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NMN Column

The importance of NAD+ from a muscle performance perspective

posted date:2021.04.12  |  update date:2021.05.07

■ Important points

NAD+ is a very important component for organisms to live.

・The ability to produce NAD+ rapidly decreases with age. (NAD+ disintegration also accelerates with age.)
  → NAD+ rapidly disappears from the body
・Basic research has gradually clarified that supplementing NAD+ can help the body recover from the various changes that weaken it with age.

 (In mitochondrial syndrome patients) When NAD+ is increased (literature 1)

・Increased volume of mitochondria in muscle→ Suggested improvement in energy production efficiency
・Augmented muscular strength
・Reduced visceral fat

NAD+ in muscle doubles with exercise (literature 2)

・Increased volume of NAD+ synthetase NAMPT in muscle
・This requires resistance training with relatively high resistance

Why does NOMON focus on NMN?

With the goal of bringing cutting-edge science to the dining table, NOMON is constantly reviewing the latest research on aging to gather knowledge that can be applied to daily life for productive aging. Based on the latest basic research, we began focusing on nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN. This nutrient can be taken orally and is reported to have anti-aging effects on various tissues such as muscles, eyes, and bones. NMN is one of the initial ingredients in the body’s process of creating NAD+, which is vital for continued life. We know that NAD+ decreases with age, and that curbing this decrease could make it possible to manage aging. Various basic research clearly shows it is possible for NMN intake to curb NAD+ loss. Now I will explain what NAD+ is and what positive effects increasing NAD+ would likely have on the muscles.

What is NAD+?

NAD+ stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It is an important component so essential for life that it is said to be second only to ATP, the body’s energy currency. This substance is used in the process of breaking down sugar to make ATP. It is also used to repair broken genes. It is created in the body using the amino acid tryptophan and vitamin B3 (niacin, nicotinamide). The most important component in NAD+ synthesis is the enzyme NAMPT, which synthesizes NAD+ from nicotinamide. This enzyme is active in areas of the body such as the brain, muscles, and digestive organs, but it diminishes with age and decreases NAD+ synthesis (literature 3), leading to NAD+ loss. There is also an enzyme called CD38 that breaks down NAD+. The breakdown process accelerates with age, contributing to a lower volume of NAD+ in the tissue and causing declined function (literature 4). The latest research shows that by suppressing NAD+ loss through various methods, it is possible to prevent the reduction in tissue function that comes with age.

Replenishing NAD+ precursors with supplements

As for how to maintain NAD+ in the face of this decline, a study was done on taking the NAD+ precursor nicotinic acid as a supplement. In this study, mitochondrial syndrome patients took 750-1000mg of nicotinic acid every day for 10 months. This amount of nicotinic acid causes a side effect called niacin flush. The main symptom is flushed, reddened skin. Mitochondria are the body’s factories for producing the energy currency ATP, and patients with abnormal mitochondria have a lower volume of NAD+ in their blood and muscles than healthy people. But when these patients took nicotinic acid, their NAD+ levels increased by 2.3 times in the muscles and 8.2 times in the blood.

Researchers found that when NAD+ was boosted in mitochondrial syndrome patients, muscle strength that had deteriorated due to the illness increased by 10 times in the abdominal muscles, 2.5 times in the upper arms, and 2 times in the back.

Nicotinic acid intake also increased the actual number of mitochondria, and it was found that boosting NAD+ brought about changes that allowed for more energy production.

The above results seem to suggest that increasing NAD+ leads to improved muscle performance. That is, boosting NAD+ heightens mitochondrial function in the muscles and allows for increased energy production, which may lead to improved muscle strength.

Exercise and NAD+

In addition to the method of restoring NAD+ precursors with supplements, there was also a study showing that resistance training increases NAD+ in the muscles (literature 2).
Resistance training refers to training with a relatively high stress load placed on the muscles to achieve more pronounced muscle growth. It includes common gym machine exercises such as leg presses, bench presses, and cable pull-downs. The subjects of this study were 16 middle-aged men and women around 59 years old. They trained two days a week for ten months, and the effect on their muscle strength and NAD+ volume was measured. As a result of the ten-month training, not only did their muscle volume and strength increase in the thigh area, but also the concentration of NAD+ in their muscles approximately doubled. After this increase, the NAD+ levels in the muscles of these middle-aged subjects had recovered to the equivalent of young university students. At this time, the volume of the NAD+ synthesizing enzyme NAMPT in the muscles had increased by 15%. It seems likely that exercise increased NAMPT, which resulted in increased NAD+.


NAD+ is a substance required for the process of glycolysis that breaks down sugars in the muscles to create energy. It also reduces the fatigue-causing lactic acid that is produced in that process. The aforementioned study suggests that when NAD+ volume is increased through exercise, this increase leads to improved muscle performance. Training the muscles may bring about not only the qualitative change of bigger muscles, but also the quantitative change of muscles that can produce more NAD+, giving them the ability to perform better and longer.

[ References ]
1. Lamb DA et al. Resistance training increases muscle NAD+ and NADH concentrations as well as NAMPT protein levels and global sirtuin activity in middle aged, overweight, untrained individuals. Aging 2020, 12, 9447-9460
2. Pirinen et al. Niacin cures systemic NAD+ deficiency and improves muscle performance in adult-onset mitochondrial myopathy. Cell Metabolism 2020, 31, 1-13.
3. Yoshida et al. Extracellular Vesicle-Contained eNAMPT Delays Aging and Extends Lifespan in Mice. Cell Metabolism 2019, 30, 329-342e5.
4. Camacho-Pereira et al. CD38 dictates age-related NAD decline and mitochondrial dysfunction through a SIRT3-dependent mechanism. Cell Metabolism 2017, 23, 1127-1139.