NAD+ could turn back the clock on cellular ageing.
Many of our bodies’ functions follow circadian rhythms, such as sleep, hunger, food metabolism and body temperature. Circadian rhythms are regulated by biological clocks in each of our cells, which are in turn controlled by a ‘master clock’ in our brain.
Disruption to our circadian rhythms can lead to disturbed sleep schedules and metabolism, with a variety of physiological symptoms. Research has also shown that our circadian rhythms are weakened as we age.
As NAD+ levels also decrease with age, researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University looked at whether boosting NAD+ could restore circadian rhythm functions to a more youthful state.
They gave Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) to older mice, which boosted their NAD+ levels by 4-5 times in their livers, muscles and brains.
Looking at liver and muscle cells, the researchers found that cellular clock activity patterns were more like those of younger mice. Mitochondria, which are the powerhouse of the cell, also slow down in older animals, but the NR supplementation also gave the mitochondria a boost. Liver mitochondrial function in the older mice resembled that of younger animals.
Further research in humans is needed to confirm whether age-related decline can be slowed or reversed by boosting NAD+ levels.