Which NAD Booster Is Best?

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NAD (sometimes referred to as NAD+) is an important biological compound which assists with DNA repair and other important internal processes. We have high levels of it in our bodies when we’re young; not so much when we’re older. Harvard University’s David Sinclair views the restoration of NAD to youthful levels as important component of pushing back against the aging process.

One way to increase NAD levels is by taking NAD precursors. Four easily available ones are NA, NAM, NMN and NR. But which is better?

NA: Nicotinic Acid.

  • NA is the form most commonly found in food.
  • It lowers triglycerides; lowers LDL; raises HDL.
  • It raises NAD levels significantly in both blood and muscle tissue.
  • Recent evidence suggests that it may be better at raising NAD than the much-more expensive NR or NMN. But there have not been any independent double-blind studies comparing them.
  • It also promotes gains in mass and promotes sleep.
  • NA is dirt cheap, about 20 times cheaper than the same amount of NR or NMN.
  • When (most) people say “niacin” they’re talking about NA. (If you buy a bottle of vitamins labeled “niacin” it should contain NA.)
  • Some multivitamins which contain niacinamide (NAM) label it inaccurately as “niacin.”
  • Side effects: NA can cause flushing (itching/temporary reddening of the skin as blood vessels dilate). (Flushing is sometimes called a “rash” but this is inaccurate.)
  • It can also cause nasal congestion.
  • Some sustained-release forms of NA can cause liver damage in large doses. It’s disputed whether regular (non-time release) NA can cause liver damage even in large amounts.

NAM: Niacinamide (also known as Nicotinamide)

  • NAM has no beneficial effects on LDL, HDL or triglycerides.
  • It does raise NAD levels. How much it raises them compared to NA, NMN or NR is not known.
  • Unlike NA, it does not cause flushing.
  • Most people in the anti-aging community are wary of taking NAM because of studies showing that it (may) dampen sirtuin gene activity. (These studies are disputed.) David Sinclair has said that he won’t take a multivitamin that has even a tiny amount of NAM in it for this reason.

NMN: Nicotinamide Mononucleotide

  • Raises NAD levels.
  • Does not cause flushing.
  • Does not shut down sirtuin genes.
  • Has no beneficial effects on LDL, HDL or triglycerides.
  • Personal note: I’m currently taking 1,500 mg. of NMN per day, six days a week. (I take “supplement holidays” on Sundays.)

NR: Nicotinamide Riboside

  • Raises NAD levels.
  • Does not cause flushing.
  • Does not shut down sirtuin genes
  • Has no beneficial effects on LDL, HDL or triglycerides.

What I’m Taking

  • As I mentioned above, I’m currently taking 1.5 grams of NMN in the mornings to raise NAD levels.
  • I also sometimes take 500 mg of immediate-release niacin in the late afternoons three days a week. (I don’t take it early in the day because niacin makes me sleepy.) I take it along with some chromium picolinate to counteract its tendency to raise blood glucose.
  • Note: I also take other NAD boosters, including apigenin (found in parsley and chamomile), rutin, and Pau D’Arco. I always take sirtuin activators along with them, such as resveratrol, SIRT6 Activator (fucoidan), black elderberry syrup (cyanidin), and olive oil.

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