Is it possible to tap the fountain of youth with a new supplement?

Researchers are getting promising results using a substance found in all living cells to help slow the aging process


When Ponce de Leon set out on his famous journey, chances are good he wasn’t looking for capsules or pills to help prolong his youth. Fast forward to the present day, however, and that same quest could just require a quick visit to the local pharmacy or an online storefront that sells nutritional supplements.

Although no one has managed to find the actual Fountain of Youth, researchers are getting promising results in the battle against age-related ailments with a chemical compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD+.

A quick chemistry lesson

All living cells contain NAD+. It’s a coenzyme, which means it improves the function of certain proteins (or enzymes) that exist throughout your body. Enzymes help keep you alive by speeding up the chemical reactions that take place in your cells. They impact all of your body’s functions, making it possible for you to breathe, eat, move, and think. Coenzymes help them do their job. Simply put, NAD+ helps keep you alive.

Several studies conducted over the last few years reveal promising results, like improved memory and longer life span, when NAD+ levels are increased.

The amount of NAD+ you have decreases as you get older. Those reduced levels may be responsible for numerous health issues. Several studies conducted over the last few years reveal promising results, like improved memory and longer life span, when NAD+ levels are increased in mice. Scientists are working achieve similar results with humans.

Benefits of NAD+

Increasing your NAD+ can lead to several benefits, including:

Improved brain function. NAD+ plays a key role in your body’s ability to repair your DNA. It helps increase the production of neurons, which improves the ability of your cells to transmit information to each other. Improved memory and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease could be the end result.

Improved weight management. Increasing your NAD+ could increase your metabolism—the process your body uses to convert food to energy—and make it work more efficiently. Added bonus: this happens even with a less-than-perfect diet.

Improved muscle function and strength. The impact of NAD+ on your DNA also affects your body’s ability to produce healthy muscle tissue. Endurance, strength, and exercise capacity can improve with higher levels of this important coenzyme.

Improved longevity. NAD+ improves mitochondrial function, which could help you live longer. Your mitochondria combine oxygen, sugar and fats to produce energy for your cells. The better they work, the better the energy-making process works, which can lead to better health overall.

Sources of NAD+

NAD+ is taken from the amino acids in the food you eat. Several NAD+ supplements are under development and at various stages of the FDA approval process that claim to improve your quality of life, and possibly extend it.

Ponce de Leon would be impressed.

Find a doctor

Your doctor can help you determine if adding NAD+ supplements to your daily routine can be part of a holistic approach that helps you reach your health goals. Find a doctor in our provider directory. Or use one of the regional directories below:






Related resources

100 and Beyond: A Matter of Good Genes and a Little Luck?

A proactive health guide for people 40+

Food comes first: The facts about dietary supplements

2016 Study: NAD+ repletion improves muscle function in muscular dystrophy and counters global PARylation

2017 Study: A conserved NAD+ binding pocket that regulates protein-protein interactions during aging

2018 Study: NAD+ supplementation normalizes key Alzheimer's features and DNA damage responses in a new AD mouse model with introduced DNA repair deficiency

The content of this article is for information purposes only, and we recommend before you engage in any type of alternative treatment that you consult your primary care provider. If you don’t have one, you can find one here in our directory. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

From how to identify and treat heart diseases to exercise tips to maintain an active lifestyle, the Providence Senior's Health team is committed to providing real-world advice that is hyper-relevant to helping those 65+ find ways stay young at heart

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