the name is derived. 

NR mostly goes to the liver to create NAD+. Then the liver sends nicotinamide to the rest of the tissues. NR can be stored in the liver, unlike other forms such as NMN. For that reason, NR has the advantage of lowering the body's taxation of the methylation pathways.

NR gives a better NAD response than simple nicotinamide supplementation. Why? Again, excess NR is not immediately expelled like nicotinic acid, potentially creating more NAD+ in the liver.

What's interesting is that NR cannot into the brain, not even intravenously (through injection). Nicotinamide, on the contrary, can though. Almost all tissues can benefit from NR though, fortunately.

I'll state more the science of NR in a later section.

 

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is another supplemental niacin type that's gotten really popular.

Do good reasons exist for supplementing with this form though? Hardly: NMN isn't absorbed intact in the gastrointestinal tract, and is most likely converted straight into to nicotinic acid. (96).

Other, more recent studies, do show that NMN might be absorbed intact (95).

Most people use NMN because it is a more direct precursor to NAD+ than nicotinamide. The problem, however, is that some evidence currently exists that this compound is converted into NAD+ if taken orally.

NMN converts into NAD+ by adding a compound called "AMP" (95)

As with converting nicotinic acid, conversion of NMN into NAD+ requires magnesium and potassium. Supplements that don't contain enough magnesium won't therefore optimally work for boosting NAD+ (if you're magnesium deficient like so many people).

Sublingual Nicotinamide Mononucleotide

Many people online swear by using NMN under the tongue. Research on this topic is sparse, however. 

As of this time, I don't recommend this supplementation type - I'm not convinced that NMN can enter the cell directly in its specific form, so taking the compound under the tongue wouldn't solve the fundamental issue.

Let's lastly look at how niacin and it's downstream compound NAD+ create energy in your mitochondria:

 

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) And Anti-Aging

NAD+ is an electron acceptor, thereby easily gaining electrons from the food you eat. The carbon units from carbohydrates and fats can donate electrons which then help your mitochondria create energy.

Without electrons from food (or body fat), your body cannot survive long-term. Due to the specific role of NAD+ in energy creation, it plays a fundamental role in (preventing) the aging process.

Again, the more energy your body can process, the better it functions and the longer you'll stay young.

It's not just NAD+ that matters though--NAD+ relates to other compounds such as NADH and NADPH. 

I'll briefly mention NADH and NADPH here to show you that niacin does not just concern NAD+ creation. Niacin can thus have more far-reaching effects on your health than just boosting NAD+:

 

NADH

Niacin can also be converted into NADH. NADH is similar to NAD+ and just has a hydrogen molecule added to it, as well as two electrons.

The "+" sign regarding NAD+ means that it's an electron acceptor (i.e. NAD+ is oxidized). NADH has accepted these electrons and has become another compound in the process.

Just like NAD+, NADP also plays a role in the energy-producing process in your mitochondria. 

 

NADPH: 

NADPH is made from NAD+. Compared to NADH, NADPH has one added phosphate group. Some of the NADPH roles are:

  • Recycling nutrients such as folate and vitamin K (192; 193; 194). Without these nutrients, energy production is sub-par
  • Synthesize different compounds such as neurotransmitters (195). Neurotransmitters are important for feeling good and having good energy levels.
  • Antioxidant defense (196). Detoxification; recycles glutathione - glutathione is the main antioxidant in the body (197). Excessive "free radicals" probably contribute to aging and are part of the energy-creation system in the mitochondria. Antioxidants nullify this effect of free radicals.

NADPH is mostly responsible for anabolic processes. Anabolic processes build up tissues. NAD+ and NADH, on the contrary, are responsible for catabolic processes. Catabolism means breaking something down, and NAD+ and NADH help you break down the constituents of food in the mitochondria.

The big picture? Observe that NADH and NADPH are also involved with energy production and the aging process - and, again, are both created from niacin. 

So hopefully you now understand that NAD+ is not the only downstream substance affected by niacin, even though it's the most talked-about one. 

To gain a deeper understanding of NAD+, moreover, you also need to learn about the role of niacin in the human body:

 

3. Niacin Roles In The Body

In this section, I'll explain why niacin is essential to your health.

Being a vitamin, niacin or vitamin B3 needs to be consumed for you to live (long-term). Survival with less niacin in your diet is possible, but eventually, without niacin, you'll die.

And because vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, you need to consume it relatively frequently - on a daily basis if possible - because the vitamin cannot be stored like fat-soluble ones.

Niacin Functions

As you can see, niacin is quite important for many functions in the human body:

