What Is NADH?
Energy is essential to helping us get through everyday activities from a long day at work to exercising at the gym. Supplements may be a great option for many people who could use a little boost in their natural energy production. One popular supplement that is often used to increase energy production is NADH. While many people use this supplement daily, like other supplements, it crucial to learn more about it so that you can decide whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for NADH.
From the benefits and the potential side effects to dosing instructions, we will tell you everything you need to know about NADH to ensure that you are safe, healthy, and well-informed.
At first glance, you may think that NADH is an acronym for some organization, but it stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide + hydrogen (H); you may also occasionally see it as nad or nad+.
NADH is a coenzyme naturally found in all living cells and plays an important role in generating energy. Sometimes associated with the “Fountain of Youth,” NADH also plays a role in anti-aging. To get a better understanding how NADH works naturally in the body, watch this illustrated video.
NADH is also an active form of vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin. This is important to remember when looking at NADH supplements because many people may assume that there are differences between vitamin B3 and niacin.
When your natural levels of NADH are average or higher, you have a better functioning metabolism. If you have low levels, your energy may be low and more susceptible to fatigue and have poor health overall.
As a supplement, NADH can help to improve athletic endurance. The supplement may also help to improve mental clarity, concentration, memory, alertness, and even treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Even though there are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of NADH supplements, there is also no known overdosing issues so one can assume that the supplements are relatively safe as long as one takes a proper dosage.
For nutritional purposes or a boost of energy, the recommended dose is 2.5 to 5 mg a day1. Individuals with Alzheimer’s or other memory issues may take 10 to 15 mg a day. People with Parkinson’s Disease and CFS, may also consider taking 10 to 15 mg of an NADH supplement a day.
For best results, take the dosage with a full glass of water and on an empty stomach. If you experience any stomach upset, ask your doctor for other ways to take the supplement.
As with all supplements, it’s important to talk with a medical professional before starting a supplement or adjusting the dosage. There is not enough evidence to support whether or not NADH should be used long-term so you should discuss the length of usage with your doctor, too.
What Are The Top Benefits?
NADH supplements may benefit anyone who suffers from low levels of natural NADH. Certain symptoms can be a direct result of another health issue. Before you start taking an NADH supplement, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor to ensure that you are an ideal candidate for the supplement and that your symptoms are related to low levels of NADH.
How do you know if you NADH might be a good choice for you? If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have low levels of NAD2:
- Low energy
- Poor functioning
- Immune system
- Memory issues
- Chronic fatigue
NADH supplements may help reduce or even eliminate some of the common symptoms related to low levels of NAD. While more evidence and long-term studies are needed, here are some other ways in which an NADH supplement may be beneficial:
Slowing Down Mental Decline
As mentioned earlier, NADH supplements can help boost energy and alertness (which can be beneficial to one’s overall memory and brain functioning). Supplements may be effective in slowing down the common symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s3 and other forms of dementia.
Improving Brain Function of People With Parkinson’s
Traditional drug therapy for Parkinson’s disease4 is believed to deplete Vitamin B3. NADH supplements may help to replace any of the vitamins that are lost while boosting and improving brain function.
Reduce Symptoms Of CFS
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can be debilitating and can decrease one’s quality of life overall. Since NADH supplements may help boost energy, mood, memory, and other brain functions, it may be effective in treating CFS.
When people have low energy, their quality of life may also be low. NADH supplements may also help with jet lag, high blood pressure, lowering “bad” cholesterol, protecting against the side effects associated with the AIDS drug Zidovudine, and even reduce signs of aging.5
What Are The Potential Side Effects?
As with many supplements, NADH supplements are not recommended when pregnant or breastfeeding. There is no strong that evidence that the supplement is dangerous but taking higher than recommended doses may cause or increase the chance of anxiety6, insomnia, and jitteriness.
If you plan on taking this supplement for a longer period of time (more than 12 weeks) or have concerns about how it may affect you, talk with your health professional. Even though side effects are rare, pay special attention to any physical, emotional, or mental changes.
