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7 Ways To Replenish NAD+ Levels Naturally

Getting older may be inevitable, but  the process doesn’t have to be dreaded. Aging can be done gracefully and, believe it or not, thoroughly enjoyed. While the aging process is typically depicted as reduced skin elasticity, cognitive decline, joint pain, frailty, and metabolic disorders, I’m here to tell you (from experience!) that healthy aging is possible. If you are an avid follower of mine, then you know how much I enjoy sharing my anti-aging secrets—one of which is boosting your cellular levels of a powerful compound called NAD+.

As the years go by, our NAD+ levels begin to decline. This decline is associated with age-related diseases, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.  In the past, I have discussed how you can reverse the depletion of NAD+ through supplementation and IV therapy. However, you can also replenish NAD+ naturally by implementing the following lifestyle and dietary changes. But first, let’s break down what NAD+ is. 

What is NAD+? 

NAD+ is short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, an electron-transferring coenzyme that helps facilitate chemical reactions within our cells that are essential for numerous cellular functions and metabolic processes. More specifically, NAD+ is found in the mitochondria (aka powerhouse) of the cell, where it is hard at work converting the nutrients we eat into the energy we need to carry out our daily activities. This critical coenzyme is also involved in reactions that aid in DNA repair, gene expression, immune function, circadian rhythm regulation and more. 

One of the most intriguing functions of NAD+ is its role in activating a class of anti-aging proteins called sirtuins. Emerging research has revealed that these fascinating proteins may promote healthy aging and longevity by combating metabolic dysfunction, DNA repair failure, inflammageing and neurodegeneration. Therefore, finding ways to replenish NAD+ levels has sparked significant interest as a potential strategy to increase lifespan and prevent age-related diseases. 

What Replenishes NAD+ Naturally?

1. Exercise  

As we age, skeletal muscle mass and strength are more prone to decline. This age-related muscle loss is typically accompanied by increased mitochondria dysfunction, metabolic impairment, fat storage, and insulin resistance. Interestingly, these issues arise due to decreased NAD+ levels in skeletal muscle. Fortunately, exercise is an incredible tool that can increase NAD+ production! In fact, one study showed that aerobic and strength training exercises can increase NAD+ levels in older adults by 28-30%. Therefore, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can reverse the age-associated reduction of NAD+ in muscle tissue.

2. Intermittent Fasting 

Another way to promote optimal NAD+ levels is to implement intermittent fasting. Just as the name implies, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves alternating time windows of eating and fasting throughout the day. The most popular form of intermittent fasting is time-restricted fasting, which involves eating within an 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. By abstaining from energy intake for an extended period of time, intermittent fasting helps to stimulate the synthesis of NAD+, leading to the activation of sirtuins that are associated with longevity and improved health span. 

However, it’s important to note that time restriction does not equate to excessive calorie restriction. If you don’t consume enough food during your eating windows, you may increase your risk of muscle loss, lowered bone density and fatigue. After all, intermittent fasting is about when you eat, not how much you eat.

3. Adequate Sleep 

Along with keeping consistent mealtimes, supporting a healthy circadian rhythm through adequate sleep can also boost NAD+ levels. Unfortunately, a third of U.S. adults get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep. As a result of inadequate sleep, NAD+ levels tend to drop. Therefore, I often share with my clients the importance of spending time in natural sunlight during the day, limiting blue light in the evening, refraining from caffeine intake after lunch, and taking magnesium and calming herbs like valerian root, passionflower, and chamomile to support restful sleep.

4. Fermented Foods 

While fermented foods are well-known for their role in improving gut health, they can also increase NAD+ levels. This is because NAD+ is involved in and regenerated during the fermentation process. Therefore, fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and tempeh contain small amounts of NAD+. By adding several of these probiotic-rich foods to your daily menus, you can enhance your NAD+ levels.

5. Foods with NAD+ Precursors 

NAD+ can also be synthesized in the body by consuming foods that contain NAD+ precursors. For example, tryptophan is an amino acid that can be converted into NAD+ by ingesting protein-rich foods, such as soybeans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Another precursor of NAD+ is nicotinic acid or niacin, which you may know as vitamin B3. Several sources of vitamin B3 include legumes, avocados, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.In addition, nicotinamide is another form of vitamin B3 found in peanuts, seeds, leafy greens, mushrooms, and whole grains. Therefore, a balanced diet that contains a variety of protein-rich foods can help to increase NAD+ levels. 

6. Saunas 

One of my favorite ways to replenish NAD+ stores is through regular sauna sessions. Exposure to the elevated heat in saunas can trigger a heat shock response in the body that may influence the activity of enzymes involved in NAD+ metabolism. Some research suggests that the enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase (NMNAT), responsible for the production of NAD+, rises in response to heat—leading to increased NAD+ levels. Therefore, carving out time in the week to get in the sauna is an excellent way to improve your NAD+ status.

7. Limit Alcohol Intake 

When it comes to optimizing your NAD+ levels, what you limit is just as important as what you consume. One substance that can decrease the amount of NAD in your cells when consumed in large amounts is alcohol. The enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of alcohol is called alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme is found in many organs in the body, including the liver, kidneys, brain, stomach, and intestines. When you drink too much alcohol, alcohol dehydrogenase requires large amounts of NAD+ to metabolize the alcohol. Therefore, NAD+ becomes depleted in every visceral organ in the body, which can result in multi-organ injury, DNA damage, and mutations. So, it’s best to keep your alcohol intake at the recommended one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less for men.

***

As you can see, many of the lifestyle strategies that support overall health and wellness also help improve NAD+ levels. From regular exercise to fasting, getting enough shut-eye, a balanced diet, sauna sessions, and monitoring alcohol intake, each of these diet and lifestyle habits can promote longevity and improve the aging process. If you need help incorporating foods that will increase your NAD+ levels, consider signing up for my EG Kitchen Cleanse, which includes a wide array of nutrient-dense, fermented foods that will help your cells obtain the NAD+ they need to thrive.

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