  • Skin health. The fact that niacin is truly essential for good skin health is illustrated by the health conditions associated with a niacin deficiency such as "Pellagra". Overall, consuming sufficient niacin may also slightly lower your risk for skin cancer (100; 101; 102). The reason for this relationship is that the skin requires much more NAD+ than other tissues because it's directly exposed to radiation from the sun. Directly applying niacin to the skin also has benefits its condition (104). Ance can be countered by applying niacin to the skin, for example.
  • Nutrient absorption (105; 106). Without niacin breaking down food becomes less efficient. The relationship between gut function, niacin, and NAD+ is interesting. Why? Well,  you need NAD+ for a (well-)functioning gut--a well-functioning gut, in turn, promotes niacin absorption. Gut function thus becomes a virtuous or vicious cycle for your niacin status.
  • Wellbeing and brain function. Niacin plays an intricate role in the development and maintenance of nervous system cells (107; 108). For this specific reason, some people claim their "brain works better" when they're on (higher doses) of niacin. The "NADPH" I've talked about before might be responsible for that effect as well, not just NAD+. Hence, niacin has many more effect than just "boosting your NAD+"
  • Repairs DNA. DNA damage is one of the mechanisms through which you age because you end up with more and more different DNA throughout your body over time. Niacin partially protects your body from that DNA damage (109; 110; 111; 112). 
  • Energy creation. Niacin supports "redox reactions". Redox reactions is the process of losing and gaining electrons. The derivatives of niacin such as NAD+ and NADH help you easily gain and lose these electrons, explaining their fundamental role in the human body's energy production. (113; 114).
  • Promotes organ health such as that of your heart. Several mechanisms can be found for improving heart health through niacin, such as lowering triglycerides and certain types of LDL cholesterol (115; 116; 117). Some recent studies have begun to question this conclusion, in favor of statin use, but I disagree there (118; 119).
  • Indigestion and diarrhea. Remember that your gut needs niacin to properly break down food--an existing deficiency can thus exacerbate the problem because you're not breaking down new food that supplies you the much-needed niacin.
  • Quick(er) sunburn recovery. Your skin needs niacin for DNA repair (136; 137). Sunlight usually exposes your body to ultraviolet light, which is "ionizing radiation". Ionizing radiation can "pull off" electrons off molecules or atoms, and thus also influence DNA.

Of course, as I've already mentioned when talking about the niacin flush and methyl group depletion, more niacin is not necessarily better.

So let's also look at a few other possible side-effects resulting from too much niacin:

Possible Side-Effects Of Excess Niacin:

  • Diabetes and poorer glucose tolerance. Niacin fundamentally alters your metabolism by first preventing the release of "free fatty acids" into the bloodstream, massively rebounding after a couple of hours. 1 in ~40 people will literally develop diabetes if they use high doses of niacin for 3-4 years (120)! The reason for that outcome is that niacin fundamentally alters your glucose and fat metabolism (121; 122). The diabetes risk and glucose intolerance are not "gloom and doom" or "fear-mongering" - several independent studies show these effects (123; 124; 125; 126).
  • Liver health - possible liver failure (129; 130; 131). Recall that taking higher levels of niacin can deplete methyl groups. Methyl groups are carbon units that attach to an atom of sulfur or oxygen, instead of the more regular hydrogen. The sustained release version of niacin is more dangerous to the liver, perhaps because methyl groups keep on depleting for longer periods of time without switching on the (also bad) inflammatory (prostaglandin) response (127; 128). Nonetheless, with normal use, liver health may be improved through niacin. Fatty liver disease, which is really common nowadays, can be reversed with sufficiently-dosed niacin (129130). Moreover, creatine, glycine, and choline (from food) are some of the best sources for supplementing your methylation pathways to prevent these side-effects.
  • Depression, schizophrenia, and other mental issues depending on the context. The probable cause for this effect are once again the loss of methyl groups such as creatine, which can translate into low neurotransmitter status. Neurotransmitters are brain signaling substances such as "serotonin" and "dopamine"--without them, you'll feel bad. Methylation dysfunction, moreover, is strongly associated with mental problems (131; 132; 133). Anxiety may also increase with niacin, although the vitamin can also achieve the opposite effect (depending on the context) (134; 135). 
  • Low energy levels, fatigue, exercise intolerance. Same reason as above.
  • Higher homocysteine levels. Similar once again. Homocysteine is an amino acid but shouldn't be present in the bloodstream in high quantities (138; 139; 140).
  • An increase in allergy intensity. High levels of niacin can promote "histamine" levels, a hormone and neurotransmitter (brain signaling compound) that's closely associated with allergic reactions (149)

As you can see, taking 5,000 milligrams of niacin each day instead of 50 milligrams (which already exceeds the Daily Recommended Allowance significantly, is not always a smart move.

You cannot supplement with high niacin doses blindly. More is not (always) better.

If you are going to use higher niacin dosages for long periods of time, you'd better be sure to know what you're doing. 

Of course, less is not better either:

Signs Of Niacin Deficiency 

Pellagra - a skin condition among others - is one of the most important symptoms of niacin deficiency. With Pellagra, sunlight exposure becomes really problematic because NAD+ cannot protect you against the DNA damage of the ultraviolet light.

If you don't get lots of sunlight exposure, however, the skin symptoms may not appear while you still suffer from the metabolic and neurodegenerative problems (78).

The condition may also be underdiagnose, especially in the developing world (82; 83).

With less severe niacin deficiency, you can get mental health issues, psychiatric problems, low energy, trouble losing fat, an inability to tolerate cold, and more. Niacin deficiency is no fun, although it's also (very) rare in developed countries today.

In a later section, I'll tell you why most people actually have decent niacin status. 

And now that you understand the role of niacin, let's look at the benefits of optimizing your NAD+ levels:

 

 

4. Benefits Of Higher NAD+ Levels

I'm this section I'll specifically look at why you want higher NAD+ levels.

Recall that many people are taking high NMN and NR doses for the specific purpose of boosting NAD+.

