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How a Sedentary Lifestyle Zaps NAD+ and What You Can Do About It

Mar 23, 2023
How a Sedentary Lifestyle Zaps NAD+ and What You Can Do About It
You may not be familiar with NAD+, but it is key to your energy and health. And if you’re sedentary, there’s a good chance you don’t have enough to meet your needs. Here you’ll learn three ways to boost your NAD+

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: Your energy and vitality hinge on a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). In fact, NAD+ is essential for so many body functions that a deficiency significantly affects your health.

Our holistic medicine specialists at SYNC, Angie Huff, PharmD, and Jenny Theriot, NP, specialize in evaluating your NAD+ levels and creating personalized treatment plans that support your health by restoring normal levels.

Here, they cover the basics about NAD+, look at the reasons your NAD+ levels drop (including lack of exercise), and suggest three steps you can take to raise NAD+ levels.

Why you need NAD+

Every life-sustaining activity in your body, from digesting and absorbing nutrients to building proteins and healing, happens through chemical reactions. There are multiple steps in every reaction and each step requires the right amount of specific substances. NAD+ is one of those substances.

NAD+ resides in every cell in your body, where it’s essential for more than 500 reactions. This amazing molecule helps regulate nearly every crucial function, working as a coenzyme, triggering and accelerating reactions that:

  • Produce energy
  • Repair DNA
  • Protect cells from toxins
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Produce neurotransmitters
  • Keep your brain, nerves, heart, and other organs working

And those are only a few of the many reasons your body needs NAD+. If you don’t have enough, one or more aspects of your health suffer.

Low NAD+ levels put you at risk of problems such as:

  • Infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Dementia
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

A deficiency in NAD+ also promotes chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Causes of low NAD+

NAD+ levels naturally decline as you get older. You also lose NAD+ when you’re under stress, whether due to a chronic health condition, surgery, an illness, or even intensive athletic training.

Your body needs niacin (vitamin B3) to produce NAD+. If you don’t consume enough niacin — or the other nutrients needed to convert tryptophan into niacin — your NAD+ levels drop. 

You could be at risk of a niacin deficiency if you have a health condition that disrupts nutrient absorption, like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

And finally, a sedentary lifestyle can drain NAD+.

Lack of exercise causes low NAD+

There’s no doubt that your lifestyle has a direct impact on NAD+ levels. A sedentary lifestyle lowers NAD+, while people who stay active have higher levels.

The experts don’t know all the details about how exercise affects NAD+, but they know it’s partly explained by the complex chemical reactions that occur throughout your body, especially in your muscles.

An enzyme called nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is needed to produce NAD+. It turns out that chemical reactions occurring in your muscles during exercise raise NAMPT (and subsequently NAD+). NAMPT levels decrease in people who don’t exercise.

How to boost NAD+

We recommend three steps for increasing your NAD+:

1. Restore nutrients

Since nutrients are vital for NAD+ production, not to mention your overall health, we typically do micronutrient testing to identify possible deficiencies. 

If you’re low in any nutrient, especially those needed to produce NAD+, we suggest dietary changes, medical-grade supplements, and/or IV therapy to quickly treat deficiencies.

2. Get regular exercise

As we explained above, physical activity isn’t negotiable. You need to move every day to increase NAD+ levels. But don’t jump into strenuous activities that stress your system.

Simply walking every day makes a difference. NAD+ levels rise in relation to the number of steps you take each day, so start out at a pace you can manage and gradually add more steps.

Adults with depleted NAD+ due to aging can significantly improve their levels with a combination of aerobics and resistance exercises.

3. NAD+ infusions

If your NAD+ levels are moderately to severely low, you can dramatically boost your levels with an intravenous (IV) infusion. IV therapy allows us to give you the precise dose you need, while sending NAD+ directly into your bloodstream ensures you get the benefit of the full dose.

To learn if you need more NAD+, call our Baton Rouge, Louisiana, office or use online booking to schedule a consultation today.