GDR CEO Kate Ancketill puts the anti-ageing credentials of NAD+ to the test.
According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch: “One of the biggest investment opportunities over the next decade will be in companies working to delay death. With a market size already at $110 billion, it is expected to be worth at least $610 billion by 2025”. Anti-ageing (by which I mean slowing or even reversing ageing) and human improvement will, I believe, dominate health and wellness trends in the coming decade, and will influence the decision-making of brands, retail and hospitality operators in this space. NAD+ is one of the most promising advances to date in this field so I wanted to check it out for both personal and professional purposes.
What is NAD+?
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but it’s the vitamin B3 variant that is starting to make its presence felt not just in the scientific world, but also among medical entrepreneurs. It’s a naturally occurring substance in every cell in the human body. It’s our natural repair mechanism, and without it, we’d expire in minutes.
University of New South Wales and Harvard Professor of Genetics David Sinclair has been named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He believes we can prevent all the diseases of old age by essentially reversing the cellular damage that occurs in our bodies as we suffer the ravages of time; environmental toxins, stress, sloth and all-too-human lifestyle choices. This would mean not succumbing to cancer, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s and all the other ailments that come with the onset of decrepitude.
Professor Sinclair’s book, Lifespan: why we age and why we don’t have to, talks about how, in middle age your NAD+ levels are about half of what they were when you’re young. By bolstering the supply, you essentially clean up the genetic damage your lifestyle, environment and time have done to you at a cellular level.
Replicating the ‘blue zones’
We all know that some living plants and animals seem to age very slowly; there are (literally) immortal jellyfish, and mammals that live well into their second or even third century. There are seven ‘blue zones’ in the world – where centenarians remain in sprightly good health: Okinawa in Japan, Ikaria in Greece, the Ogliastra Region in Sardinia, Loma Linda in California and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. To date, research indicates the causes of blue zone longevity to be a combination of active lifestyle, Mediterranean diet, absence of stress and presence of community.
Ageing, Sinclair believes, is an illness that can, and should, be cured. With NAD+ he’s managed to double the lifespan of lab-mice. These old mice aren’t grumpy, overweight and greying; they’re breaking their exercise wheels and retaining their youthful vigour. It’s healthspan that matters of course – not just lifespan. Think 80-year-olds with the health and energy of a 30-year-old. If you look at the image of David Sinclair above, it’s hard to believe he’s 50. And on the inside, he isn’t. His internal functions have been tested and shown to have the markers of a 30-year-old.
Putting NAD+ to the test
Mice aren’t humans, you might be thinking. Well, human trials are ongoing, with promising early results and there’s certainly a buzz among those who’ve tried NAD+. B8ta, a chain of stores in the US selling smart tech innovations not otherwise available offline told me their NAD+ supplement called Basis (which was created by a company called Elysium, founded by David Sinclair’s boss) is a best seller.
So who amongst us wouldn’t be at least intrigued at the idea of getting some of that ‘blue zone’ benefit? It’s not wildly expensive in the form of capsules, equivalent to a good multivitamin. Infusions are pricey, and currently aimed at the higher net worth executive type, but they deliver a much higher dose.
Once you’ve experienced an infusion (for example from www.nadclinic.com) you realise why they’re expensive. It’s a skilled job for highly trained medical professionals. Look away now if you’re needle-phobic. There’s no getting away from it; infusions require the insertion of a canula into the inner elbow, wrist or back of your hand, and needles aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. NAD+ infusions can be hard for some people to tolerate (harder for women than men apparently); you feel it as soon as it enters the bloodstream; for me it felt like a heavy liquid. Not painful, but it’s definitely an odd feeling. It can take a couple of hours, either at the clinic or in your own home, where the nurse keeps an eye on you while you read, watch TV or work. You get used to it the more you do it, but you wouldn’t do it for fun. You do it for the results.
My NAD+ verdict
So what are the results? Within a week or two of taking the capsules earlier this year I felt more energetic. I couldn’t just collapse in front of the TV of an evening. I was hamster wheeling. It was the first winter of my adult life I avoided colds, although this may well have been due to lockdown. I have no way of clinically proving a link, but there’s no longer any sign of the osteo-arthritis pain that used to wake me up each morning. My husband has also been taking the supplements for eight months. He too reports more energy and his skin has transformed. The dryness which resisted every type of cream has disappeared.
Since I had three NAD+ infusions a couple of weeks ago, administered by the NADclinic, my sleep pattern has noticeably changed. We’re talking text-book great sleep; passing out within minutes, waking up full of beans seven hours later. My skin looks better than it has in years. Considering the state of the world, I feel more chipper than is seemly – I feel almost guilty about feeling so good. It may be placebo, but if so, I’ll take it.
For those not inclined to pills and potions, but who are keen on the idea of cellular level rejuvenation, and perhaps feeling the need for some extra immunity in the Covid era, the good news is – you can boost your NAD+ naturally, according to Professor Sinclair. You may not like it though. Regular strenuous exercise, calorie restriction, consuming a third less food on a frequent basis, and extreme cold, like taking a walk in the snow in your t-shirt, or a three-minute freeze in a cryotherapy chamber will do it. It’s not for nothing that the NADclinic has just entered a partnership with a Cryo company.
Watch this space as GDR continues to monitor and report on new approaches and delivery mechanics for getting more NAD+ into consumers’ hands, or rather, their cells. If you’d like to discuss this topic more with me, please do drop me a line at email@example.com