DOI: 10.1210/endrev/bnad019 ISSN: 0163-769X

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide in Aging Biology: Potential Applications and Many Unknowns

Shalender Bhasin, Douglas Seals, Marie Migaud, Nicolas Musi, Joseph A Baur
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Recent research has unveiled an expansive role of NAD+ in cellular energy generation, redox reactions, and as a substrate or cosubstrate in signaling pathways that regulate health span and aging. This review provides a critical appraisal of the clinical pharmacology and the preclinical and clinical evidence for therapeutic effects of NAD+ precursors for age-related conditions, with a particular focus on cardiometabolic disorders, and discusses gaps in current knowledge. NAD+ levels decrease throughout life; age-related decline in NAD+ bioavailability has been postulated to be a contributor to many age-related diseases. Raising NAD+ levels in model organisms by administration of NAD+ precursors improves glucose and lipid metabolism; attenuates diet-induced weight gain, diabetes, diabetic kidney disease, and hepatic steatosis; reduces endothelial dysfunction; protects heart from ischemic injury; improves left ventricular function in models of heart failure; attenuates cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disorders; and increases health span. Early human studies show that NAD+ levels can be raised safely in blood and some tissues by oral NAD+ precursors and suggest benefit in preventing nonmelanotic skin cancer, modestly reducing blood pressure and improving lipid profile in older adults with obesity or overweight; preventing kidney injury in at-risk patients; and suppressing inflammation in Parkinson disease and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Clinical pharmacology, metabolism, and therapeutic mechanisms of NAD+ precursors remain incompletely understood. We suggest that these early findings provide the rationale for adequately powered randomized trials to evaluate the efficacy of NAD+ augmentation as a therapeutic strategy to prevent and treat metabolic disorders and age-related conditions.

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