NAD is a compound that functions as a “coenzyme” and is essential for enzymes’ functioning. The primary role enzymes play in our bodies is regulating chemical reactions, which allow us to live and breathe! By live and breathe, we mean everything in your body that is functional, including our brains, muscles, central nervous system and everything else.
NAD was discovered in 1906, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that its importance to biology became clear. Euler-Chelpin referred to this as “one of the most widespread and biologically important activators” within plants and animals during his Nobel Prize speech just two years before he died (1932).
The body can produce NAD on its own, but it’s also present in food like Vitamin B3- Niacin or Nicotinamide. So when you eat these healthy nutrients, they help keep your levels high.
Your cells need NAD to power their daily functions, but as you age, this becomes a challenge. Your body produces a lot when you are young, but unfortunately, as we age, NAD production reduces over time. This reduction can lead your cells to struggle for energy which causes them to function poorly.
How is NAD produced?
Nutrients fuel our bodies through the breaking down of the food we eat through a process called cellular respiration. Cellular respiration refers to the breakdown of food items, including glucose, carbohydrates and proteins, into energy storing and internal transporting molecules called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).
Part of the process of cellular respiration is the removal of hydrogen from the digested food, known as oxidation. These hydrogen atoms contain high-energy electrons.
What is the significance of NAD?
NAD acts as the hydrogen atom (or electron) carrier molecules, carrying the high-energy atoms to the cells around the body that need them. NAD can be found in two forms, depending on whether it carries a hydrogen atom.
“NAD+ is the form when not carrying electrons. It collects hydrogen/electrons from nutrients and food molecules we consume, transforming NAD+ into NADH.”
NADH is like a cellular superpower, donating electrons to other molecules, helping them produce energy! This process occurs in every living cell and keeps us healthy.
NADH is like a cellular superpower, donating electrons to other molecules, providing them with the energy they need to function! This process occurs in every living cell and keeps us healthy.
NADH donates its hydrogen atom, then transforms back to NAD+ and starts the cycle again.
Watch a video
Here are two very helpful (in depth!) videos to watch.