NAD is involved in hundreds of various metabolic processes. But its primary and most popular role is in energy production.
This function starts with NAD+. This molecule allows the body to produce ATP from scratch using a combination of macromolecules like carbs, fats, proteins, and more.
As our body creates energy or ATP (adenosine triphosphate), NAD+ will be reduced into NADH. At the end of energy production, NADH will be oxidized back to NAD+, completing the process. This re-oxidation occurs since NADH can’t enter the mitochondrial membrane.
All these processes are necessary to convert our food into energy. It starts when we swallow food, and our digestive system breaks it down into smaller sugar molecules.
Imagine NAD+ as trains. The more train coaches there are, the more electrons will be transported to create more energy. But if there are fewer trains, only a few electrons will make it, disrupting energy production. This will lead to aging and eventual death of the cells.
Again, both NAD+ and NADH are indispensable. If one isn’t produced correctly, it will throw off the balance and trigger deficiency symptoms like weakness, premature aging, and impaired immune function.
Aside from energy production, NAD also plays a role in breaking alcohol into acetate, repairing DNA, proper functioning of sirtuins enzymes, and so on. NAD is present in every living cell, so imagine its crucial role.