Higher NAD+ levels-  accomplished through supplementing with niacin (in different forms) - has the following benefits: 

  • Slow down aging.

    Several mechanisms may exist for this effect. Specifically, NAD+ may preserve both DNA structure as well as mitochondrial function (25; 26).

    NAD+ also affects what are called "sirtuins" (27; 28; 29). The decreasing availability with age lowers sirtuin activity. In turn, that lowered sirtuin activity influences the communication between the center of your cells (the nucleus) and your mitochondria, and also between individual cells and your brain.

    In fact, sirtuins can also turn off several aging processes so you'll want to optimize their function (30; 31).

    Sirtuins can limit excessive growth (which is unnecessary once you've become an adult), reduce excess body fat by regulating a hormone called "leptin" (being overweight causes faster aging), and helps optimize your vitamin D levels (which influences the genes turned on/off in your body)  (32; 33; 34; 35).

    Additionally, these sirtuins help maintain the length of your telomeres (36; 37). Telomeres are caps on the end of your DNA, which allow for further cell division. Once your telomeres become very short, cells can no longer divide.

    Then there are "PPARs" which influence systemic inflammation levels - and which are affected by NAD+ (38; 39; 40). Chronic inflammation underlies many complex health conditions such as heart disease and cancer, and PPARs can help there.

    By no means do I want to imply that aging is exclusively an issue of lower NAD+ levels, however.

    Many variables influence aging, such increasing differences in the DNA of your mitochondria throughout your body with, the damage of repair processes of cells over time and a decreased ability for deep sleep play a role in the aging process.

    However, NAD+ does affect many significant variables that influence aging, and you'll thus want to keep your levels high(er).

  • Higher energy levels.

    Remember that your mitochondria are responsible for most of the energy created in your cells. And your cells are the basic units making up the human body. Better functioning mitochondria thus entails higher energy levels.

    Just like your body cannot function without oxygen for a few minutes, the same is true for NAD+.

    Although very complex, just look at the many steps of the process of energy creation in the mitochondria are dependent on NAD+:


    (CC BY-SA 3.0 Copyright License. File: Citric acid cycle with aconitate 2.svg. Created on October 2008. Image compressed and converted to JPG.)


    Observe that even the very first step in the process, that from Pyruvate to Acetyl-CoA depends on NAD+. Without NAD+ your body can thus literally not create energy and you'll quickly die. 

    Higher NAD+ levels are also better, up to a certain point, because they support your energy levels (41; 42; 43). Perhaps in the future, athletes will use high NR doses to further boost their energy.

  • Circadian rhythm

    The "circadian rhythm" is a favorite health-related area for me - I've extensively written about this topic in the past.

    That circadian rhythm is a ~24-hour cycle in your body that is mainly dependent on the light in your environment. That circadian rhythm influences the processes that should be activated during the daytime and night in all your body's cells (44; 45).

    The "SIRT" and "PPAR" processes I've talked about before are dependent on NAD+, but your circadian rhythm is as well (46; 47; 48).

    Your circadian rhythm also controls NAD+ levels, in turn, so staying up late at night in bright light is detrimental to your energy levels (4950).

  • Organ function

    Preliminary evidence -  mostly based on animal studies - suggests that NAD+ is essential for organ function (51; 52; 53).

    In theory, for instance, several heart health domains could be treated with NAD+, such as normalization of your heart rhythm, re-modeling of (damaged) heart tissue, or improving the heart's blood supply.

    Kidney health is also promoted, just as (potentially) that of your brain (54; 55; 56). Due to NAD+'s central role in energy creation, and energy being a necessary precondition for proper organ function, that connection is not surprising.

  • Potential additional weight loss

    Remember when you were 20 and just walking up the stairs helped the pounds come flying off?

    Assuming that obesity is a metabolic disorder - for which proper arguments can be given - higher NAD+ levels will allow you to burn more body fat (57; 58). Recall the picture listed above on the Krebs cycle: without NAD+, many of the carbons and oxygen molecules cannot be used.

    As a result, using fewer oxygen and carbon molecules translates into burning less body fat over time - although this inference is mostly theoretical based on the currently published science.

    Yet, a strong case can be made that losing body fat without high NAD+ levels is impossible because you can never burn off the energy in the first place.

  • Breaking down food to maintain metabolism

    NAD+ is not used in your body's cells but also in your gut. Simply put, you need NAD+ to break down food in the first place (59; 60).

    And while the effect has only been studied in animals, inhibiting NAD+ in young mice causes maldigestion and improving NAD+ levels in old mice (through supplementation) achieves the opposite effect.

    Optimal NAD+ levels thus mean you'll get more out of your food!

 

As you can see, many reasons exist why you would want to boost your NAD+ levels. It's thus not weird that people are supplementing with variations of niacin to improve their NAD+ levels.

Nice huh?!

 
Young chickens at my farm: these have very high NAD+ levels because they're young, leading to years of successful foraging!

Let's next take a look at why you'll want to avoid low NAD+ levels. One last section of doom and gloom:

 

5. Why You Want To Avoid Low NAD+

The end result of having low NAD+ levels are naturally the opposite of having higher levels. So let's look at what happens if you've got lower NAD+ levels in your mitochondria:

(I won't cover these topics in extreme detail because they're basically the opposite state of having high NAD+ levels.)

