Mention the word health supplements, and we all imagine only benefits. One such supplement is NADH – a form of vitamin. This Buzzle article tries to evaluate the benefits and side effects of taking NADH supplement.
Although the use of NADH supplements is supported by research studies, the findings are not enough to rate the efficacy of NADH. Hence, consult a qualified doctor before incorporating it into your diet.
NADH, acronym for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) + hydrogen (H), is an activated form of niacin (vitamin B3), which is produced in every cell of our body. It is a coenzyme that naturally occurs in the mitochondria―the energy centers of cells. The energy production of cells increases if more NADH is made available to them. So, taking NADH in supplemental form can be beneficial to our health in a number of ways:
Benefits of NADH
As it is found in the cell’s mitochondria, taking it in supplemental form can help promote cellular energy production. It achieves this by increasing the levels of ATP, the energy-carrying molecule within the cell. This increase in cellular energy translates into better physical performance. This energy boosting ability of NADH may particularly help athletes to maximize their performance.
The supplemental form of NADH may also help to treat lack of energy and ongoing fatigue, a common complaint in today’s stress-ridden lifestyle. Due to their capability to enhance cellular energy production, people affected with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and even fibromyalgia may also benefit from using these supplements.
Elevates Mental Alertness
Apart from dopamine, NADH is also crucial for the synthesis of serotonin (the brain chemical that makes you happy) and norepinephrine (deficiency of this brain chemical has been linked to depression and loss of alertness). So taking supplemental form of NADH may contribute in increasing mental alertness, enhancing mood as well as in treating psychological problems.
It is considered to be a natural boost for mental acuity. There have been reports of people experiencing greater ability to recall things, better cognitive function, and higher acuity thinking after regular intake of these supplements. Its ability to enhance mental function may help in treating Alzheimer’s―a condition typically marked by decline in mental health. Impaired mental function commonly associated with people affected with jet lag may also be treated with these supplements.
In one study, a group of 17 athletes were put on a daily dose of 5 mg of NADH for a period of 30 days. After the stipulated time, it was observed that 16 athletes showed a whopping 10-20% drop in reaction times. Moreover, there was noticeable improvement in their ergometric parameters such as peak heart rate and oxygen pulse. The athletes also reported better mental focus and increased alertness. The study was conducted in April 1996, and published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.
Increases Dopamine levels
Clinical studies have proven that NADH has a positive impact on the production of dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for regulating muscle movement. Dopamine is found to be deficient in people affected with Parkinson’s disease―a condition that causes annoying involuntary movement. Since NADH is important for dopamine synthesis, taking it in supplemental form may help treat Parkinson’s disease.
Lowers Blood Pressure
NADH supplements may help in lowering high blood pressure. In clinical studies, it was often observed that when patients were treated with NADH supplement for a specific ailment, their blood pressure also reduced. Dr. Harry Preuss, MD, Chairman of the Department of Nephrology, at Georgetown University Medical Center decided to verify the blood pressure-lowering effects of NADH.
He conducted a study in which one group was put on 5 mg of NADH, while the other was taking a placebo for a period of 11 weeks. In the first week itself, people taking NADH showed an average decrease of 15mm Hg in systolic blood pressure, below the placebo group. After the study was completed, results showed that systolic blood pressure of NADH group decreased and was within the normal limits. Whereas, patients in the placebo group still had a significantly high blood pressure. The study suggests that NADH supplements may help in reducing blood pressure.
NADH also displays blood cholesterol-lowering effects as revealed through animal and human studies. In the human study, again carried out by Dr. Harry Preuss, MD, participants suffering from high cholesterol were put on 5 mg NADH or a placebo. The study was monitored over a period of 8 weeks. At the end of the study, people in the NADH showed a noticeable improvement in their cholesterol disorders. Moreover, NADH has a positive impact on bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels, and were found in the normal range.
A Powerful Antioxidant
NADH displays excellent antioxidant activity, as found out through vitro studies. So adding this supplement to your diet may help to combat free radical damage and slow down the aging process.
Taking a short duration course of NADH supplements is unlikely to cause any side effects. The supplement has a wide margin of safety as side effects in most cases, do not occur when taken in the right dose for up to 3 months. However, there have been reports of side effects, such as difficulty in sleeping, anxiety, upset stomach, and fatigue when it is taken in 10 mg doses. Some also complained about a jittery feeling and over stimulation at 5 mg doses, probably due to excess energy production.
People who have taken this supplement daily at 10 mg dose for an extended duration have experienced insomnia, mood swings, and anxiety. After discontinuing the medication, these side effects were not observed. So it is advised to avoid taking the medication for a prolonged duration.
Decreasing the Risk of Side Effects
In order to minimize the occurrence of side effects, starting the supplement at the lowest dose is recommended. So, initially one may take it at a lower dose of 2.5 mg daily or on alternate days and then slowly increase the dose over a couple of weeks.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a pediatrician.