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Key Takeaways

  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is an essential component for many enzymes in the human body to work properly. It takes part in energy production, DNA repair, regulation of gene expression, and a wide range of other processes.
  • NAD production declines dramatically with age, eventually resulting in various health conditions.
  • Replenishment of NAD levels significantly improves the function of the body’s tissues and prevents their degeneration.
  • In the context of this study, scientists restored NAD levels to improve the colon’s function, improve stool movements, and slow down the degeneration of the colon’s tissues in aged mice. 
  • Conversely, inhibition of NAD production caused a severe decline in gastrointestinal function.

Actions to Consider

  • Support your NAD levels with a NAD precursor supplement like nicotinamide riboside (NR) or nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). In this study, scientists used NMN.
  • Not a fan of supplements? One natural NAD precursor is the amino acid, tryptophan, which you can get from dietary sources like meat, eggs, and dairy. Plant sources of tryptophan include seeds, nuts, and spinach.

A cure for age-related intestinal dysfunction? 

The gastrointestinal tract is one of the first structures of the body to suffer from advancing age. 

For example, as the age-related degradation of the colon progresses, such unpleasant symptoms as chronic constipation become more and more harmful. Moreover, the risk of developing colorectal cancer also increases significantly with age.

Scientists hypothesized that these changes could have something to do with the age-related decline of NAD levels in the body.

Then, would NAD replenishment improve the colon’s function?

What is this study about?

Published in 2017 in the Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy journal, this animal study examined if three months of daily supplementation with nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN, a NAD precursor) would increase the level of NAD in the colon of aged mice. The second goal was to determine if an increase in NAD levels would have any impact on the colon’s function.

Let’s back up, what exactly is NAD?

In the human body, NAD is a universal cofactor—a substance that many enzymes need to carry out their functions. Without NAD, some enzymes don’t work at all, and others work much slower than normally.

A few vital processes that heavily rely on NAD levels include:

  • Energy metabolism
  • DNA synthesis and repair
  • Signaling between neurons and other cells
  • Regulation of sirtuins, proteins that control many aspects of cellular health

NAD production declines significantly with age, so scientists hypothesized that this decrease in NAD could be one of the core reasons of age-related colon degradation.

How NAD replenishment improves colon health 

After three months of supplementing with nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), the following beneficial changes were seen in the colon of treated mice:

  • Improved motility
  • Restored hydration
  • Enhanced regeneration

Moreover, scientists have confirmed that artificially reducing the NAD levels in young mice resulted in the functional decline that’s usually observed in aged mice. This proves the idea that there’s a strong link between NAD levels in the colon and the organ’s function. 

Conclusion

The more we learn about NAD, the clearer it becomes that it’s one of the most important prerequisites for healthy aging.

Decreased NAD levels lead to all sorts of health issues. Conversely, replenishing NAD levels significantly improves the function and cellular structure of virtually all tissues in the body.

Is NAD the cure-all that humanity was looking for through the ages?

Time will tell, but the preliminary data is highly encouraging!

Link to the study:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5657423/

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