In recent weeks, there’s been a noticeable upsurge of interest in the anti-aging therapies we offer at WholeHealth Chicago. Maybe it has something to do with pandemic year 2020. Now that we’re vaccinated and peeking our heads out from our hidey-holes, emerging from darkness into light, we sense we’ve lost a year.
Since we can’t time travel to retrieve it, perhaps we’re looking to tack on a few healthy years at the far end. Hence the interest in anti-aging approaches.
Even as the pandemic continues worldwide, we’re living in a time of major breakthroughs when it comes to understanding how we age and also the steps we can take to not only slow down aging, but to all appearances reverse the process.
Some of the most interesting work is coming out of a place you’ve likely never heard of, the Wistar Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, whose website describes itself as “a world leader in early-stage scientific discovery.”
When it comes to aging, the most significant news in recent years has centered on a substance produced in our bodies called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, NAD+ for short. It’s classified as a co-factor, meaning that it helps all parts of your metabolism run efficiently.
Imagine your metabolism as billions of gears running 24/7, from conception to final breath. NAD+ lubricates everything. Without NAD+ you’d be dead, instantly.
Scientists have spent decades researching exactly how we age, taking a deep dive into why some people become old before their time and die quite young even as others are mentally and physically fit as they near 100, sometimes even enjoying a daily cigar and martini.
The current thinking is that, over the years, we age because we’re exposed to a variety of harmful substances (free radicals) that slowly but relentlessly damage our cells. When we’re young, we’ve got plenty of NAD+ to handle damage control. But with the passage of time our bodies simply don’t make enough NAD+ to keep up with the harm to important things, like our DNA and our mitochondria (the power plants inside every cell).
At 50, you have just half the NAD+ you enjoyed as a callow youth. At 80, you’re lucky if you have 5% left.
Here’s how NAD+ acts as an anti-aging agent
It’s a little complicated, but you’ll follow:
- NAD+ is needed to maximize the efficiency of certain proteins called sirtuins that contribute to longevity by maintaining the length of your telomeres. Last week I wrote about telomeres. These are the lengths of DNA at the ends of your chromosomes—like the plastic tip of a shoelace. Telomere shortening is the key marker of cellular aging. When telomeres reach a critically short length, cell renewal stops, leading to accelerated aging and cell death. NAD+ appears to extend telomere length.
- NAD+ regulates your otherwise aging immune system, allowing it to steer a midcourse between overactivity (which can cause autoimmune disease) and underactivity (which can lead to susceptibility to infection and cancer).
- NAD+ maximizes how we get energy from food. As we get older our energy levels can decline. Watching a group of children at play, you wonder aloud where they get all that energy. Basically, they have far more NAD+ than their parents and can extract a lot of energy from just several bites of food.
- NAD+ was recently discovered to not only restore nervous system neurotransmitters, also but to act as a neurotransmitter itself. Here’s an unscientific but enthusiastic article about having a “brain reboot” with intravenous NAD+.
Raising your NAD+
The fastest and most efficient way to raise your NAD+ is to begin a series of intravenous (IV) treatments, usually a total of five, over a period of ten days, followed by a combination of maintenance IVs (once monthly) and nutritional supplements you take by mouth.
There are two NAD+ IV potencies, regular strength and high strength. For people looking for an anti-aging therapy, the regular is fine. If you have a chronic health issue of virtually any kind, however, the higher-strength NAD+ IV treatment is probably a better choice.
NAD+ delivered via IV is offered worldwide and you can find treatment centers near any urban area.
Lifestyle changes can boost NAD+ too
The process will be slower and the results less dramatic than with IV infusions, but considering the benefits of healthy NAD+ levels, you might as well get started on all of these, which have been shown to raise NAD+
- Regular exercise.
- Following a low-carb ketogenic diet. Being in ketosis, in which your body uses fat instead of glucose for energy, increases your NAD+. Here’s a keto meal plan for beginners.
- Practicing intermittent fasting. Click here for a guide to intermittent fasting.
- Eating foods high in NAD+ including milk, fish, chicken, yeast, green vegetables, cremini mushrooms, and fermented foods like sauerkraut.
- Supplementing with an NAD+ precursor (building block) called nicotinamide riboside, a variation of vitamin B3. You’re likely already taking supplements known to affect telomere length and wellbeing. These are mainly antioxidants (vitamins C, E, and D) but also omega-3s, turmeric (from curcumin), and resveratrol (from grape skins). NAD+ itself isn’t available as a supplement because the delicate molecule is destroyed during digestion.
We offer NAD+ IV infusions at WholeHealth Chicago. Though we’ve priced our NAD+ series competitively, two advance warnings: the infusions are not covered by insurance and you need to allow three hours for each session, so bring your phone, laptop, or book or just plan a long meditation.
We offer two different doses in IV form. The high dose (for chronic illnesses of any type) is $900 per treatment or $3,235 for five infusions. Normal dose (for anti-aging benefits) is $525 per treatment or $3235 for five infusions. The effect of an NAD+ infusion seems to last three to four weeks, so once you’ve raised your levels at the beginning, continue infusions on a monthly basis
You don’t have to be a WHC patient to schedule IV NAD+. Just call and set up an appointment.
David Edelberg, MD