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NADH Review

NADH Review Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is the active coenzyme form of It is also known as Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide.
Also Known Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide
Description Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is the active coenzyme form of
Typical Dose 10mg

Benefits and Effectiveness

What is NADH?

NADH (the active coenzyme form of vitamin B3), is the shortened name of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide + hydrogen (H). This chemical occurs naturally in the body and it is used by every cell in your body. As a matter of fact, NADH is found in every living mammal. People use NADH supplements as medicine since this plays a role in the chemical process that generates energy. 

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide or NADH has been used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, as well as improving mental clarity, alertness, concentration, and memory. NADH is also used for improving athletic endurance and treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) since it has the ability to increase energy production. Experts believe that NADH is directly related to aging; the older we get, the levels of NADH in our body decline. Therefore, NADH levels and aging are inversely related. Interestingly enough, NADH levels decreases when we age, regardless of our personal health, physical fitness, and diet.

Some people use NADH in opposing alcohol’s effects on the liver and the hormone testosterone; treating jet lag, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Parkinson’s disease; reducing signs of aging; boosting the immune system; and protecting the body against the side effects of zidovudine (AZT), which is a drug used to treat people who have AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

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What are NADH’s key roles in our body?

NADH also plays an important role in the production of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These chemicals are found in our brain and plays an important role in enhancing memory, mood, concentration, and alertness. Users claim that supplementing with NADH helps to elevate alertness and concentration and improve mental clarity.

NADH increases the production of ATP (adenosine-tri-phosphate), which is a valuable fuel that powers the cells in our body, and a continual supply of this crucial element is essential to the proper function of the brain, heart, muscles and nerves, thus, it is beneficial in conditions where there is fatigue or lack of energy, such as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome), and even for athletic performance. And as mentioned earlier, it is also helpful to those who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and jet lag.

What benefits can we get from NADH supplements?

Improves Dopamine production (Neurotransmission, Motor Function) : Studies show that NADH supplements has the ability to increase the production of dopamine. In the brain, dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter and its primary function is to send signals to other nerve cells. Urinary homovanillic acid, a byproduct of dopamine metabolism, is used to measure levels of dopamine. Various researches have been conducted by using intravenous (into a vein) and intramuscular (into a muscle) injections of NADH, other studies have been done with oral NADH, the results are similarly effective. It has also been concluded that NADH provides greater effects on younger people and to those who have near-normal levels of dopamine.

Enhances energy production: It is still not known as to what the true cause of fatigue is, however, it is said that a low cellular energy production or low cellular ATP could cause fatigue. The production of ATP in our body may increase through NADH supplementation. There are two experiments that was conducted to prove this theory. The first was conducted for 12 weeks and the results show significant increase of 30 percent of energy levels of individuals taking NADH supplement.


The second experiment was done by having patients take NADH supplement for 2 years. They have been found to have dramatic improvement on their energy levels.

Improves cognitive function: Two small open (non-blinded; non-randomized) and one small double-blind randomized trial have been conducted on the use of NADH as a dietary supplement to enhance cognition. The double-blind randomized trial showed that after six months, there has been no loss of cognitive function and improvement in visual-constructional ability and verbal fluency over placebo. There were no differences noted on both groups for memory and attention. The results of the other trial were mixed. Of the open trials, one demonstrated no improvement in cognitive functioning and the other one showed some improvements.

Relieves Jet Lag: One study concluded that NADH supplements could enhance cognitive symptoms and sleepiness in people who are suffering from jet lag. However, further studies are needed in order to prove its effectiveness on jet leg. Taking NADH when in a new time zone is not harmful and might be helpful.

Mood support : One open trial that has 204 participants reported some improvements in mood when taking NADH supplement. The fact that NADH could increase dopamine production in the brain, it is logical to conclude that NADH could also increase the production of other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that plays a role in promoting a good mood. On the other hand, further studies should be conducted in order to support this theory.

What is the process through which NADH affects cognitive function? And how does it help enhance mental clarity?

According to a study of Cornell University in New York, if someone suffers from sleep deprivation, their cognitive performance would go down. About one third of all the energy that our body produce is used up by our brain. Because of this, an energy deficiency is first analyzed in the brain with symptoms like mental fog or lack of alertness and concentration. An increase in NADH could help brain cells to function better.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly a third of the adults residing in the United States barely obtain 7 hours of sleep each night, and about 69 percent complains of frequent sleep problems. Another amazing thing about NADH is that it stimulates the production of adrenaline and dopamine. Both of these substances are important for memory boosting and cognitive enhancement.

How does a deficiency in NADH cause problems with energy levels?

As we all know, all living cells need energy in order to stay alive. NADH plays an important role in fueling cells for energy production. Since energy production represents the essential prerequisite for every living cell, then without energy a cell would die.

Oxygen is present in every living cell. NADH works in increasing energy levels is by reacting to oxygen to create a course of responses to both water (H2O) and energy. This energy is stored in the form of ATP or adenosine triphosphate, which is a nucleoside triphosphate used in cells as a coenzyme often called the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer. Experts say that a decrease or loss of NADH results to ATP depletion, which could lead to cell death.

To simplify things, the more NADH a cell has, the more energy it can produce. More recent studies have shown that NADH could increase the energy levels in the cells.

How does NADH differ from other stimulants such as caffeine and how is it better?

There are various reasons as to why NADH is better than other stimulants such as caffeine. Caffeine and other stimulants (energy drinks) can make you feel alert and less tired and can give you a quick boost of adrenaline, however, it is only for a very short period of time. The next cup of coffee could no longer give you the same effects that you have experienced from the first one because your adrenaline pool in the nerve cells has been emptied.

NADH is the only substance that could improve cellular energy since it increases the real ATP energy levels. If cells produce more energy, not only neurotransmitters like adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine are released, but also other components needed to enhance performance. All those other substances called “energy drinks” and caffeine does not have the ability to increase cellular energy. Matter-of-factly, they just act as mere stimulants and triggers the release of adrenaline in the nerve cells. This could cause very high stimulation that could lead to negative effects such as irregular heartbeat.

In addition, aside from energy production, NADH has many more functions. It stimulates the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin, repairs cell and DNA damage, enhances the function of the immune system, and triggers the release of NO or Nitric Oxide which functions to relax blood vessels in various organs such as the brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys.

What are its adverse effects and what precautions should you take when using it?

Most people reported that NADH is quite safe when taken at an appropriate dose of 10mg each day. When used appropriately and for a short-term, NADH seems to be safe. However, there are a few reports that NADH could cause some gastrointestinal problems, nausea, and loss of appetite. For pregnant women and during breast feeding, in order to be safe, it is good to avoid using it. There is not enough information about the use of NADH in pregnancy and breast-feeding.

What is the appropriate dosage when taking NADH supplement?

It is important to keep in mind that supplements and natural products are not always safe and could cause some negative effects in your body when used improperly, therefore, dosages can be important. There are several factors to consider about the dosage of NADH, such as the person’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this point, there is no available guideline for its appropriate dosage. It is vital that you should consult your physician or pharmacist and follow relevant directions of the product labels in order to be safe.


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Reviewer: Kathleen R. RN, PT
Wiki Last Updated: 2016-02-15

NADH Dosage


Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

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