How To Supplement Your Diet With NADH
At this time, the best and easiest way to boost your NADH levels in your body is through supplements. Some health facilities provide NAD IV Therapy as a “full-body detoxification” or “brain reboot.” Topical applications7 are also available.
It’s more expensive than supplements, and there isn’t enough evidence to prove if it’s more (or less) beneficial than the standard capsule or tablet-style supplement.
If you feel like you are an ideal candidate for NADH supplements like Niagen, it’s always a good idea to have a regular appointment with your doctor first. He or she should be able to rule out other medical conditions that could share some of the same common symptoms as having low levels of NADH.
Before considering the supplement, revisit the common symptoms of someone with low levels of natural NADH. Do you feel like you have low energy constantly or only during certain times of the day? Are you forgetful all the time or just when you’re overworked and busy?
Sometimes a busy schedule or lifestyle factors can make it seem like you have low energy (and you might). A supplement may be beneficial, or it may not affect at all; try to determine that you are truly the best candidate for the supplements before you take them.
There is no evidence to suggest that NADH supplements have adverse interactions with other supplements or vitamins, but you should talk with your doctor and read the ingredient lists on the supplement packaging before using. There is also not enough evidence to suggest that specific supplements can enhance or improve the results of an NADH supplement.
Not sure that you want to take a supplement or would like to wait until there are more published studies on the supplement? Maybe you’re not certain that you suffer from low levels of NADH.
Some of the easiest and safest alternatives to a supplement like NADH is to get more exercise, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, have regular checkups, stay adequately hydrated, and minimize or eliminate your use of alcohol.
Boosting your diet with niacin-rich foods like salmon, lentils, and whole wheat bread can improve your levels naturally. Drinking beverages like Kombucha may also help, too8. You can also consider taking vitamin B3 (or niacin) supplements.
If you are considering NADH supplements to look more youthful, eat a healthy diet, wear sunscreen, and take care of your skin. Want to keep your memory sharp? Consider meditation and de-stressing techniques. Challenging yourself to new things also helps to keep you feeling young and sharp.
If you have serious concerns about your physical or mental health, worry about memory loss or have experienced significant changes in your health, continue to eat a healthy diet but talk with your doctor right away.
What Are People Saying About NADH?
Since there are no known dangers to taking an NADH supplement, the biggest controversy is whether or not the supplements work and if they are necessary. Keep in mind that NADH (or NAD) is a derivative of niacin9 (vitamin B3), so they end up working the same way, having a lot of the same qualities, and offer the same benefits.
While it’s quite possible for individuals to exhibit symptoms that are common with low levels of NADH, niacin deficiencies are less common as they once were; in some cases, serious deficiencies occur in individuals with a history of alcoholism.
Although there are some studies about NADH10 and niacin supplements11, the results are mixed, and there’s no substantial evidence that the supplements guarantee some of the “miracle” type results promised such as the “Fountain of Youth” formula or a full-body and brain detoxification.
An NADH supplement may be effective and have positive results for some individuals while others may experience no change in mental or physical health. Again, the efficacy is highly dependent on an individual’s health, age, and other lifestyle factors.
Most people from medical and scientific professionals to others recounting their personal experience with NADH agree that more research needs to be done to determine whether or not NADH supplements work the way that some claim.
There are many products and supplements on the market that promise youthful skin, a sharp mind, and a boost of energy. For someone who wants to improve in any (and all) of these areas, the options may be overwhelming.
While we touched on many of the benefits of taking an NADH supplement, there isn’t enough scientific research that gives us a solid answer about NADH supplements and their effectiveness.
We can say that the supplements appear to be safe, as long as the proper dosing is followed, but you like to have more information about a supplement or product, it’s best to wait until more scientific studies are done.
If you suffer from low energy and other symptoms that may suggest you have low levels of natural NADH, it won’t hurt to try a dose for a month and see how you feel. If you notice improvements, talk with your doctor about continuing and if not, try incorporating some of the alternatives we discussed.
NADH supplements seem promising and appear to combat some things that keep us from enjoying life to its fullest, but we aren’t entirely convinced that it’s the key to youthfulness or a sharper mind.
Scientific & Reference Citations