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The Difference Between NAD and NMN

NAD is a powerful molecule that aging researchers equate to having the ability to boost our healthspan – the part of a person’s life during which they are generally in good health.1 Researchers think that an increase in NAD may prolong the amount of time we’re free from the chronic diseases and disabilities associated with aging.

In addition to improving our healthspan, the NAD molecule is touted as having anti-aging properties that could potentially extend our overall longevity. There is evidence to suggest that optimal levels of NAD within our bodies can help slow and even reverse the natural aging process.2

NAD and NMN are both linked to some seriously stunning studies in the scientific realm. So, why are we so far behind in adopting these age-defying molecules into our daily routine?

We’ll also discuss how you can naturally improve NAD and NMN levels within your own body to see the amazing benefits being touted by clinical studies across the globe. But before we can get into the good stuff, let’s talk a little about the difference between NAD and NMN and how that affects our decision to tackle age head-on.

What is NAD?

Infograph: The NAD Cycle
  • Reverse Common Signs of Aging
  • Improve Energy and Endurance
  • Achieve Faster Fat Burning
  • Protect Against Cellular Degeneration
  • Boost Overall Healthspan & Longevity

Are NAD+ and NADH the Same?


The short answer is no. The longer answer is slightly more complex – especially when it comes to health supplements. Although active ingredients may include either NAD+ or NADH, it’s important to differentiate them to determine a supplement’s efficacy.

NAD+ and NADH are both a part of the NAD process. And while they’re two similar yet unique molecular structures, they each have a vital role in our energy-making processes.

NAD+ is a positively charged molecule (hence the plus sign) that acts as a raw carrier or shell that delivers “goods” in the form of mitochondrial enzymes to cells for optimal function.

A transformation happens when the NAD+ molecule “picks up” Hydrogen (H+) along with two electrons. As the positively-charged NAD+ molecule is combined with the positively-charged Hydrogen and two negatively-charged electrons, the molecule is neutralized and thus becomes NADH (without the plus sign).

So, NAD+ can essentially transform itself into NADH, but this transformation can also happen in reverse. Still with us?
As NADH “drops off” its load and is delivered to cells for energy conversion, it then becomes that empty carrier known as NAD+ once again. NAD+ is then free to go off and collect another batch of Hydrogen and electrons that will, in turn, become NADH – a seemingly never-ending part of the mitochondrial process.

NAD is a loose term that can be used for both NAD+ and NADH interchangeably, depending on which phase of transformation the molecule is in.

What Exactly is the Difference Between NAD and NMN?

Should You Take NAD+ or NADH?

NAD is a coenzyme that offers a wide range of benefits. But what makes NAD is just as important. NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) is a direct precursor to NAD+ and supports the production of this life-giving enzyme.

Your body needs both NMN and NAD to thrive. But without NMN, there is no NAD+. While NMN may not be as important in our youth, it becomes all too important as we get older and our NAD stores naturally start to decline.

Think of NMN as a behind-the-scenes facilitator. As a natural NAD+ precursor, NMN helps regulate and maintain all the same processes that NAD+ does.

NMN has its own benefits, too. Aside from simply triggering the body to produce more NAD+, NMN has a positive impact on our insulin production and glucose tolerance – allowing our bodies to convert food into energy more easily.6

Why Supplement with NMN and Not NAD?

We now know some of the health benefits associated with NAD. It’s a vital component in just about every aspect of our well-being with metabolic and anti-aging properties. Whether in the form of NAD+ or NADH, supplementing with NAD has a plethora of positive aspects.

However, there are a few challenges that come with NAD supplementation – the biggest two being stability and absorption.

  • Stability Issues with NAD – To achieve the stability necessary for an effective dose of NAD into the system, intravenous injections may be necessary to reach the bloodstream.
  • Absorption Issues with NAD – NAD molecules are too large to be naturally absorbed intact by the body.

To maximize the effectiveness of supplements, NAD precursors are necessary. NMN supplements, for example, have an increased bioavailability and are much more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Oral NMN supplementation is possible thanks to smaller, more stable molecules. Once NMN is absorbed into the bloodstream, it converts into NAD+. Thus making those anti-aging benefits possible.

NMN supplements are the ideal method of naturally increasing NAD+ levels within your system. As NMN supplements build within your body, you’ll see long-term health benefits thanks to well-regulated amounts of NAD.

What is the Research Behind NAD?

The research behind NAD is more than promising. We know that this life-giving molecule offers a plethora of benefits for our overall well-being. The most commonly talked about and clinically proven advantages associated with increased NAD are:

  • Anti-Aging and Age-Reversing Benefits
  • Improved Heart Health
  • Better Blood Flow
  • Enhanced Metabolism
  • Boosted Brain Health

But, you may be surprised to learn some of the more specific things that an increase in NAD can do for our bodies. Let’s take a look.

What Areas are Being Clinically Studied for NAD?

NAD has been shown to aid in healthy aging, including a longer healthspan and overall longevity. However, the majority of current scientific evidence is based on either in vitro (lab) or animal studies. Pending human trials and studies should help clarify the efficacy of NAD supplementation for a wide range of applications.

We’ll take you on an exploratory tour including:

  • The difference between NAD and NMN
  • The benefits of both NAD and NMN
  • The research behind NAD
  • The potential downsides of NAD
  • The results you can expect from NMN supplements

The future of NAD and NAD precursor supplements is in the hands of research that’s currently underway. However, many people are getting in on the ground floor of this exciting life-giving molecule by taking a proactive approach to their health and well-being.

Who Should Take NAD Supplements?

What is the Downside of NAD?

