LIVING LONGER: INCREASE NAD+ LEVELS NATURALLY – USING APIGENIN AND PARSLEY


NAD levels are high in our bodies when we’re young, and decline precipitously as we get older.  NAD is essential to the functioning of our mitochondria. So many people are experimenting with raising their NAD levels to see if it might add some healthy years or decades to their lives.

For those wanting to boost their NAD levels inexpensively, one little known NAD booster is APIGENIN. Natural food sources of apigenin include  parsley, celery, grapefruit, and chamomile tea.

Some NAD boosters (including NR, NMN, Niacin, Niacinamide, and Pau D’Arco tea) work by providing the body with the components it needs to make NAD. By contrast, apigenin works by lowering our levels of CD38, and enzyme which degrades NAD in the body. (CD38 enzymes increase in the body as we’re getting older, and are likely one of the reasons we have such low NAD levels in our later years.)

So one inexpensive strategy for those wanting to explore the benefits of higher NAD levels may be to take compounds that increase NAD (such as NMN, NR or Pau D’Arco) along with sources of apigenin to keep the NAD we’re already producing from being degraded by CD38.

DRIED PARSLEY is the richest natural source of apigenin; it has 137.7 mg per gram, or 13,770 mg per 100 grams, according to this study. It is ten times higher in apigenin than fresh parsley, which has around 13-15 mg per gram. Using the dry weight estimate of 4.2 grams equalling a teaspoon, one teaspoon of organic DRIED parsley would give you 575 mg of apigenin. Fresh parsley would just give you about 59 mg.

NOTE: If cooking with parsley, and trying to optimize your apigenin levels, don’t overcook it. Lower the heat, then add the parsley in the last minute or so of cooking, since apigenin is destroyed by heat.

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. 

You can buy apigenin as a supplement. It’s very affordable, about 10 cents for a 50-mg capsule. But it’s far more economical to just use dried parsley, which has 12 time as much apigenin, for the same price. 


For those looking for a beverage the provides lots of APIGENIN, one possibility would be making your own parsley tea. (Just steep parsley in hot water for a few minutes, then strain and drink). (Don’t use boiling water, though, or you’ll destroy the apigenin.)

Another option, if you don’t want to do your own juicing, is to buy some SUJA ORGANIC UBER GREENS JUICE. It has a number of ingredients that are high in apigenin, including celery, grapefruit and parsley. (It’s also rich in other phytonutrients.)

It tastes… intense. About like you’d expect, with all that raw chard and kale and spinach in it.

To increase the apigenin levels, I’ve also been adding a tablespoon of parsley to each bottle before drinking it. I also add in a little Redmond Real Salt to make it more palatable (and increase the healthy mineral content).

  • One drawback is that kale, in its raw form, is goitrogenic, and can be damaging to the thyroid. So you wouldn’t want to live on it. But having a glass of greens juice now and then is an easy way of adding a bunch of phytonutrients to the diet, for those who are not trying to stick to carnivore diets.
  • The full list of ingredients (from Suja’s website) is: Organic Cucumber Juice, Organic Celery Juice, Organic Grapefruit Juice, Organic Green Chard Juice, Organic Green Leaf Lettuce Juice, Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Kale Juice, Organic Spinach Juice, Organic Parsley Juice, Organic Tea (Purified Water, Organic Peppermint Tea Leaf, Organic Spearmint Tea Leaf).

MY EXPERIENCE WITH EATING PARSLEY

This is purely anecdotal, but as I was typing this I remembered that 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. I’d sometimes have to lie down for a few hours to recover.

Eating parsley after a sugary meal would level out my blood glucose, prevent the “crash,” and I could skip the afternoon nap. I learned later that I felt better and functioned better if I cut sugar entirely out of my diet.


HOW MUCH TO EAT?

I’m currently taking 2 teaspoons of dried parsley a day, along with 500 mg of NMN and 500 mg of resveratrol. (When I make scrambled eggs, I lower the heat, add dried parsley, and cook for one more minute.) (When I’m not having eggs, I mix two teaspoons in a small glass of tomato juice and drink.)

One teaspoon has 575 mg of apigenin (according to the figures in the study cited above). So I should be getting a little over a gram of apigenin. There’s no way of knowing whether this is an ideal dose. It’s an N=1 experiment. I’m experimenting on myself since parsley is GRAS (generally recognized as safe). I am not recommending that anyone else take this much, or even eat parsley at all – just reporting what I’m doing, and my rationale.


SIDE NOTES AND CAVEATS

  • It’s possible that large doses of apigenin could be toxic. (It appears to be in mice). See this article.
  • Women of childbearing age may want to be aware of a possible connection between parsley and ending pregnancies (see link below).
  • Since posting this article, I’ve learned that some studies estimate the amount of apigenin in parsley and other herbs as being much lower.  They are using a different method of analysis, which may account for their different results. For the time being I’m assuming that the study I cited is accurate, but this may turn out to be incorrect.