“NR” shows promise at increasing NAD, the “linchpin” for the holy grail: mitochondrial decay reversal
An article in Scientific American last year offers a clear and concise overview of what it calls the “NAD fad.” NAD stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, and studies in mice show a positive effect on reversing the decay of mitochondria, the energy source for every cell in our bodies.
The “fad” portion refers to the attention NAD has been receiving since around 2013. The article points out that no less than six Nobel Prize laureates are working with two upstart companies on research of NAD for human use. In fact, they’re already marketing a supplement of NR (nicotinamide riboside) which might increase NAD levels in the body.
Of course, fountains of youth, of different styles and at varying levels, are a fad that never gets old, one might say.
The other side of the coin (isn’t there always one?) is that such supplements play right into the American quick-fix obsession. Pop a pill, solve your problem. Yet, there’s certainly some level of genuine benefit, if NR can increase NAD, and thereby increase energy in older folks, for example. It’s also likely – and the NR marketers are no doubt counting on this – that many people will want to use it with the expectation of staying youthful forever.
Naturally, there’s no information whatsoever yet on any adverse effects of NR supplement use, especially long-term. A search of “NR supplements” online procures much speculation, but very little on potential overdosing and adverse effects. Exercise caution – this is still very early in the process.
If NR supplements and NAD-boosting in general turn out to be more effective than expected, we should be prepared for ethical concerns. Any way you look at it, this is manipulation of human life at the cellular level. What could the effects on life-expectancy be, for example? If we reach the point of 100-year averages, the world’s resources will be strained to unprecedented points. And that’s if such a scenario were to develop in a “vacuum”; not counting global warming, not counting land and marine pollution, not counting massive storms and war, etc.
Now is the time to think about these issues, not after these treatments are unleashed on the public at-large. We humans have a bad habit of adopting new technologies and worrying about the possible adverse effects later. This is not how an intelligent species is supposed to behave.
If the good Nobel laureates and other scientists looking to improve performance of the mitochondria take a responsible approach to progress – and there’s no reason to believe they won’t – perhaps we will all enjoy more energy in our senior years, without too much disruption of our surrounding eco-systems and without too much disturbance of our neighbors.
My upcoming novel, DEADLY PRESCRIPTION, is about a fictionalized world where Big Pharma wields tremendous power over our everyday lives. In fiction that feels as real as the morning headlines, the criminal underworld of the drug industry is exposed.