  • Quicker aging.

    During aging NAD+ levels generally decline (8; 61). Lower NAD+ levels lead to lower sirtuin activity, which I spoke of earlier.

    Sirtuins, in turn, play a specific role in the anti-aging process (62; 63; 64). So in this sense, aging is a positive feedback loop.

    Low NAD+ may thus create even lower NAD+ levels over time.

  • Lower energy levels.

    This one is simple: as NAD+ is directly responsible for energy production in the mitochondria, lower levels will leave you fatigued (414243).

    In conditions associated with poor mitochondrial function, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, using supplements to increase NAD+ lowers fatigue (65). Hence, that fatigue is probably (partially) caused by lower NAD+ levels. That conclusion is consistent with most of the research as well.

  • Harder time losing weight.

    NAD+ affects sirtuins, and sirtuins affect how your body processes fats and carbohydrates (66; 67; 68).

    Less NAD+ means that fewer carbons and electrons can be transferred through your mitochondria - and thus entail less fat loss.

  • Greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Just like NAD+ may improve the condition of your heart and blood vessels, and absence may contribute to their downfall (51; 53).

    In animal studies, for instance, NAD levels are lower after a heart attack (69). Supplementing with NAD+ can also sometimes compensates for genetic defects that increase your risk for heart disease (70).

  • Risk for other disease, such as Pellagra

    This risk is pretty self-evident, as I've already treated this disease in the niacin section.

    What's more interesting (or scary), however, is that Pellagra is associated with many, many other health conditions. With Pellagra, you're at greater risk for improper development of the nervous system, metabolic conditions, and quicker aging (71).

    Low niacin and thus low NAD+ can thus lead to many disorders.

    That claim leads me to the next domain:

  • An overall risk of getting diseased.

    Not only organ function is affected by NAD+, but your risk for nervous system diseases such as MS and Parkinson is also influenced (72).

    The reverse is also true: improving low NAD+ levels can reverse diseases, making the inference likely that the low levels are a causal factor (73).

    Even infections are affected by low NAD+ levels, as these pathogens may "feast" on your NAD+. Paradoxically, being underfed can sometimes protect you against these pathogens because they cannot survive with sufficient NAD+.

  • Sunlight intolerance

    I've talked about this one before. Cannot stay in the afternoon sun for more than 5 minutes? Instead of having a "solar allergy", you may simply be deficient in NAD+ precursors such as niacin (74; 75).

Now that you understand the basics regarding both niacin and the effects of low and high NAD+, let's look at getting your niacin needs met through food.

And if you want to skip the food section, then the next 7th section considers the topic of supplements.
 

 

6. Meeting Your Niacin Needs Through Diet

In the next section, I'll briefly talk about getting your niacin through food.

The upside is that most people get adequate niacin from their diets to prevent a deficiency. The downside is that food is never going to supply the levels of NMN or NR that you find in most supplements.

To be clear: it's easy to consume 20 milligrams of niacin through food on a day, or even 50 milligrams. Consuming 2,500 milligrams through food alone, however, is impossible.

This section thus also helps you understand that what most people do with NMN or NR supplements is unprecedented.

By taking 250 milligrams of NR, you're not just supplementing but you're taking supra-physiological doses (doses much greater than normally found in the body) that cannot be recreated through a diet.

So let's look at the best niacin-rich foods out there.

 

Best Niacin Foods

Below I've listed the top 50 foods that are high in niacin. A few pointers though:

  • I've removed choices that can be considered unhealthy. Skipjack tuna is the best source of niacin currently known, for instance, with 18+ milligrams of niacin per 100 gram of product. The problem with tuna, however, is that it's high on the food chain and almost always has accumulated heavy metals which are toxic to your health.
  • I've also excluded foods that are not consumed in high quantities. Ginger contains 9.62 milligrams of niacin per 100 grams, but nobody consumes 100 grams of that product per day.
  • Next, foods that are not widely available throughout the world, such as yellowtail fish or swordfish, have not been included either. Additionally, only fresh foods have been included - some dehydrated foods are much higher in niacin content, for instance, because their water weight is removed.
  • Lastly, the maximum values were picked. So if two lamb products were listed, at 7.92 and 7.50 milligrams per 100 gram of product, the first one was listed.

So without further ado, the top-50 list of best niacin food sources, per 100 grams (3.4 oz) of food (141):

