NAD+ and Metabolism: Weight Loss and Fueling Your Body's Energy Factory

Liew H

2/28/20243 min read

topless man in black shorts holding cooked food
topless man in black shorts holding cooked food

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the role of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in metabolism and its potential impact on weight loss and energy production. NAD+ is a coenzyme found in all living cells and plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes.

The Role of NAD+ in Metabolism

NAD+ is involved in two major metabolic pathways: glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. In glycolysis, NAD+ accepts electrons from glucose during the breakdown of glucose into pyruvate, producing energy in the form of ATP. In oxidative phosphorylation, NAD+ is reduced to NADH and donates electrons to the electron transport chain, which generates more ATP.

Furthermore, NAD+ is a key player in the process of cellular respiration. It is required for the function of enzymes called sirtuins, which regulate cellular processes such as DNA repair, gene expression, and energy metabolism. Sirtuins are known to be involved in aging and age-related diseases, and their activity is dependent on NAD+ availability.

NAD+ and Weight Loss

One of the reasons NAD+ has gained attention in the context of weight loss is its role in regulating metabolism. By promoting the breakdown of glucose and the production of ATP, NAD+ helps to increase energy expenditure and enhance fat burning. Additionally, NAD+ activates sirtuins, which have been shown to improve metabolic health and increase lifespan in various organisms.

Studies have also suggested a link between NAD+ levels and obesity. It has been observed that obese individuals tend to have lower levels of NAD+ compared to lean individuals. This could be due to impaired NAD+ synthesis or increased NAD+ consumption in response to metabolic stress. By boosting NAD+ levels, it may be possible to improve metabolic function and support weight loss efforts.

Furthermore, NAD+ has been found to regulate appetite and food intake. Animal studies have shown that increasing NAD+ levels can reduce food intake and lead to weight loss. This effect is thought to be mediated by the activation of sirtuins, which can modulate the expression of genes involved in appetite control.

Boosting NAD+ Levels

Given the potential benefits of NAD+ in metabolism and weight loss, there is growing interest in strategies to boost NAD+ levels. One approach is to supplement with precursors of NAD+, such as nicotinamide riboside (NR) or nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). These compounds can be converted into NAD+ in the body and have been shown to increase NAD+ levels in animal and human studies.

Another strategy is to activate sirtuins directly using compounds called sirtuin activators. Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, is one such activator that has been shown to increase NAD+ levels and improve metabolic health in animal studies. Other natural compounds, such as quercetin and fisetin, have also been found to activate sirtuins and increase NAD+ levels.

In addition to supplementation and sirtuin activation, lifestyle factors can also influence NAD+ levels. Regular exercise has been shown to increase NAD+ levels, likely through the activation of sirtuins. Caloric restriction, fasting, and time-restricted feeding have also been found to increase NAD+ levels and improve metabolic health.


While more research is needed to fully understand the role of NAD+ in metabolism and weight loss, the available evidence suggests that NAD+ plays a crucial role in energy production and metabolic regulation. Boosting NAD+ levels through supplementation, sirtuin activation, and lifestyle factors may have potential benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.

It is important to note that NAD+ supplementation should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as the optimal dosage and long-term effects are still being studied. Furthermore, weight loss should always be approached holistically, with a focus on a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and overall lifestyle changes.

In conclusion, NAD+ holds promise in the field of metabolism and weight loss. Further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and potential applications. However, the available evidence suggests that NAD+ plays a crucial role in fueling our body's energy factory and regulating metabolic processes.