|This article is copyright © Nils Osmar 2019.
If our goal is to raise the levels of NAD in our bodies, is it workable to just buy some NMN or NR?
Or do we also need to take resveratrol, apigenin, TMG, and a bunch of other things along with it?
And (if we are taking NMN) is it better to buy capsules or buy some powder in bulk?
There are several things to consider, in my estimation. If you have the cash, a comprehensive strategy might include:
- TAKING NAD BOOSTERS (such as NR, NMN, Niacin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Rutin, and Pau D’Arco) NOTE: I’ve stopped taking NR because of a study showing that it decreased, rather than increasing, endurance during exercise.
- Niacinamide is also a NAD booster, but it appears to depress sirtuin genes, so most researchers do NOT recommend taking it.
- TAKING NAD PROTECTORS (like apigenin) (protects NAD by deactivating CD38 – see note below)
- TAKING NAD ACTIVATORS (such as resveratrol, pterostilbene, olive oil and avocado oil)
- RESTORING METHYL GROUPS (by taking folate or TMG)
- Doing ACTIVITIES to keep NAD levels high, such as fasting, HIIT exercise, cold showers, saunas.
“Should we buy NMN in bulk powders? Or as capsules?”
- Many of the companies that sell NMN powders in bulk are located in China, which has a known problem with products being contaminated or mislabeled. (Of course, some supplements sold in the U.S. can have similar problems.) (Personally, at this time, I am taking Doublewood NMN at the moment, and believe it to be of high quality.) (I’m not being paid anything to recommend them.)
- NMN needs to be kept refrigerated or, better yet, kept frozen. If it is allowed to warm up to and stay at room temperature for very long, it can actually be harmful, according to David Sinclair, because heat degrades it into plain nicotinamide. And some studies have suggested that nicotinamide (by itself) dampens sirtuin activity in the body.
- Buying a large quantity of NMN in bulk can be problematic if people aren’t careful about this. If you buy small bottles, you can just put them in the coldest part of the freezer and leave them there until needed. If we have one big container, we need to take extra precautions. Sinclair has said that if we buy in bulk, we should not, for example, remove the container from the freezer to scoop out some NMN, but try to keep it cold even when we’re scooping the powder out of it.
“Is NMN (or NR) enough? Or should we also take Apigenin?”
- NMN/NR and apigenin (a natural compound found in parsley and some other foods) work along different lines.
- NMN and NR both work by providing the raw materials, in a large quantity for the body to make more NAD.
- Apigenin works be deactivating a compound called CD38 which destroys NAD in the body.
- Raising NAD levels without simultaneously preventing CD38 from destroying NAD seems (to me) a bit like bailing out a sinking boat without plugging the leak.
- If your NAD levels are already high, both may not be needed, but as we age our CD38 levels shoot up. So it seems best, in my estimation, particularly if you are over 50, to take both a NAD booster and a NAD protector.
- NOTE: Some companies have started incorporating apigenin in their formulas for this reason. But you don’t have to buy it as a supplement; just add a teaspoon or two of dried parsley to your food, being careful not to overheat it.
“Why do some people take methyl boosters along with NMN and NR?”
- NMN and NR are both forms of B3. This means that the body uses up methyl groups to metabolize them.
- For this reason, it can be good to also take some TMG (trimethyl glycine) or folate to restore our depleted methyl groups. (People who don’t do this sometimes report headaches, fatigue and other problems after taking NMN or NR for a while).
- Remember that taking NAD boosters does little if anything for the body unless you take it along with a NAD activator such as trans-resveratrol. (It’s possible that quercetin may also help activate NAD.)
“Do we need to take NAD boosters (etc.) every day?”
- No one knows, really. In lab studies, animals were fed NMN every other day with good results. But it’s hard to extrapolate from lab animals and be sure what will work best for people. But it’s worth noting that David Sinclair has said he takes breaks from taking NMN and resveratrol now and then.
- Sinclair has never recommended a particular dose of NMN or NR. (In fact, he has never recommended that people take either supplement at all.) He has said, though, that people taking 250 mg of NMN are probably not getting much benefit.
- Based on this statement, and a review of the studies, my conclusion is that while it may be fine to take NMN every day, if you’re budgeting, it would be better to take 500 mg of NMN every other day, rather than taking 250 mg or less every day.
- In my own case, my current protocol is to take NMN, resveratrol and TMG for three or four days; then take Pau D’Arco, resveratrol and TMG for two or three days; then take a couple of days off; then cycle back to the NMN, resveratrol and TMG again.
- But again –– this is just my best guess based on the studies I’ve read. At the time that I’m writing this, I’m 66 years old; male; 6′ tall; 183 pounds. Your specs are likely different, and your mileage may vary.
- For some additional thoughts about NMN dosage, please see this article.
So it’s best, in my estimation, to take all of the above:
- a NAD booster such as NMN or NR (alternating with Pau D’Arco, if you want a break) (I take 8 mg of NMN per kg of body weight per day, on my NMN days, which in my case comes to about 850 mg).
- a NAD activator such as trans-resveratrol (possibly alternating with pterostilbene – though I’m not aware of any studies showing that pterostilbene is a NAD activator) (remember to take the trans-resveratrol along with some fat, so that it will be absorbed) (I take about 750 mg/day.)
- a source of methyls such as folate or TMG.
- a source of apigenin (such as dried parsley).
P.S. Remember that there are also some ways to increase your NAD levels without spending any money. See the links below.