  1. Turkey meat: 11.75 milligrams (mg)
  2. Ground pork: 11.05 mg
  3. Game meat: 10.75 mg
  4. Lean beef: 9.21 mg
  5. Chicken meat: 8.99 mg
  6. Salmon: 8.53 mg
  7. Lamb: 7.92 mg
  8. Bison: 6.69 mg
  9. Trout: 6.65 mg
  10. Mashed potatoes: 6.26 mg
  11. Grilled portabella mushrooms: 6.25 mg
  12. American cheese: 5.56 mg
  13. Lobster: 4.90 mg
  14. Raw chantarelle mushrooms: 4.08 mg
  15. Pickled Atlantic herring: 3.30 mg
  16. Peas: 3.09 mg
  17. Kidney beans: 2.92 mg
  18. Crab: 2.88 mg
  19. Octopus: 2.10 mg
  20. Baked sweet potato with skin: 1.49 mg
  21. Canned tomato puree: 1.47 mg
  22. Cowpeas: 1.45 mg
  23. Broccoli: 1.22 mg
  24. Lima beans: 1.19 mg
  25. Raw kale: 1.18 mg
  26. Sweet corn: 1.17 mg
  27. Pokeberry: 1.12 mg
  28. Potatoes: 1.06 mg
  29. Lima beans: 1.04 mg
  30. Blue cheese: 1.02 mg
  31. Feta cheese: 0.99 mg
  32. Carrots: 0.98 mg
  33. Brussel sprouts: 0.74
  34. Cauliflower: 0.73 mg
  35. Spinach: 0.72 mg
  36. Garlic: 0.70 mg
  37. Collard greens: 0.64 mg
  38. Camembert cheese: 0.62 mg
  39. Winter squash: 0.56 mg
  40. Cabbage: 0.40 mg
  41. Chicory roots: 0.40 mg
  42. Endive: 0.40 mg
  43. Beets: 0.40 mg
  44. Snap beans: 0.38 mg
  45. Celery: 0.37 mg
  46. Radishes: 0.25 mg
  47. Parmesan cheese: 0.20 mg
  48. Onions: 0.17 mg
  49. Ricotta cheese: 0.14 mg
  50. Low fat cottage cheese: 0.13 mg

Notes:

  • I've not given the list above to exhaustively show you how much niacin can be found in each food. Instead, the list should give you a general impression of how niacin is distributed throughout different foods.
  • Meats and fish, for instance, generally contain between 4 and 10 milligrams of niacin per 100-gram product and are the best niacin source.
  • Beans and mushrooms are very good niacin sources as well.
  • Cheese can be a great source of niacin, although some cheeses contain low levels
  • Greens are a generally decent source of niacin, but cannot be relied on alone to get your daily dose.
  • Spices contain 2 - 15 milligrams of niacin per 100-gram product, and generally, are a great addition to your meals. If you use a lot of spices, they help your niacin status--but I'm not assuming you do so I've not included spices above.
  • Coffee is an amazing niacin source, with 10 milligrams per 100 milliliters of product (144). With darker roasts, the niacin level increases.
  • Refined grains only have high niacin levels when niacin is added to them. In the US, for instance, processed (white) grains are mandated to have vitamin B3 added to them.

Worst Niacin Foods

Next, let's consider the foods that have the worst niacin levels: 

  • Refined grains and white rice are generally very poor niacin sources if with no niacin is added back in (143).
  • Corn is also low in niacin and is traditionally very problematic (142)
  • Pure sugars or pure fats, such as butter, or honey, or olive oil, are all extremely poor niacin sources. I'm not saying these foods don't have health benefits--what I'm arguing instead is that if you rely on large quantities of them, such as during a keto diet, you'll need more niacin from other food sources.

In most plant foods, niacin is only available with proper preparation. This topic ventures beyond the scope of what I'm trying to achieve in this blog post, but, you can generally assume that niacin only becomes fully available with soaking/fermenting/sprouting.

No need to worry though if you eat some meat. 

(Want to learn more about why eating meat is healthy? Read my blog post on why vegetarian and vegan diets end up in disaster).


Smoked BBQ brisket: heavenly taste and great niacin source - 
for boosting my NAD+ levels, of course ;)

 

Daily Recommended Allowance (RDA).

The Daily Recommended Allowance for niacin is about 15 milligrams, but indications exist that this number is too low on a relative basis - especially for women (84; 85). With certain conditions and genetic mutations, you may also need more niacin (86; 87; 88).

Fortunately, 3.4 ounces (100 grams) of red meat, pork, or fowl already supplies 10 milligrams of nicotinamide, making it nearly impossible to under-consume. Consuming 4-8 ounces of meats each day alone will thus ensure that you're getting sufficient niacin through your diet.

In the US, most men consume 28 milligrams of niacin each day while women get 18 milligrams (145). Refined grains that are fortified with niacin do heavily contribute in that case though.

If you want a more precise calculation then use the following: it's recommended to consume about 1.6 milligrams of niacin per 250 kcal each day (146). More precise calculation exist as well, but because most people are not niacin deficient, I'll move to the next topic.

Additionally, there's another method to up your niacin intake:

 

Creating Niacin From Protein (Tryptophan)

Breaking down protein into niacin is possible by breaking down an "amino acid" called "tryptophan 'from your food.

Amino acids are building blocks of proteins. The possibility to convert niacin from protein is only possible if you've got an excess of protein in your diet though.

So if you're not eating much protein, or if you're working construction all day and need protein for recovery, very little if any tryptophan is going to be converted into niacin (89).

If you've got a desk job and you're eating 150 grams of protein a day at a 70 kilogram (~155 pounds) body weight, however, your protein intake will contribute to your niacin intake.

The process of converting tryptophan into niacin is more metabolically expensive though, and requires more other nutrients in your diet to be allocated towards niacin production. So if possible, it's best to get niacin directly through your food.