NAD naturally depletes as we get older. And while supplementation is possible, straight NAD isn’t directly bioavailable to our body’s cells. NAD are larger molecules that need to be broken down by the body before they can pass through cell walls. In addition, NAD+ doesn’t hold up well when passing through the digestive system.

We can’t just pop a pill containing NAD and expect great results. NAD precursors, however, facilitate a natural enzymatic conversion process for optimal absorption.

NAD precursors like NMN supplements can facilitate the following:

  • Boosted NAD production
  • Better NAD+ bioavailability
  • A more regulated increase in NAD

Essentially, NMN supplements offer everything NAD supplements do, but they do it more efficiently. Supplementing with NAD precursors is the ideal way to maintain maximum cellular function as our levels naturally deplete with time.

The Downside of NAD Supplements & Dosages

Researchers understand that NAD has a key role in every living cell in our bodies. However, optimal levels for NAD supplements are still being determined. Scientists know, based on both animal and human studies, that too low of NAD can result in cellular degradation. However, there needs to be a “sweet spot” for any pro-longevity formulation.

Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration to identify optimal supplement dosages, including age, weight, gender, and preexisting conditions.

While more research needs to be done on long-term use of NAD and NAD precursor supplements, there is a general guideline based on age:

  • Those 35 and under can start with 250mg
  • Individuals 35-60 can start with 500mg
  • Adults 65+ may want to start with 750mg

Be aware that a supplement’s dosage isn’t as transparent as it may appear. A supplement that offers 1000mg of NAD at a 5% purity is less effective than a 200mg supplement that offers a 99% purity. Always check the ingredient list and note a product’s purity before buying.

The Downside of NAD Supplements & Cost

The problem with certain NAD supplements (including NAD precursor supplements like NMN and NR) boils down to cost. Supplement manufacturers have a baseline of what their customers are “willing to spend.” And because NAD, NMN, and NR are expensive to manufacture, brands will sometimes opt to “enhance” their formulas with unnecessary filler ingredients.

If you’re on the hunt for a quality longevity supplement, here are a few things to look for:

  • High purity of key active ingredients (90%+)
  • NAD precursors (NMN/NR) rather than NAD itself
  • Minimal “filler” ingredients

In general, you can expect to pay a higher price tag for a longevity supplement that can produce real results. Quality ingredients cost more to acquire and manufacture. Unfortunately, that trickles down to the end user – you. But that extra few dollars a day can be well worth the investment in your current and future well-being.

What Results Can You Expect from NAD
Precursor Supplements?

Does NAD Have Side Effects?

Supplementation with NAD (including NAD precursors) is generally well-received. With that being said, there is limited research on the potential long-term side effects of NAD when it comes to oral supplementation.

Oral dosages of NAD precursors, like NMN supplements, have been shown to be safe and effective in amounts of 900mg in short-term trials. One 60-day study, for example, noted:15

“No safety issues, based on monitoring adverse events (AEs), laboratory and clinical measures, were found, and NMN supplementation was well tolerated.”

No major side effects have been reported with oral supplementation of NAD or NAD precursors. The most noteworthy side effects worth mentioning are associated with direct intravenous (IV) therapy. Those can include;

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping during therapy

It’s always advisable to consult a physician or medical professional if you have any adverse reactions to supplementation of any kind, whether oral or intravenous.

What Happens if You Stop Taking NMN Supplements?

For younger adults, the body still naturally produces semi-adequate levels of NMN. Therefore, stopping supplementation shouldn’t have any direct negative effects. However, NAD levels will start to decline as you get older.

For middle-aged adults 35+, stopping supplementation can gradually negate the potential benefits associated with higher NAD stores. Older adults who are 65+ have a naturally lower amount of NAD in their bodies (about 80% less), making it difficult to maintain optimal well-being once supplementation is stopped.

Regardless of what age you stop taking NMN supplements, the most serious downside is the continuation of the natural aging process. Without NMN supplements to bolster your NAD levels, you’ll likely be more susceptible to age-related concerns.

Breaking Down NMN Supplements
– The Actual NAD Supplement

When examining the difference between NAD and NMN, it’s important to note the similarities as well. Although NAD and NMN are two entirely unique compounds, they work together to ensure optimal cell function in our youth. As we get older, these noteworthy molecules begin to gradually dissipate, leaving us more susceptible to age-related difficulties.

And while NAD is a key component for every living cell in our body, it isn’t viable to supplement with. Between NAD’s poor bioavailability and stability, it becomes necessary to enlist the help of NAD precursors – like NMN supplements – to achieve increased NAD levels.

NMN supplements are the actual NAD supplement we need. NMN supports the body’s natural ability to produce more NAD as we need it. And, with regulated and well-maintained NAD levels in our system, we can expect some pretty amazing things, like:

  • Increased DNA repair
  • More youthful cellular exchanges
  • Enhanced metabolism
  • Improved immune function
  • Anti-aging benefits

NAD is a powerful life-giving compound, but without NAD precursors, there’s not much our bodies can do to keep levels thriving. NMN supplements are the actual NAD supplements that more people need to know about.

In today’s day and age, it’s possible to live longer, happier, and healthier lives. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that increased NAD levels can keep illnesses at bay, maintain optimal physical and mental health, and even reverse age-related decline.16

If you’re looking to achieve a longer healthspan and improve your overall longevity, NMN supplements like GenuinePurity™ Liposomal NMN could help.



About Thomas Arkenis

Avatar photoThomas is a natural health enthusiast and our resident journalist. He's an avid contributor to various traditional medicine conferences and forums, Thomas stays on top of the latest industry trends to bring you the latest product and ingredient innovations.

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