NAD+ is a powerful molecule as we discussed in the last blog. NAD+ declines as we age and that decrease has been associated with the progression of many illnesses. NAD+ depletion specifically affects mitochondria, the energy center of every cell in your body. When NAD+ levels are low your mitochondria’s ability to make energy is compromised. It is well known that Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and MultiSystem Atrophy Cerebellar (MSA-C) are associated with energy production problems. Particular interest to me is Parkinson’s disease and NAD+, as my father suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
My father had a diagnosis of coronary artery disease over 20 years ago, and has been on Statin medication ever since. It is well known that statins deplete coenzyme Q levels in the body (read here for more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096178/) which is one of the molecules involved in the hydrogen ion transport chain which I blogged about on Monday.
Statin use has been found to be a risk factor for the development of Parkinson’s disease for two reasons. One is that ironically increased cholesterol levels are neuroprotective against Parkinson’s, thus lowering cholesterol levels may predispose to the disease (read more here:
https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/870996). Two, statin use has been found to reduce one of the most important cofactors in mitochondrial energy synthesis, CoEnzymeQ (please see the video link in Monday’s blog for a better understanding). NAD+ and CoEnzymeQ work in unison during the generation of energy in your body’s mitochondria, the energy production site of your body).
A Dual proposed mechanism in which NAD+ can be therapeutic to patients with Parkinson’s disease, is that it also acts as a cofactor to the enzyme tyrosine phosphorylase that generates the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is a deficiency of dopamine in the brain that leads to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s, and although studies have yet to definitively reveal evidence that NADH administration will boost the body’s own production of Dopamine, further research is underway given the clear connection between NAD+ levels and dopamine levels in our bodies.
Furthermore, the loss of mitochondria in brain cells has also been found to be a risk factor for the development of Parkinson’s disease. With NAD+ levels high and adequate throughout the body there is less chance of mitochondrial wasting and ultimately the development of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (read more here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322080.php).
Amazingly, NAD+ and CoenzymeQ administration has even been found to improve energy levels in chronic fatigue sufferers (reference: Antioxid Redox Signal. 2015 Mar 10;22(8):679-85. doi: 10.1089/ars.2014.6181. Epub 2014 Dec 18).
As cellular based medical techniques such as Regenerative Medicine become more and more popular, we must be sure to learn as much as we can from nutritional and functional medicine breakthroughs such as NAD+ administration to allow patients to fully heal and prevent disease and ultimately aging.