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NAD and NAD+, what’s the difference according to Dr. Guanchen Sun

With a highly saturated market of supplements and beauty products, it can be overwhelming decided what to take, and with the goal of optimal health from skin to gut – choosing the right supplement and ingredients is crucial.

Dr. Guanchen Sun, Research and Development Director of Biogency – an Australian Biotech company and creators of Australia first NAD+ compounding formula supplement: Synext, shares why we should be including NAD+ into our vitamin/supplement routine.

NAD+ subsequently generates a ray of benefits to the body and Dr. Sun says, rises in NAD+ levels can increase a variety of functions in the body. You will feel your energy levels improve, more stamina, faster recovery, better sleep, reduced brain fog and essentially, you are rewinding your biological clock.

Dr. Sun explains that NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) represents all forms that NAD takes in various chemical processes in the human body. However, supplements may list NAD or NAD+ as the active ingredient. So, is there any difference between NAD and NAD+? The answer is both yes and no.

NAD and NAD+ explained

When referring to ‘NAD’ as an active ingredient in supplements, in the body it can be found in two different molecular structures, one is NADH and the other is NAD+. NADH and NAD+ essentially denote the same chemical that is transformed between different molecular structures. NAD is an essential component in the body’s energy-production process. NAD is initially introduced into the energy cycle as NAD+. NAD+ can be considered the raw form of NAD and acts as a vehicle for delivering essential components to the cells.

As an analogy, the creation of NAD+ is the equivalent of manufacturing the body of a truck, when produced it does not contain any cargo in its bed. However, the driver can use the cargo space required to deliver goods. In this way, the body can use NAD+ to ferry necessary components to the cell enzymes, including mitochondrial enzymes. NADH can be considered the processed, or ‘loaded’ form of NAD+. Using our truck analogy, NADH is a truck with cargo.

As we age our bodies become less able to effectively recycle the consumed NADH back into NAD+, which leads to depleted NAD+ levels. The lack of new NAD+ means the body cannot continue to provide the mitochondria with the necessary resources for healthy operation. This can lead to compromised mitochondria function resulting in damaged mitochondria, reduced energy and other age-related issues which is where products like Synext come into play. Research has demonstrated that a higher NAD+ to NADH ratio is favourable. More specifically, it has been found that low NAD+ to NADH ratios are associated with mitochondrial complications and early aging.

What Is the need For NAD+

The coenzyme NAD+ can be regarded as a helper molecule. Each molecule picks up a hydrogen ion that is charged with an extra electron and in doing so transforms into NADH. This NADH travels to the membrane of mitochondria where the hydrogen ion is ejected and the cell can use it. Through this process, chemical nutrients from food are converted to energy that can be used by your cells for processes such as thinking and moving. After the Hydrogen ion is delivered to the cell the body will attempt to recycle NADH back into NAD+ so it can be used by the body to transfer more ions to the cells. Unfortunately, the efficiency of this recycling process declines with age leading to decreasing NAD+ levels which impacts all NAD+ dependent processes.

It is the mitochondria of the cell that relies on this NAD+ process to create energy. Mitochondria are responsible for creating the energy needed for the cell to function. At the microscopic level, the mitochondria use energy to carry out necessary cell activities to maintain homeostasis and initiate the repair process whenever there is any stress or damage. As discussed, medical science has demonstrated that NAD+ is extremely important to proper biological function. The conversion of food (fat, protein and carbohydrates) into energy can only happen with the help of NAD (through the NAD+ → NADH → NAD+ process). NADH is also required to maintain the body’s blood glucose level at night and generate ketones.

NAD+ is also important to daily metabolic processes too. For instance, NAD+ is critical to the body’s processing of alcohol. The body processes ethanol through the metabolic process of dehydrogenases. Overconsumption of alcohol with reference to NAD+ levels robs NAD+ from other biological processes. The depletion of available NAD+ due to alcohol is the main cause of the collection of symptoms commonly associated with hangovers.

The reason that a NAD+ supplements like Synext are so important is that no matter what or how much you eat, it will have no effect if your cells are unable to release the energy. NAD+ levels decrease with age and as they decrease cell function suffers as well as the other dependent biochemical processes.

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