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Are Anti-Aging Therapies such as N.A.D., Legit?

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“In studies of yeast, worms, flies and mice, “that replenishing  (N.A.D.) rapidly reverses some aspects of aging,”

First things first. I think the term “anti-aging” is misleading. I am not trying to avoid aging. By supplementing with N.A.D. I am trying to stay healthy while I age.  For someone my  age, 59, I contend with a number of health challenges associated with old age- heart disease, brain damage, muscle weakness caused by nerve damage and others. I am considering adding a supplement called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or N.A.D. in an effort to age healthfully.

According to the NYT article linked and excerpted below, N.A.D supplementation can increase the blood levels of this coenzyme that naturally decline with old age.

I am a long-term cancer survivor of an incurable cancer called multiple myeloma. I exercise frequently (but moderately), I supplement with several anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory nutreceuticals like curcumin, resveratrol and omega-3 fatty acids. I eat lots of fruits and veggies.  My goal is to live as healthy a life as I can for as long as I can. This is called  extending “health span, not life span. 

All to say that yes, I think anti-aging therapies are legit as long as you don’t call them “anti-aging.”

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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“The most common risk factor for serious disease is old age. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurological conditions, diabetes — all increase radically with advancing years. And the older a person is, the more likely he or she is to have multiple chronic illnesses.

Some scientists hope one day to treat all of them at once — by targeting aging itself.

Humans aren’t built to last forever. The oldest person on record was Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. In 2040, the average life span for people in Spain, projected to pass Japan as the country with the longest-lived citizens, will reach about 86 years.

There is considerable dispute, however, over how long humans might live under optimal circumstances. In 2016, a team of scientists declared the upper limit to be 115 years. But in June, researchers reviewing death rates among elderly Italians suggested that there may be no limit at all.

In animal studies over the last few decades, scientists have begun to understand the specific cellular and molecular processes that cause the deteriorations of old age.

In an essay in the journal JAMA last month, Tamara Tchkonia and Dr.James L. Kirkland of the Mayo Clinic categorized these processes into four broad groups: chronic inflammation; cell dysfunction; changes in stem cells that make them fail to regenerate tissue; and cellular senescence, the accumulation in tissue of aging cells that accompanies disease…

Could there be any remedy that removes these old cells while leaving young cells? Several are being tested.

In one study of mice, old cells have been found susceptible to a combination of two drugs: dasatinib, a cancer drug, and quercetin, a plant flavonoid. They improved cardiac function and exercise capacity in old mice, delayed symptoms of osteoporosis and prolonged healthy old age.

“Neither I nor the Food and Drug Administration is interested in calling aging a disease. Our study is to show that we can prevent a composite of age-related diseases — cardiovascular, cancer, cognitive — and ultimately affect mortality.”

Another drug candidate involves a coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or N.A.D. It functions in cell respiration, moving electrons into the mitochondria where energy is produced.

As people age, levels of N.A.D. decline to the point where it is undetectable in the blood of the elderly.

David A. Sinclair, a professor of genetics at Harvard, is working on methods of replenishing those levels. In studies of yeast, worms, flies and mice, “that replenishing rapidly reverses some aspects of aging,” he said. “And now there are trials underway in humans.”

(N.A.D. is already peddled in health food stores, but scientists like Dr. Barzilai say it’s a bad idea to take a nutraceutical to extend life — or even an established medication like metformin — until the clinical data are in.)

“Parts of the body, including the brain, are not designed for long-term use,” he said. “We’re seeing the consequences of pushing the limits of survival: the rise of Alzheimer’s disease, dementias, joint and hip problems, loss of muscle mass.”

“These are not a consequence of failure, but of success,” he added. Dr. Olshansky advocates extending “health span, not life span.”

We will all die. No serious scientist believes in immortality. But we also are closer to assuring healthier old age than ever before.

“There are dozens of companies in clinical trials, or planning them, tackling all the different causes of aging,” Dr. Sinclair said. “I’m optimistic that there will be a few successes in the coming years.”

Therapeutic potential of boosting NAD+ in aging and age-related diseases

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential cofactor in all living cells that is involved in fundamental biological processes. NAD+ depletion has been associated with hallmarks of aging and may underlie a wide-range of age-related diseases, such as metabolic disorders, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Emerging evidence implicates that elevation of NAD+ levels may slow or even reverse the aspects of aging and also delay the progression of age-related diseases.

Here we discuss the roles of NAD+-synthesizing and -consuming enzymes in relationships to aging and major age-related diseases. Specifically, we highlight the contribution of NAD+ depletion to aging and evaluate how boosting NAD+ levels may emerge as a promising therapeutic strategy to counter aging-associated pathologies and/or accelerated aging…”

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