NAD+ Levels Relate To Physical Activity, Study Finds

Brian Tunney
Brian Tunney
4 minute read
May 12, 2022
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Updated May 2024

New research suggests that NAD+ levels correlate not only with age but also with physical activity. In a study published in Nature Aging, researchers found a clear association between NAD+ levels and health status in human aging. Specifically, older adults who exercised had NAD+ levels similar to those found in younger individuals.

What is NAD+?

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) is an organic molecule found in every cell of the human body. As a “helper” molecule, NAD binds to and activates other enzymes that convert nutrients into energy, support metabolic health and repair damaged DNA. Unfortunately, NAD levels decline with age, potentially leading to metabolic disorders, brain fog, loss of energy and the progression of various age-related degenerative disorders.

“Without NAD, life would cease to exist,” says Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., of Found My Fitness.

This new study investigates how NAD+ levels in our muscles change as we age. Researchers recruited 52 participants, dividing them into four groups: 12 young adults aged 20-30, 17 older adults aged 65-80 with normal physical activity levels, 17 older adults with above-average physical activity levels, and 6 older adults with low physical activity levels.

For reference, older adults with above-average physical activity completed at least three one-hour exercise sessions a week for the past year, while those with normal physical activity levels completed at least one one-hour exercise session per week. Adults with low physical activity levels scored under 9 on the Short Physical Performance Battery Test.

Additionally, both young adults and normally active older adults averaged around 10,000 steps daily. Older adults with above-average physical activity were significantly more active, averaging over 13,000 daily steps.

Researchers conducted deep metabolomic analysis, measuring levels of more than a hundred metabolites. NAD+ was among the metabolites most downregulated with aging. NAD+ levels were not only correlated with aging but also depended on the amount of physical activity. While there was a significant difference in NAD+ levels between young adults and normally active older adults, older adults with above-average physical activity had NAD+ levels almost on par with the younger group. The physically impaired older adults had the lowest recorded NAD+ levels.

According to the study, “Most metabolic changes that occur with age in muscle can be reversed with regular exercise training.” This finding implies that NAD+ levels are linked to exercise, though more long-term research is needed. The study concludes that there is a correlation between NAD+ levels and physical activity. In theory, physical activity may help increase NAD+ levels, at least in skeletal muscle. 

For those looking to boost their NAD+ levels, NAD+ IV Drip Therapy might help fight signs of aging, support cellular health and enhance mood and energy.

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