NADH, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a naturally occurring coenzyme. A coenzyme, to put it simply, is anything that aids an enzyme in its mission to break down the nutrients we get from our food.
We all know that we need things like carbs, fats, proteins, and vitamins, and that the best way to get these is through proper diet. But it’s really the enzymes that end up doing all the work of breaking down what we eat into helpful nutrients, and coenzymes are critical to that process.
NADH is primarily composed of vitamin B3, also known as nicotinamide. NADH is responsible for a series of chemical reactions that result in ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is a major source of energy for our bodies. It is important to maintain balanced NADH levels in order to promote natural, healthy energy.
NADH is also critically involved in the creation of dopamine, which plays a significant role in many bodily processes included movement, memory, and mood. Beyond this, NADH also helps preserve your brain’s existing dopamine levels by preventing auto-oxidation. Auto-oxidation is a complicated process that can be bad news – auto-oxidation of dopamine has been suggested as a precursor to Parkinson’s disease, as well as damage to various parts of the brain. NADH helps reduce or inhibit dopamine auto-oxidation.
While long-term studies on NADH are unfortunately lacking, short-term studies have shown supplementation with NADH can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as lessening the symptoms of depression. In one study conducted at the Georgetown University Medical Center, NADH provided marked improvement for subjects suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The same study also found that the NADH could reduce anxiety levels as well as reducing heart rates.
NADH has also been studied as a remedy for jet lag, specifically for the cognitive symptoms of jet lag. In one study, 35 participants were flown across the United States in order to re-create the experience of jet lag. When given a series of cognitive tests the morning after the flight – when jet lag was most noticeable and detrimental – those participants who were given NADH after landing performed significantly better than their counterparts who were given a placebo.
NADH has also been actively studied for its possible benefits in delaying or halting the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In one clinical trial that lasted 6 months, patients who were at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or who were likely in the first stages of the disease, showed improvement in dementia-related symptoms when given NADH. NADH-dosed participants also outperformed placebo-dosed participants in general cognitive tests, including verbal and visual reasoning and fluency.
NADH is also important for your physical health; in a study conducted on rats, NADH supplements led to significant improvement in terms of cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure. NADH can also help boost your immune system; it plays an important role in turning oxygen into superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, both of which are among your body’s strongest defenses against viruses and bacteria.
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