 

Variables Affecting Niacin Levels

Niacin needs are not the same for everyone. In certain circumstances, you can expect your needs to be higher. Examples are if you're:

  • getting tons of sunlight exposure. Recall that sunlight causes some DNA damage in your skin (even though the health benefits outweigh the downsides). That DNA needs to be repaired, and NAD+ is necessary for that process. You thus need more niacin if you're in the sun for a couple of hours a day (147; 148)
  • deficient in riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, or other minerals that are needed to convert niacin into NAD+ such as magnesium. Nicotinamide cannot be converted into NAD+ without sufficient magnesium, and up to 80% of people are magnesium deficient in today's society. Read my guide on magnesium for a quick and easy fix - no excuses! Eat liver once a week for vitamin B2.
  • exercising very heavily. Recall that protein, specifically the amino acid "tryptophan", can be converted into naicin. If your protein intake is fully diverted to (re)building your muscles, however, tryptophan cannot supply vitamin B3 to your body.
  • Anything related to DNA repair or stress, such as circadian mismatches or chronic psychological stress, or disease, all affect niacin status.

Currently, there are no very precise lab tests for niacin status on the market.

(If you're interested, an organic acid test or methylated niacin may both give independent information that can be useful about your status).

A better idea than lab tests? Have a good animal protein intake for both niacin and tryptophan, which is really easy.

The next step is to look at how taking high niacin doses (250 - 5,000 milligrams) affect your body's physiology:

 

7. Supplementing (Or Megadosing) With Nicotinamide Riboside Or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide: Anti-Aging Miracle Or Potential Disaster?

The moment you've been waiting for: supplementing with high doses of niacin, such as nicotinamide riboside (NR) or nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN).

So let's get started and look at the science of NAD+ boosters. 

I'll look at the specific benefits of different types of niacin, and their potency for exhibiting anti-aging benefits as well as improving your energy levels. Below I've listed the effects of these NAD+ boosters according to different studies:

 

Nicotinamide Riboside Benefits

Let's start with the benefits of NR:

  • Taking 2 * 250 milligrams of nicotinamide riboside does improve NAD+ levels if you're middle-aged and elderly adults (155). No serious side-effects are present, and even consumption for longer periods of time seems to have benefits. Rat studies also show an NAD+ boosting effect (165).
  • Another study in older adults, NR increased NADH and NADPH more than they did in young people (156). As a result of NR, antioxidant status such as that of "glutathione" also improved. Hence, if you're older, you'll probably benefit more from NR supplementation than if you're 18.
  • In healthy humans, 250 - 1,000 milligrams of NR also lead to higher NAD+ levels (170). Another study, which was of lower-quality, showed the same (174). Hence, even if you're 18, you may get some benefit.
  • When compared to nicotinamide and nicotinic acid, NR seems to have superior effects in boosting NAD+ (161). Both human and rat studies show that difference.
  • In animal studies, NR may boost the way your body handles glucose and helpt hem lose fat (172). More on this topic in a second. Another animal study shows benefits for Alzheimer's, helping restore cognition (173).
  • NR may boost stem cell activity in your blood (162). Stem cells are primordial cells that can subdivide into cells with a specific function, such as brain cells or muscle cells.
  • In some animal studies, NR protects the liver (166; 167). NR also protects metabolic health and helps burn body fat - in animal studies (166; 168). NR can even protect against liver injury from drinking too much alcohol--but don't try this at home (169).

The upside: nicotinamide riboside is clearly doing something in the body.

So despite the relative lack of research on this compound, it may be a good tool to boost NAD+ levels.

Again, NR is mainly found in milk (but yeast and beer are more uncommonly consumed sources) (171). Higher levels of NR can only be consumed through supplements, and although the compound is similar to nicotinamide, it probably has superior effects.

 

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) Benefits

First of all, very few (high-quality) NMN studies are currently published.

Most of the published studies concern animals--I haven't found any in humans. Whether NMN works thus remains to be seen.

Questions also exist whether NMN can enter cells intact. If not, NMN would boost NAD+ levels only indirectly, and not as NMN but as a different compound (probably another niacin form). 

And yet, looking at reviews online, the effects of NMN on overall health are very promising. Let's thus look at a few studies in relation to NMN: 

  • Supplementing aged mice with NMN partially restores blood vessel health and does increase NAD+ (175).
  • Overall, physiological decline is also averted by NMN in older mice (176). All kinds of benefits are found, such as "suppressed age-associated body weight gain, enhanced energy metabolism, promoted physical activity, improved insulin sensitivity and plasma lipid profile, and ameliorated eye function and other pathophysiologies" are touted. Other studies also show that NMN affects sirtuin functioning - showing that NMN does do something (179).
  • During pregnancy in mice, NMN lowers the risk of maternal obesity for the offspring (177).
  • NMN lowers oxidative stress - which is interrelated with aging - and improve blood vessel health in rats (178). NMN also protects heart health (180)

The bottom line is that NMN:

  • probably has an effect on physiology
  • is almost certainly not absorbed as "NMN", and is converted in other compounds that act on NAD+. One theory is that NMN converts into nicotinamide riboside (NR), and finally, nicotinamide (181)
  • doesn't have any scientific backing in human beings. For now, I'm steering clear from recommending this (expensive) compound.

Hence, I do not recommend using nicotinamide mononucleotide as of right now, and prefer nicotinamide riboside.

