It’s official – with beauty websites calling it a “wonder supplement,” NAD has truly arrived. While this little cellular energy generator has long been recognized in the scientific community for its pivotal role in every single cell in our bodies, the buzz about the many benefits of boosting NAD levels is hitting the streets. And that means a little clarification is in order, particularly about the best way to supplement effectively. If you’re googling “can you take NAD directly,” this post is for you!
In an interesting shift, people are increasingly asking how best to supplement NAD, instead of what it is or what it does. They’ve already learned that higher levels of NAD translates to more cellular energy, which means cells are primed and able to do their various and important jobs. They may also be aware that NAD levels naturally decline as we age, leaving us with roughly half the NAD we had at age 20 by the time we hit 50. As production slows, and as aging or damaged cells burn through our precious NAD supply, so comes the onset of conditions traditionally associated with aging – a fuzzier memory, less energy, more wrinkles, slowed recovery times, brain fog, and the list goes on. Boosting NAD can help offset that decline and dramatically improve biological age and healthspan.
Here’s the thing – none of that happens by taking NAD directly. Instead, you need what essentially amounts to a go-between.
It’s called an NAD precursor.
If you’re researching NAD supplements or even taking one already, surprise – you’re probably not actually taking NAD directly. And that’s a good thing. First, NAD is wildly heat sensitive, so you’d need to be diligent about managing temperature properly. And second, getting NAD itself into your bloodstream, whether you down a capsule or fork over for a pricey IV infusion, doesn’t mean it’s making its way into your cells. In fact, oral supplementation with NAD doesn’t really seem to do much, and that’s almost certainly related to how efficiently it’s metabolized in the gut. As for IV therapy, which is generally touted as an ideal route of administration in terms of bioavailability for many nutrients, we just don’t know about its efficacy for NAD. As researchers in a 2020 review of the clinical evidence for targeting NAD therapeutically put it, “the metabolism of intravenously infused NAD/NADH is currently unclear.”
Enter the NAD precursor – kind of a big deal. Our own Dr. Andrew Salzman, a leading biomedical expert, calls it one of the biggest breakthroughs in longevity science. “The real breakthrough that’s occurred is how to get NAD levels back to normal. We now understand that it can’t be done by giving NAD itself, but it can be done by supplying the starting material.”
That starting material is an NAD precursor like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) or NR (nicotinamide riboside). Unlike the entire NAD molecule, which is fairly sizable, NAD precursors are more easily absorbed in the body and impressively resilient in the digestive system. In the cell, they’re quickly and easily converted to NAD. For the record, NMN is actually the immediate precursor to NAD and therefore quite efficient. With NR supplements, NR is first converted to NMN and then to NAD in the cells.
Either way, the idea is restoring NAD to more youthful levels by delivering the building blocks directly to the cell. And while this can certainly be done intravenously, there are benefits to going the oral supplementation route.
Drips vs supplements.
IV drips, if that’s your thing, lend themselves to the preparation involved for a big event – or the recovery in the days after. But you’ll spend a lot of time (up to four hours per session!) and money getting infusions to boost and then maintain youthful NAD levels. Supplementing with a NMN capsule like Wonderfeel Youngr™, on the other hand, more closely mimics what the body does naturally. Instead of a huge wallop every now and then, you consistently benefit from the most efficient dose for a sustained approach to healthy aging.
There’s another advantage to a supplement like Youngr, and we’ll let Dr. Salzman explain. “By itself, NMN is very helpful. But the ability of NMN and NAD to be effective in the cell is dependent on having low oxidant stress.” And that’s exactly why the Youngr™ formula pairs NMN with key antioxidants. Their role is to shield the cell from oxidant stress so that it can more efficiently use the NMN that’s simultaneously being delivered. And these aren’t any old antioxidants. “The selection of antioxidants in the Wonderfeel capsule is based on the understanding that there are different types of oxidant stress within the cell,” says Dr. Salzman. “By choosing the right components of olive oil and mushrooms and grapes, we’re able to create a capsule that contains all the most powerful antioxidants without the need to take voluminous amounts of the botanical material.”
The bottom line.
The idea of NAD supplementation is catching on, and that’s a good thing. But supplementing with NAD precursors – not NAD directly – is the most effective way of raising NAD levels for the biggest effect. And you can get started right this way.