NAD+ is needed for metabolic functions to take place in all the cells in your body, including your brain. Scientists have shown that NAD+ significantly decreases as we age, so it’s beneficial to replenish NAD+ levels so your body can function at optimal levels. NAD+ is involved in these roles throughout the body:
1. Energy production (ATP): NAD+ helps your cells convert food into energy by acting as an electron transporter during cell metabolism.
2. DNA repair: A constant supply of NAD+ is needed for the activation of PARPs, which detect and repair damaged DNA.
3. Gene expression: Your body has a class of proteins called sirtuins that help regulate certain metabolic pathways and genetic expressions. Sirtuins are NAD-dependent and the more sirtuin activity, the better for health and longevity. Increased sirtuin activity can help increase metabolism, decrease inflammation, extend cell life, and prevent neurodegeneration.
4. Cell signaling: NAD+ is also released from the intercellular space to the extracellular space for communication. Research is revealing that NAD and ATP may alert the immune response when the cell is under stress or when there is inflammation.
5. Neurotransmitter: Although more research still needs to be conducted, in some instances, NAD+ meets the pre- and postsynaptic criteria for a neurotransmitter. NAD+ is released from smooth muscle, neurosecretory cells, and brain synaptosomes for cell-to-cell communication.
6. Enzyme activity: NAD+ and NADH are used in processes such as metabolizing alcohol and converting lactate to pyruvate in the body.