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The Difference Between NAD, NAD+, And NADH

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) functions as an essential cofactor and coenzyme, playing a vital role in fundamental biochemical processes within the body. Researchers hypothesize that its roles are intricately tied to the aging phenomenon, with diminishing NAD levels potentially supporting the aging of our physiological systems.

NAD therapy aims to restore optimal NAD levels, decelerating aging and furnishing cells with the necessary resources to uphold youthful operational levels. The outcomes yielded by NAD therapy are diverse, encompassing enhancements in mood, heightened vitality, refined cognitive clarity, and amplified faculties of memory and focus. Going beyond the observable effects of NAD, an exploration into its intracellular mechanisms beckons, alongside an inquiry into the distinctions among NAD, NAD+, and NADH.

NAD's Role in Your Metabolism

NAD operates within mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses, and can extend the length of telomeres. Telomeres serve as protective caps positioned at the tips of chromosomes, and their size tends to diminish as the body undergoes aging. NAD is pivotal in elevating the functionality of two essential proteins, SIRT1 and PARP 1. SIRT1 is associated with decelerating aging, while PARP 1 is involved in DNA repair processes.

Oxidation and reduction process

Energy production in the body hinges on electron transfer, a fundamental process underlying all chemical reactions. During the exchange of electrons, diverse molecules emerge, while energy is generated concurrently through oxidation and reduction.

Envision oxidation and reduction as a battery exchange. One molecule possesses batteries that are sought by another molecule. Yet, an intermediary is essential to facilitate this battery swap; This is precisely where cofactors such as NAD come into play.

Nonetheless, the significance of oxidation-reduction transcends mere energy generation. On certain occasions, this process aids in neutralizing free radicals (charged molecules with the potential to damage cells) or modulates cellular and metabolic signaling pathways.

Now, armed with this foundational comprehension of oxidation and reduction, let's delve into how NAD harmonizes within this framework.


The term "NAD" is a comprehensive label encompassing various forms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, namely NAD, NAD+, or NADH. It functions as an overarching term in casual discussions involving these compounds.

Nonetheless, in scientific contexts, precision dictates the utilization of "NAD+" or "NADH" to distinctly denote the specific molecule being discussed.

"NAD+" signifies the oxidized state of NAD and plays a pivotal role as a precursor in most chemical reactions involving NAD.

What does oxidized mean?

To be "oxidized" implies that a molecule possesses a chemical arrangement capable of receiving electrons from another molecule. In the case of NAD+, its chemical structure is such that it can accept electrons from alternate molecules, thereby facilitating catalytic reactions in numerous biological processes.

In NAD IV therapy, NAD+ is administered due to its biologically active configuration with catalytic attributes. Upon introduction into the bloodstream, cells can promptly harness this NAD+ variant to energize their functions.

However, as NAD+ takes in electrons, its nature transforms, leading to its reduction and giving rise to an altered version known as NADH.


NADH represents "nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide" (NAD) combined with hydrogen (H). As the name indicates, it is a NAD molecule with assimilated electrons achieved through hydrogen atoms. This transformation leads to NADH adopting a reduced state, diverging from its previous configuration.

What is reduction?

A molecule in a reduced state possesses a chemical arrangement incorporating additional electrons received from a different molecule. In the case of NADH, its chemical structure accommodates two hydrogen atoms and their accompanying electrons. This completion of electron acceptance marks the culmination of the catalytic oxidation-reduction process inherent to NAD.

Oral NAD vs. IV NAD

The information above underscores the significance of maintaining optimal NAD+ levels within the body. While NAD intake through oral supplements and intravenous (IV) administration can enhance NAD+ levels, the effects are not equivalent. The distinction arises from the following reasons.

When you consume NAD supplements orally, the NAD must traverse your gastrointestinal system and navigate its passage into the bloodstream before eventually reaching the specific cells that require it. Throughout this journey, a notable portion of NAD is lost due to challenges such as limited gut absorption, variations in gut emptying rate, factors related to cardiovascular health, and other contributing factors.

Conversely, the reception of NAD through an IV infusion circumvents these challenges entirely. This method directly delivers NAD into your bloodstream, establishing a direct route to your cells that assures complete absorption of the administered substance.



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