Increasing NAD+ Levels with Apigenin


NAD is essential to DNA repair and the proper functioning of our mitochondria. NAD levels are high when we’re young, but decline precipitously as we get older. So many people are experimenting with raising their NAD levels in the hope of adding some healthy years or decades to their lives.

For those wanting to boost their NAD levels inexpensively, one little known NAD booster is apigenin, which is found in many foods including celery and parsley. At least one company is selling a NAD-boosting supplement which includes dried parsley as a key ingredient.

How Apigen Works

NAD precursors such as NR, NMN, and Niacin (NA), work by providing the body with the components needed to make NAD. There is evidence that taking them does increase NAD levels in the blood and in the cells. We can also raise NAD by doing things like resistance training, fasting and cold showers.

But all of the above may not do us much good if an enzyme called CD38 is constantly eating away at our NAD reserves. CD38 tends to build up in the body as we’re getting older, and is likely one of the reasons we have such low NAD levels in our later years. Apigenin works by lowering our levels of CD38, solving this problem.

In addition to keeping NAD levels from being degraded, apigenin has also been shown to be anti-carcinogenic, and appears to be effective in slowing the spread of some types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer. See article. It is also an effective anti-inflammatory. See article. 

Sources of Apigenin

Dried Parsley is the richest natural source of apigenin; it has 137.7 mg per 100 grams, according to this study. This is more than the level in the same amount of fresh parsley. There is also some apigenin in other plant products, including cilantro, celery, grapefruit, and chamomile tea. 

Heating Foods Lowers Apigenin

If you’re cooking with parsley as a strategy for optimizing your apigenin levels, try not to overcook it. Lower the heat, then add the parsley in the last minute or so of cooking, since apigenin is destroyed by heat.

Apigenin and Blood Sugar

This is purely anecdotal, but I had noticed years ago that I could remedy the effects of eating a high-sugar meal (such as a piece of cake or dish of ice cream) by eating a large amount of parsley right afterwards. When I didn’t eat parsley, I’d get a burst of energy after eating the sugar, feel hyped up for a few minutes, then “crash,” probably because of a strong insulin response. Eating parsley after a sugary meal prevent the spike in blood sugar and the crash.

More recently, I’ve noticed that if I drink a glass of juice fortified with dried parsley, my eyesight will seem sharper for about a half hour afterwards.

Notes and Caveats

Like many plant based products (including resveratrol and curcumin) apigenin is somewhat toxic, triggering a hormetic response in the body. This is what gives it its benefits. But as such, it’s possible that large doses of apigenin could be toxic. See this article.

Women of childbearing age may want to be aware of a possible connection between parsley and ending pregnancies.

Can We Just Eat Parsley (and Skip the NAD Boosters?)

In my opinion, it’s still good to take NAD boosters such as NMN, NR or niacin. (I take 1 or more grams of NMN in the mornings, and take 500 mg of niacin a few times a week as an NAD booster and sleep aid.

Supplements such as these provide the raw materials your body can use to make NMN. But there can then be problem with an enzyme in the body destroying the NAD. This is where adding in some apigenin helps out.

If you’re young in your 20s and your NAD levels are naturally high, you may be fine with just taking apigenin. If you’re older, you may need a source of raw materials (such as NR, NMN or niacin) also.

For those who take supplements, one company I recommend is DoNotAge. They are currently a sponsor of my Youtube channel. If you buy their supplements, you can get 10 percent off by using the discount code PATHWAYS.

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