(Potential) Side Effects Of Nicotinamide Riboside And Nicotinamide Mononucleotide

Then, there are possible side-effects of using higher doses of NAD+ promoters such as NR and NMN:

  • As stated before, taking higher doses of vitamin B3 to boost your NAD+ levels can place higher demands on your methylation cycle. There are two main pathways in the human body that help convert vitamin B3 into NAD+. The first one, found in the liver, handles about 30-50 milligrams of niacin per hour (157; 158). These pathways are called 1) NR kinase pathway and; 2) the salvage pathway. Once the first is overloaded, the second is activated. Once the second is activated, methylation potentially becomes a problem. Understand that because you're only getting 20-40 milligrams through food normally, that second pathway is hardly taxed with normal niacin use.
  • If your methylation pathways are taxed very heavily, you'll need higher amounts of nutrients, such as glycine from food, creatine, tri-methyl-glycine (TMG), choline (food sources are best), vitamins B2, B9, and B12 (159; 160). Again, not supplying these nutrients can cause depression, liver failure, low energy levels, and many other problems in the long run. The aforementioned nutrients are "methyl donors" that will keep your methylation pathways functioning.
  • Little current evidence exists that boosting your NAD+ through niacin supplementation yields any long-term results. What's also unknown is whether negative feedback loops may exist that lower your results with niacin over time -- although such loops have not been detected. Some negative feedback loops are known in relation to niacin though: many people feel the "niacin flush" much less intensely after a period of time, for instance. The same could theoretically be true for the NAD+ boosting effects of niacin.
  • Remember the possible negative side-effects niacin can have on your glucose and fatty acid metabolism (121122)? For that reason alone, it's best to use higher doses of NMN or NR away from meals. Quickly after taking (short-acting) niacin, your body will have a problem processing fatty acids. A few hours after that period, carbohydrates are almost certainly the problem. The reason for that effect is that niacin first stops the release of "free fatty acids" into the bloodstream, but releases a lot of them after a few hours. If you use niacin in combination with a sauna, make sure to take the supplement a couple of hours beforehand.
  • Beware that not all studies show health benefits in healthy populations--some rat show deteriorating health with high doses of NR (163). 
  • Some human studies also show no effect of supplementing with NR for heart health and preventing diabetes (164).

 

The list of potential side-effects of supplementing with NMN and NR should steer 90%+ people away from taking large 250 - 5,000 milligram daily doses. These compounds are not benign.

This also supports the conclusion from the NeuroHacker formulators who decided not to include high doses of NR or NMN in their new anti-aging and anti-stress formula Eternus.

Their statement on the topic reads: (You can read the full statement on their website HERE)

Nicotinamide riboside and nicotinamide mononucleotide are newer (and very expensive) dietary ingredients used to boost NAD+. The niacin equivalents—niacin (nicotinic acid; NA) and niacinamide (NAM)—boost NAD+. L-tryptophan is also a precursor for NAD+. We included both NA and NAM, as well as L-tryptophan in our Eternus formula, because these ingredients can be used to make NAD+ and this approach supports three different ways of making it. Redundancy is a core value within complex systems science and something we look for when formulating our products.

But what if you do want to take a niacin supplement, and in particular a higher dose of niacin? What is the best form to take? 

The Best Niacin Supplement

Right now, the best supplements seem nicotinic acid (NA), niacinamide (NAM), and nicotinamide riboside (NR). 

Much more research is needed to find the true standout of the three. 

Some indications exist that NR is more easily stored in the liver, without needing immediate conversion into NAD+ or to be excreted.

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) looks like a different version that may or may not be able to deliver good results, despite its high price. 

I'm leaning slightly towards NR at this point, although much more research is needed and all forms do look promising.

 

 

How To Use High Doses Of Nicotinamide Riboside Or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide

If you do decide to use these niacin forms, especially the nicotinamide riboside which may have the biggest potential benefits, I recommend following this strategy:

  • Use a maximum of 250mg twice per day, because more than that and I'm afraid you'll sap your methyl groups. Reading the current research, I'm not sure yet whether 500 - 5,000 milligrams per day is useful.
  • The best option? If you take a dose of niacin, make sure you're not eating 4-6 hours after that dose. If you're intermittent fasting, niacin can thus be used during the period in which you're not eating.
  • If you cannot fast for a few hours a day, you've got bigger problems than your niacin status!
  • Cycle the compound, taking time off once in a while. There's no evidence out there yet on whether cycling or continuous use is superior though - this advice is just to help you be careful.

There's one more option I want to mention in this blog post though: 

 

Injecting NAD+

Some people have now been injecting NAD+ directly into the bloodstream. Just to be clear, these people are not injecting niacin into the bloodstream but NAD+.

You can watch a video of Ben Greenfield doing so right HERE. The process is quite burdensome and can actually be somewhat painful.

The reason is that injecting NAD+ directly into the bloodstream may activate the immune response. Extracellular NAD+ may function as a sign of stress, and thus, might not or won't have the benefits of improving NAD+ levels through regular food or supplementation.

Additionally, no studies have currently been published on the effects of injecting NAD+.

And even if such studies were published, however, the long-term consequences of that action would be unknown.

There's thus no way to know whether injecting NAD+ contributes to your health, or detracts from it - and such knowledge is not expected to be available in the next few decades either.

Moreover, in the past, strategies that use great amounts of a certain nutrient - called "supraphysiological doses" - have been sub-par in their results. Very high doses of vitamin C don't make your immune system work any more efficiently, for instance, and taking lots of antioxidants can even detract from your health because they impede your workout gains (150; 151; 152; 153; 154).

