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A chemical that occurs naturally in the human body has been identified as providing a wealth of health benefits, including treating disease and sharpening minds.
Humans produce the co-enzyme NADH to help reactions in the body to create energy. NADH is a compound that helps break down food, a process that is crucial for creating the energy that allows us to perform our daily activities. NADH also is important for the breakdown of sugars and fats and for distributing oxygen to tissues.
NADH is used by every cell in the body, and found in all mammals.
For fighting disease, benefits include possible treatment for Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, and Parkinson’s. It also may boost immunity, rejuvenate the liver, and delay signs of aging.
Research shows that it boosts clear thinking, increases alertness, and provides higher concentration and improved memory.
NADH is synthesized from the protein we eat in our diets. A supplement is available that creates the same effect. The supplement -- nicotinamide riboside -- is derived from Vitamin B3.
The recommended dose is 10 mg and studies show it is safe for most people when used relatively short-term, that is, up to 12 weeks. Some studies showed that side effects range from trouble sleeping for those with sensitivity to stimulants, to anxiety and fatigue. NADH has no other known side effects.
Since NADH levels in the body decline as we age, supplementing may trick the body into thinking the levels are higher and the cells will behave as though they were younger. In fact, in one study, mice that were two years old had cells that looked like they were from mice that were six months old.
More studies are needed to tell whether taking NADH supplements are worth the cost and effort, to provide more evidence of the benefits, and whether a longer-term regiment is safe.