Health and fitness trainers know it takes a multi-faceted approach to ensure that athletes reach their full potential. It’s not just hours of training that ensure they perform at their peak. There’s a psychological side to it too, and mental focus and resilience, all major contributing factors to success. This is where NAD comes in.
In this article, we’ll unpack what NAD is, how it works, and why athletes need to give their NAD levels a boost.
We’ll deep dive into the impact of NAD on the body and its effect on metabolism, inflammation, energy levels, and cardiovascular and neurocognitive function. Plus, we’ll expand on what to look for in a NAD supplement and why not all NAD supplements are equal.
Our aim is to highlight why NAD is important for athletes and why the science behind this coenzyme backs it up.
NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It’s often referred to as a “helper molecule” or a coenzyme because it has the capability to bond with other enzymes in the body, assisting with a host of bodily functions.
NAD has become the subject of much scientific interest due to its dynamic functionality in human biological processes. It has been studied for decades, but we have only begun to tap into its full potential in recent years.
How Does NAD Affect the Body?
NAD has myriad benefits to biological functioning, especially for athletes. It is naturally produced by the body, but natural NAD production wanes as you age.
Some of the most notable benefits of NAD supplements include:
- Combats cognitive decline
- Boosts energy levels
- Increases focus and motivation
- Cell regeneration
- Combats inflammation
- Reduces natural processes of aging
NAD and Neurocognition
As you get older, it’s natural for your cognitive functioning to decline. It becomes harder for your brain to build strong neural pathways, leading to a reduction in memory and concentration. There is empirical evidence to suggest that NAD supplements can combat this natural side-effect of aging.
As an athlete, maintaining mental clarity is a priority, especially for running long distances or in endurance races. Focus improves motivation and motivation improves performance. A boost in focus, mental clarity, and motivation is, therefore, a significant advantage.
Can you imagine how much easier it would be to perform at your best without the weight of mental fatigue dragging you down? You wouldn’t have to continually use your energy to re-focus, and you’d feel more energized and in control at all times.
NAD, Energy Levels, and Metabolism
NAD binds with enzymes to improve the efficiency of metabolic processes, allowing your body to make better use of glucose, glutamine, and fatty acids. The enhancement of these metabolic reactions leads to greater levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the molecule responsible for carrying energy around your body to where it’s needed.
In other words, NAD improves the processes by which energy from food is utilized, allowing your body to transport more energy to more cells in a shorter time. This means that you have more energy available for both passive and active bodily functions.
The implications of this for athletes are extensive. Instead of being stored in fat cells, the energy from food becomes available for you to use while running or training. This means that you’ll have the ability to perform better, you’ll have more stamina, and your muscles will not fatigue as quickly. It also means that you have greater control over maintaining your ideal weight as your metabolism is functioning at its optimum.
NAD, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Health
Inflammation is a major issue for athletes and it can hinder performance, reduce ability, restrict training or competing, or even be a sign of a medical condition. Reducing inflammation is key to being a better athlete, and NA can assist here too.
NAD supports the cellular processes that help your body get rid of defective mitochondria and other problematic organelles that cause unwanted inflammation. The increase in inflammation within the body affects many vital organs, joints, and other bodily structures. Inflammation of the heart and lungs causes a decrease in cardiovascular efficiency, while inflammation of joints and tendons causes inflexibility and pain.
NAD slows the natural increase of inflammation in your body as you age, which in turn improves your stamina and flexibility while decreasing stiffness and pain.
Which NAD Supplements Should You Be Taking?
Not all NAD supplements are as effective as others, but how do you know which ones are right for you?
There are inferior-quality products flooding the supplement market and you should steer clear of these. While they may not actually be harmful, they won’t improve your performance, nor will they offer any benefits. You may come across NAD supplements that also include ingredients such as turmeric, copper nicotinic acid, and resveratrol. While these are complementary ingredients that offer their own benefits, you need to check the volumes of each. They may have a higher concentration of these ingredients and a lower percentage of NAD.
Ideally, look for a supplement that’s manufactured by an industry leader with an excellent reputation. It’s also always wise to go for supplements that are backed by scientific studies. Alive By Science is a brand that ticks both these boxes, and they utilize customer feedback to ensure they offer the most effective products. Plus, their products are non-GMO, 100% natural, and gluten and vegan-friendly too—something that not all brands can attest to.
Maximizing Athletic Performance With NAD
NAD for athletes can help with an expansive range of cellular processes that it almost seems too good to be true. However, the science speaks for itself. If you want to alleviate the natural decline associated with aging and improve your athletic performance, then taking NAD supplements should be high on your list of priorities.
An increase in bio-available NAD can improve cardiovascular health, cognitive function, metabolism, energy levels, liver health, and stave off age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, myocarditis, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
The benefits of NAD are seemingly endless. And as every athlete knows, keeping your body and brain in peak condition is crucial to maintaining performance levels.
About the Author:
Lara Garcia is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics in the health & wellness, mindfulness space. When she’s not writing, you can find her volunteering at her local animal shelter or at the dog park with her two rescues, Boris & Bogart.