NADH stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) and hydrogen (H). Together they form a chemical compound - a coenzyme.
Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucelotide (NAD) is actually found in all living cells - it is a major factor in the processes that generate energy. NADH specifically is one of the two forms NAD is found in.
Niacin, a vitamin belonging to the B vitamin complex and one of the essential nutrients that humans need to live, contains nicotinamide. This means that the body processes niacin by turning it into NADH, and that is what generates energy from niacin.
By reducing niacin's usefulness to its simplest form, NADH supplements are being widely used for health benefits.
What is NADH?
NADH is a chemical compound that can be found in the muscle tissue of humans and animals. NADH is one of the two forms that the compound NAD is found in. The chemical base NAD is essential for the processing of fat, alcohol, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Discovered by British biochemists in 1906, NADH has increasingly been in the news and the subject of research in the last decade due to the discovery of a link with sirtuins, which affect the body's aging and cell death. Sirtuins also have positive effects on inflammation, metabolism rates, and stress resistance.
NADH health benefits
The benefits of NADH has shown to include:
- Increased energy
- Improved brain and mental function
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Reduced signs of aging
- Increased Immune system functionality
- Boosting metabolism
- Decreased Chronic Fatigue symptomes
- Alleviated symptoms of depression
- Alleviated jet lag symptoms
NADH enhances energy
NADH's role in energy generation is not at issue. NADH is essential to produce ATP, the basic chemical that creates energy for the body. Because of this, it is also being marketed as an effective supplement to help treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
In a recent study, patients suffering from CFS took 10 mg of NADH or a placebo every day for four weeks. Those who took NADH every day show a 31% improvement in energy, decreases in other symptoms, and improved quality of life overall.
The placebo group reported only 8% of positive effects. While this does not provide enough evidence for NADH to be proven as an energy enhancer, it does show the potential benefits of everyday intake of NADH.
NADH supports the immune system
Many people take niacin for immune system support. While NADH is the result of the body breaking down niacin, NADH is not popularly known for the sole purpose to boost the immune system.
Despite this, NADH itself is essential to our cellular immune response. NADH is used by a special kind of white blood cell, called a macrophage. Macrophages are the cells that 'attack' foreign bodies, like bacteria, molds, and viruses.
After macrophages attack these foreign bodies, they produce a large amount of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide - the process is commonly called a "metabolic burst".
This is the process that directly uses NADH, and needs large amounts of it to consistently destroy foreign bodies. It calls to reason that the more NADH you have in your body, the easier it is for these white blood cells to function.
NADH supports brain function and memory
NADH is of special interest in the area of brain function. A small study indicated that taking NADH daily increased mental function of people suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. While this isn't enough to be conclusive, it has potential to be used to treat mental decline and improve areas of memory.
Another study used NADH for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is known to deplete the body's storage of vitamin B3. But regular intake of niacin and niacinamide are not an effective treatment, because of the way they are processed.
In this study, NADH supplements did improve the level of dopamine in the brain, and reduced symptoms of the disease. One of the researchers on that team has already begun recommending it for patients suffering from degenerative brain diseases.
Healthy brains can also use support for their everyday function. NADH can help replenish vitamin B3 storage within the body, which serve to help brain function and strengthen memory.
NADH and its effect on cholesterol and blood pressure
NADH has not been tested on humans for the purposes of lowering cholesterol and blood pressure at this time.
However, in a recent animal trial with hypertensive rats, small daily dosages of NADH lowered cholesterol and reduced high blood pressure. While this isn't conclusive, the next step is multiple human trials to determine this benefit.
Who may benefit from taking a NADH supplement?
NADH is commonly being recommended to people who
- suffer from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's
- suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- suffer from depression
- must manage high blood pressure
- must manage high cholesterol
- want to improve athletic performance
- want more energy
- want improved memory or brain function
- want to reduce signs of aging
Does NADH have any side effects?
There are no known NADH side effects on record at this time when taken in the recommended dose. However, each and every body has a different chemical composition and taking NADH can affect people differently.
NADH acid interactions and combinations
There are no known NADH interactions at this time. Always check with your doctor before taking a NADH supplement. As with any medications, the more drugs being used, the more potential there is for interactions.
NADH dosage recommendations
Common NADH dosages are from 5 to 10mg per day. These are also the dosages of most NADH capsules on the market. Other dosages are 2.5mg or 20 mg, depending on the brand of NADH capsules or tablets.
Some people have reported feeling overstimulated on higher doses of NADH, so those who choose to use NADH should exercise caution.
NADH is almost always found in capsule form. They do not have to be taken everyday, but it is recommended that they are taken on an empty stomach, with water, if being used as a metabolism booster.
Why take a NADH supplement?
While it has not been clinically proven in human trials, one could potentially use NADH
- to improve immune health
- to improved brain function
- to improve memory
- to reduce syptoms of Chronic Fatigue
- to improve energy
- to decrease blood pressure
- to decrease cholesterol
- for anti-aging benefits
- to boost the metabolism
- for more energy
- to reduce depression
- for overall health