NAD+ works as a shuttle bus within your cells, transferring electrons from one molecule to another to perform various reactions and processes. For example, NAD+ is particularly important for energy generation.
NAD+ also serves as fuel to activate sirtuins, a family of proteins connected to healthy ageing and longevity. Sirtuins use NAD+ to regulate metabolism, maintain genomic stability, and repair damaged DNA.
NAD+ can also stabilise telomeres, the repetitive DNA sequences that act as protective caps at the ends of chromosomes—similar to the tips of a shoelace. Telomeres shorten each time a cell divides, ensuring that cells can only divide a limited number of times. But when telomeres become too short and cells can no longer divide, the result is senescence, or cell death—a process that contributes to ageing and disease.
Other functions of NAD+ include neurotransmitter synthesis, extracellular signalling, and regulating our circadian rhythm, which controls our body’s sleep/wake cycle.