Truth be told, each and every one of us beyond the first bloom of youth harbors some concerns about our aging bodies. After a certain point we begin to notice that we are not as spritely as we once were Our eyesight has, perhaps, dimmed, and we find ourselves asking others to repeat themselves. Our memory fades and our stamina decreases. There are quite a few steps we can take to slow down the progression of old age. Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, both physical and mental, and paying close attention to the warning signs of any encroaching disease are all helpful. But, what if we could actually do something about the aging process at the most basic level, the cellular level? Can there really be an effective way to regenerate our very cells?
We are all well aware that cells are the building blocks of virtually everything living, and our bodies are a prime example. Damage or degeneration of our cells will, of course, affect everything. As our cells age, so do we. But what if we could do something to alleviate the aging process at a cellular level. How would this affect us? Within each of our cells are structures called mitochondria. These structures produce energy for virtually every metabolic process in the body. But they can be severely damaged by the process of oxidation. As they are damaged, they become less and less efficient at doing their job, and the effects are felt at all levels. Is there a way to prevent or lessen this process of degeneration and decay? There seems to be. It was in 1906 that scientists first discovered a substance known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, commonly known as NAD. NAD is a substance found in all living cells, and performs a number of functions. It helps to turn the nutrients we ingest into usable energy and acts as a helper for proteins which regulate other biological activity. It also eases the oxidative stress on our DNA, which, in turn, can ease the aging process. And if our cells are operating at a optimal performance level, and aging less quickly, our overall health can only benefit. In 2016, laboratory experiments in mice showed improved muscle function in subjects treated with NAD. The following year, a study showed a marked improvement in the DNA of the subjects. All these are promising indications that NAD is just as beneficial to the human population.
NAD, as stated before, is essential to the health of our cells, and, therefore, our bodies. It performs many functions. NAD helps us get energy out of our food, and helps to control our glucose levels during our nightly fast. On a cellular level, NAD is essential to the process of converting nutrients into energy. The healthiest of food is of no use whatsoever if our body cannot process it. And energy is needed to make our muscles work, to transmit ideas along neural pathways, and everything else that we do a million times a day. Studies have shown that sells deprived of NAD perish. NAD also guarantees that proteins are properly shaped for their appropriate receptors. If an insulin receptor protein is misshaped, your cell will not accept delivery, thus causing an unhealthy result. Sirtuin proteins help protect our telomeres, which are the endcaps of our DNA. These tiny end caps prevent the DNA from unraveling, thereby keeping the telomeres as long as possible for as long as possible. Science has shown that as we age, these telomeres grow progressively shorter, so keeping them long decreases the ravages of old age. NAD also makes our cells more resistant to stress, and protect brain cells. And, in addition to simply protecting our cells from damage, studies indicated that NAD can actually repair damage to our DNA. It also helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, our sleep and wake cycle, and helps control our fast/eat cycle as well.
Of course, just when we need it most, as our bodies begin to fail under the onslaught of the years, they will decrease the production of NAD. Low levels of NAD have been linked to aging and the chronic conditions often associated with it, such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and the like. Now that you know just what NAD is, and how you can benefit, you may be thinking about just how you can boost the levels of this important substance in your own body.
While, to date, no studies have been conducted on humans, animal studies have consistently shown that NAD may be of great benefit in helping to slow the aging process. So, just how can we get in on this? Certain foods, such as cow’s milk, yeast, and even beer, contain NAD enhancing qualities. But consuming enough quantities may prove problematic for your diet. You may consider periodic fasting, which will help. A supplement called oxaloacetate will help mimic fasting if you just can’t put down the chips. You could also try maintaining a strict keto diet, one high in fat and low in carbs. Your body will stay in a state of ketosis, and levels of NAD will increase. But if you’re not a caveman, you may want to consider a supplement, and there are quite a few from which to choose. Most are marketed as niacin, an alternate form of vitamin B3. When taken, these supplements will boost the levels of NAD in the bloodstream. Dosage varies from 250 to 300 mg per day. That’s one or two capsules, depending on the manufacturer. Supplements such as these appear to be safe, with only mild side effects usually reported. These include nausea, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, and indigestion. Some of you may be acquainted with the facial flush associated with a dose of vitamin B3, but need not concern yourself with this, as the niacin form of the vitamin does not produce this effect.
Cell regeneration is the hottest topic out there when it comes to arresting the aging process. The ability to rejuvenate our body at its most basic level holds great promise for our continued good health well into our advancing years.
I’m Nick Wilkinson. I writer and radio personality who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
With over 14 years of experience in the Behavioral Health Field, I’ve been working in close contact with kids from all walks of life.
Specializing in teenagers and young adults, I’ve been a career long supporter of “verbal de-escalation” and non-violent crisis intervention. I believe that what you say, and how you say it, are the keys to successful communication. I currently write about men’s health topics, parenting and child abuse topics, and other social issues. You can visit my blog at www.ActingNotReacting.com