In other words, directly injecting NAD+ into your blood may have unintended consequences that science is currently unaware of. I, therefore, do not suggest you inject yourself with NAD+ as of right now. And if you decide to do so, always consult a physician. 

So now that injections are out of the window, let's look at the best supplement:

 

The Best Supplement For Boosting NAD+

So, want to take supplements to boost your NAD+? In that case, you might as well take the best on the market:


Tru Niagen Nicotinamide Riboside

 

The company selling that NR is very reputable and 500+ reviews are almost all happy with the product. Of course, NR is pricey, but that's the price you pay for cutting-edge technology. 

 

Another option is NeuroHackers 'Eternus'. The tagline of this supplement reads 'Supports cell energy for better aging'.

Though the formulation of this supplement is not focused soley on niacin (it does contain 100mg of niacinamide and 25mg of nicotinic acid per serve), it does also contain a range of ingredients that are supportive of increasing NAD+. 

I have not used Eternus for long enough share include personal experiences, but I have had great results with their cognitive boosting formula Qualia Mind (read more about that HERE) so I am confident that this new product will work well.

Like Niagen, Eternus is a premium product and not for everyone (though discount code FERGUS will knock 15% off the price) but if someone is looking for an anti-aging supplement that doesn't soley relay on niacin then it is worth considering.

 

If you're on a tight budget and want to boost your NAD+ levels anyway, I recommend a pure niacinamide powder (though make sure you purchase some micro-scales and be very careful with your measurements!)

Niacinamide Powder

 

Again, make sure to apply all the strategies in this blog post to make sure you're using higher doses of niacin safely.

If you're not replenishing methyl donors, you can expect side-effects after some time of use - as many reviews on the internet attest to.

Additionally, recall that high doses of niacin have not been studied in great detail yet, especially the long-term effects. What effects are to be expected cannot be conclusively be told yet.

Want another option than supplementing? In that case, let's look at a few strategies you can employ to naturally improve your NAD+ levels:

 

8. Lifestyle Strategies To Increase NAD+

Who would have thought that lifestyle strategies have a huge impact on your NAD+ levels? let's look at a few areas:

  • Proper breathing (182; 183). If you're breathing improperly, your NAD+ levels are probably going to be lower. The goal is to breathe through your nose 24-7 unless you're talking. No mouth breathing allowed. Start with taping your mouth at night (seriously!)
  • Exercise. Very simple once again: there's strong evidence that exercise at the right intensity can keep your NAD+ levels high while you age (184; 185; 186; 187). If you'd like to learn more, read my blogs on Body By Science 20 minute workouts, or Neuromass that's based on the same principles. Exercise shouldn't cost you 10 hours per week!
  • Avoiding pathogens. Several pathogens can "steal" your body's NAD levels (80; 81). If you're sick you may thus require higher NAD+ levels.
  • Fasting (188; 189; 190). While I'm no fan anymore of longer periods of fasting, because of the potential metabolic damage, fasting does seem to be an intervention that increases NAD+ levels. Read about my experience with extended fasting HERE.
  • Avoid toxin exposure. Breathe clean air and be careful with any substance you use indoors. Some evidence suggests that breathing in "particulate matter" - tiny particles that are subsumed in the air if there's pollution - lowers NAD+ levels (191). Read my blog on air pollution to learn more about this topic.
  • Manage your circadian rhythm (4950). If you're partying until 4 AM, your NAD+ levels will take a hit. If you don't get morning sunlight, the same is probably true!

As you can see, lifestyle interventions will almost certainly increase your NAD+ levels. So if you're living in a polluted city, you don't exercise a few times a month, and you don't breathe properly, then there's no reason to take nicotinamide riboside or nicotinic acid.

Get your lifestyle in order first, and only then supplement.


Still my favorite way to boost NAD+ levels. Follow me on Instagram by the way.

 

9. Finishing Thoughts: Forever Young And Energetic - Pipe Dream Or Soon Reality?

Contrary to my initial expectations, there is "something to" high doses of niacin.

Many studies investigating forms of niacin such as nicotinamide riboside look promising in the results they get.

And yet, I'm not yet willing to recommend full-blown supplementation with this compound, especially if your lifestyle is not yet in order.

If you're living in a city with lots of air pollution, not exercising, eating poorly, and not sleeping well, you probably need to steer clear from supplementing with NMN or NR. In that case, you're just missing the elephant int he room.

And yet, with many studies coming out on this topic in the last few years, I do think the coming decades will be very promising with regard to niacin.

Some of the top-notch anti-aging researchers in the world, such as David Sinclair -- who brought the compound "resveratrol" into the public consciousness more than a decade ago -- is very much into promoting the role of NAD+ now.

And yet, you should be wary of too much hype around anti-aging promises. The resveratrol supplement he promoted as adding decades to your life 10 years ago has turned out a meager compound that perhaps increases blood flow and helps your body store sugars in muscle cells instead of fat cells.

I'll wait to see how this high-dose niacin thing turns out. Seeing is believing.  

Found This Interesting? Then You Might Like:

Get FREE Updates & EXCLUSIVE Content

Join Over 30,000+ Subscribers!

Close

What's Your Best Email?