Beyond NAD and NMN: Restoring our “Renewable Biological Resources”
by Nils Osmar. Updates March 21, 2022
What do NAD, Glutathione, HGH, Testosterone, Estrogen, AKG, and Nitric oxide Have in Common? When we’re young, we have high levels of the above compounds in our bodies. As we age, they become depleted.
Lately I’ve been thinking of them as “renewable biological resources” because all of them can be restored to youthful levels. It’s possible that doing so might add years or decades of healthy living to our lives.
NAD (nicotinamide adenine denucleotide) NAD (or NAD+) is a coenzyme central to metabolism. It boosts memory, improves mental clarity, improves mood and concentration, boosts neurological function, reduce symptoms of depression, and facilitates DNA repair.
By the time we’re in our forties, levels of NAD have fallen to half of what they were when we were young. They continue to decline as the years pass. To restore NAD to youthful levels: We can raise NAD by fasting, taking saunas and cold showers, doing HIIT exercise, doing strength training, and/or by taking NAD boosters. A recent study demonstrated that a few weeks of resistance training raised the NAD levels of non-athletes in their 60s to the levels of athletes in their 20s.
Glutathione Reduces oxidative stress. Reduces cell damage in fatty liver disease. Improves insulin resistance. Increases mobility for people with peripheral artery disease. Reduces symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. May help fight against autoimmune disease. The decrease in glutathione correlates with a decline in executive function in the brain. To restore glutathione to youthful levels:
We can raise glutathione by eating whey powder, eating sulfur-rich foods such as eggs and garlic, and/or taking glutathione boosters. Taking NAC (N. Acetyl Cysteine) alone or with Glycine is one effective way of restoring glutathione to youthful levels.
HGH (human growth hormone) Produced by the pituitary gland. HGH spurs growth in children and adolescents. In adults, it helps to regulate body composition, muscle and bone growth, fat and sugar metabolism, and possibly heart function. It’s used by cells during growth and in healing from injuries and other wounds. Note: some types of growth hormone are pro-aging. HGH has anti-aging effects.
According to Harvard Medical School, “By age 55, blood levels of growth hormone are about one-third lower than they are in people ages 18 to 35. This drop also coincides with the reduced muscle mass and increased body fat that happens with aging.” To restore hGH to youthful levels: We can raise hGH (growth hormone) by doing strength training, and taking hGH boosting supplements (such as niacin, L. citrulline, beta alanine and creatine). We can also raise hGH by going to bed by around10 pm to catch the first natural peak in hGH production (it only occurs at this time, and only when we’re asleep).
Sex hormones: In men Testosterone is an essential hormone. It’s present in both men and women but in larger quantities in men. Men with high testosterone tend to have lower body fat, stronger muscles, stronger bones, better verbal memories, spatial abilities, and mathematical reasoning, better moods, and stronger libidos, then males who have lower levels. Low testosterone is associated with depression and with mood and memory problems in males. Men’s testosterone levels decline about 1 percent per year after age 30.
To restore testosterone to youthful levels: We can raise testosterone by taking by doing strength training, taking testosterone boosting supplements, or by using hormone replacement therapy. Personal note: I was able to raise my T levels by exercising and by supplementation with herbal compounds. Having higher T levels improved my energy and mental clarity, and made it easier for me to lose body fat and gain muscle when I began doing strength training. The supplements I take include ashwagandha, astragalus, boron and some others.
Sex hormones: In women Estrogen is present in both sexes, but in larger quantity in women. Benefits of higher estrogen include improved sleep; better retention of collagen; better skin thickness and elasticity; reduced risks of cataracts; reduced risk of osteoporosis; reduced risk of bones breaking; decreased tooth loss, lowered risk of colon cancer, improvement in mood and overall sense of mental well-being compared to women with lower estrogen.
Testosterone and pregnenolone also play important roles in women’s health. Women’s sex hormone levels drop after menopause, triggering problems such as fatigue and sleep issues, mood swings and depression, headaches, and urinary tract infections. To restore estrogen and other female hormones to youthful levels: Women can raise sex hormones to youthful levels by taking supplements or by using hormone replacement therapy.
AKG (alpha ketoglutarate) AKG is a remarkable compound which has been shown to extend lifespan in both insects and animals. (The effect is more pronounced in females.) It also extends healthspan and compresses morbidity into a very small period of time toward the end of life.
Like the other compounds mentioned, its levels drop precipitously as we get older. According to Fightaging.org, “Studies show that blood plasma levels of alpha-ketaglutarate (AKG) can drop up to 10-fold as we age.” To restore AKG to youthful levels: We can raise AKG levels by taking supplements of AKG or AAKG (a salt of arginine), OAKG (a salt of ornithine) or CaAKG (a salt of calcium). (I take both plain AKG and AAKG).
Nitric oxide According to Healthline.com, “Nitric oxide is produced by nearly every type of cell in the human body and one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of your blood vessels, causing the vessels to widen. In this way, nitric oxide increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.” Levels drop precipitously as we age.
According to a 2014 study, “Impaired generation and signaling of nitric oxide (NO) contribute substantially to cardiovascular (CV) risk (CVR) associated with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus.” To restore nitric oxide to youthful levels: We can raise nitric oxide levels by eating foods high in natural nitrites such as celery, or by humming at the right frequency (which increases nasal NO levels). Also, according to this study, raising glutathione or taking glutathione supplements along with L. Citrulline raises nitric oxide.
These don’t quite fit into the list, but are also important:
T-Cells – According to Medicine.net, “A type of white blood cell that is of key importance to the immune system and is at the core of adaptive immunity, the system that tailors the body’s immune response to specific pathogens. The T cells are like soldiers who search out and destroy the targeted invaders.” T-Cells are produced by the thymus gland. They decline because thymus glands become involuted, a process that goes on for years, leading to the gradual collapse of our immune systems. To restore T-cells to youthful levels: We can support our T cells by rejuvenating the thymus gland. In the TRIIM trial, participants were given hGH injections, metformin, DHEA, vitamin D and zinc. The result was the restoration of their thymus glands and a 2.5 year reversal of epigenetic age.
Young blood factors –– As we age, our “young blood factors” decline and our “old blood factors” increase. We become less able to make healthy blood cells. Toxic proteins accumulate in our blood. To restore our blood factors to youthful levels: We can support the creation of new, healthy blood cells by taking GLA (gamma linoleic acid) supplements and by donating blood. We can clean our blood of protein fragments by taking serrapeptase, nattokinase and lumbrokinase. In a medical setting, researchers have tried replacing some of the old blood with either young blood or with a mixture of albumin and saline, with reports of rejuvenating effects. My approach: I donate blood regularly. Donating removes harmful iron and may dilute old blood factors. I also take borage oil and berry seed oil (GLA) for blood health.
Brain factors –– Our brains are obviously essential to life and consciousness. They lose neurons as the years go by, leading to memory impairment and a decline in cognitive abilities. To restore our brain factors to youthful levels: We can prevent brain shrinking and improve brain health in general by taking hyaluronic acid and other supplements. Fasting and other hormetics also support neurogenesis.