What is NAD+?
NAD+ stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide and is a “helper” molecule or coenzyme that is present in every cell in the body. This coenzyme is critical to the chemical mechanisms and biological processes that our bodies use to produce energy.
Important in cell DNA repair, NADH and NAD+ occur naturally in your body. They play a major role in the chemical process of generating energy and NAD+ is probably the most important co-factor for improving mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are intracellular organelles (a.k.a. “energy powerhouses”) where macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats from food) are converted to energy-rich ATP molecules for the cell. Boosting NAD+ may help manage a wide spectrum of diseases, ranging from diabetes to cancer. When NAD+ is given by IV (intravenous) or IM (intramuscular) injection, some research has shown it can improve mental clarity, alertness, concentration, and memory. Moreover, NAD+ injections can improve athletic endurance and reverse the symptoms of chronic fatigue
Why is NAD+ Critical?
Adenosine diphosphate (ATP) is an organic compound and hydrotrope that provides energy to drive many processes in living cells and is found in ALL known forms of life. Cells in the ADP electron transport chain and mitochondria produce energy by converting ADP to adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This energy production process needs electrons to perform and mitochondria source these electrons from NAD+. Without NAD+, we would die in a very short period of time.
Because NAD+ plays this critical role in energy production, it has numerous health benefits. NAD+ improves physical performance as well as cognitive function. By increasing the levels in the body, it helps improve our physical and mental health and help reverse the aging process.
What does NAD+ do?
First, it turns nutrients into Adeno triphosphate (ATP – the energy currency of each cell). Second, it works with proteins to carry out vital biological processes such as:
- DNA repair
- Participation in mitochondrial function
- Regulates energy metabolism
- Gene expression
- Epigenetic modifications via chromatin-modifying enzymes
- Post-translational modifications
- Calcium signaling
- Maintaining chromosomal integrity
NAD+ activates certain enzymes that may promote healthy aging:
- Offers Protection to the Brain
- Helps to Fight Cancer
- Good for the Liver
- Helps You Sleep and Eat at the Right Time
- Keeps the Ears Healthy
- Increases Metabolism
- Improves Muscle Function
- Benefits to the Central Nervous System
As a person abuses drugs and alcohol, their natural amount of NAD+ is depleted. This makes it more difficult for them to convert the energy that is broken down from food. It is even speculated that people who naturally produce less NAD+ are more likely to develop an addiction and potentially a co-occurring disorder. Other reasons the body’s natural reserve of NAD+ would be depleted are:
- Post-traumatic stress
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Neurodegenerative diseases
All of these co-occurring disorders can drain one’s energy, and there are many ways to boost NAD+ in the body by exercising; eating vitamin-rich foods; fasting; eating protein; eating raw foods. Many of these practices are introduced to people in treatment for substance abuse disorders. For instance, yoga and fitness centers are available to encourage healthy lifestyle practices, boost endorphins and will produce lost NAD+. Dietary plans can include vitamin-rich foods to boost dopamine and can produce NAD+ in the brain. Most patients need roughly 6 to 10 days of infusion to feel effects. Oftentimes, as individuals enjoy the pleasant feelings, they are less inclined to abuse substances.
Why Use NAD Therapy to Treat Addiction?
It has been determined that the excessive use of drugs and alcohol will deplete the body’s natural stores of NAD+. Because of this, the brain cannot receive the same energy it usually would from breaking down food. NAD Therapy floods the brain with the co-enzyme to replenish its stores, providing key effects:
- It flushes out all of the drugs that are still in the user’s system.
- Reduces withdrawal effects, which can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable to tolerate.
- It curbs the cravings for alcohol and opioids and lessens the pain of withdrawal, making recovery easier physically and mentally.
- It allows the body to produce energy more naturally, without a crash or jitters like caffeine and sugar or the negative effects that come with other substances.
Length of sessions vary depending on severity of the addiction and what the clinic recommends. After the initial session, follow ups will be scheduled 1 to 2 months later. These sessions can continue at the discretion of the prescribing clinic.