Is the Fountain of Youth Just a Simple Vitamin?

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Most of us have never heard of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+. But that doesn’t stop it from being an active champion for your cellular health.

NAD+ is a coenzyme that plays a major role in metabolism. The problem? Levels tend to decrease with age — and in reaction to the stressors of everyday life. But there’s a nature-identical supplement that might help get your levels back on track. We talked with biochemist and NAD+ expert Charles Brenner, PhD, to get the scoop on how it all works.

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Oxygen: Our bodies make less NAD+ as we age. Why?

Charles Brenner: Over time, we experience more metabolic stressors, like exposure to free radicals in the environment and even alcohol consumption or overeating. These things cause NAD+ levels to decline.

Oxygen: How do low NAD+ levels affect us as we age?

CB: NAD+ plays an important role in metabolism. Producing less of it can make it harder for cells to convert food into energy, make hormones like androgens and estrogens, and maintain healthy DNA.

Oxygen: Supplementing with nicotinamide riboside (NR) can replenish NAD+. What exactly is NR, and how does it work?

CB: Nicotinamide riboside is a form of vitamin B3 that’s a precursor to NAD+. It’s an important building block that cells can take up and use to rebuild their NAD+ supplies.

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