This article was medically reviewed by Sarah Gehrke, RN, MS. Sarah Gehrke is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas. Sarah has over 10 years of experience teaching and practicing phlebotomy and intravenous (IV) therapy using physical, psychological, and emotional support. She received her Massage Therapist License from the Amarillo Massage Therapy Institute in 2008 and a M.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2013.
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NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a molecule that helps your body metabolize foods, create energy, and produce and repair cells.XResearch source NAD levels decline with age, and maintaining higher levels of it could help slow the aging process.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source Nutritious foods, especially those rich in B-group vitamins, can help your body create, store, and use NAD. You can also try dietary supplements, such as nicotinamide riboside, which has gained credibility as an effective way to boost NAD levels. Other beneficial lifestyle choices include getting regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol, and wearing sunscreen whenever you go outside.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Eating Foods that Increase NAD Levels Download Article
- 1Eat more raw foods that contain vitamin B. B-group vitamins are found in many foods, and they help increase NAD levels. However, they are delicate and are easily destroyed by cooking or processing. While foods that need to be cooked can still provide vitamin B, you should still include raw options in your diet, such as peanuts, avocado, and sunflower seeds.XResearch source
- For foods that need to be cooked, such as poultry and fish, steaming and baking are better methods than boiling. Steaming and baking may leave more nutrients intact.
- Keep in mind that cooking methods affect each kind of vitamin differently. The cooking time, amount of heat, and type of food also impact the amount of nutrient loss.XResearch source
- 2Swap white flours, bread, and rice for their whole grain counterparts. Since processing can destroy B-group vitamins, whole grain foods are more nutritious. Choose whole grain or multigrain bread instead of white bread, and go for brown rice instead of white rice.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
- 3Go for fortified breakfast cereals. Unsweetened cereals are healthy breakfast options, and are among the richest sources of vitamin B3. Having milk with your cereal is even more beneficial. Among other nutrients, cow’s milk also contains vitamin B3, which your body converts into NAD.XTrustworthy SourceOregon State University Linus Pauling InstituteResearch center dedicated to promoting optimal health through cutting-edge nutrition research and public outreachGo to source
- 4Drink 2 to 3 glasses of milk fortified with vitamin D per day. Vitamin D helps enhance your body’s ability to store and use NAD. B-group vitamins, which are also found in milk, help boost NAD levels. Increasing NAD levels and helping your body utilize the molecule can improve your metabolism and might slow the aging process.XResearch source
- 5Eat healthy proteins, such as poultry, fish, nuts, mushrooms, and eggs. Lean proteins are good sources of B-group vitamins.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source While red meat also contains vitamin B, eating a serving or more of red meat per day may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if it's processed red meat.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
- Try having a 3 ounces (85 g) serving of chicken breast or baked salmon, along with healthy side dishes, for lunch or dinner. Other serving options could be 1 to 2 eggs or 2 tablespoons of unsalted peanuts.
- 6Make side dishes with lentils and lima beans. Lentils are versatile and easy to cook. You can make lentil soups, make warm or cold lentil salads, mix them with brown rice, or serve them in dozens of other dishes. Lima beans (you might know them as butter beans) are also quick and easy and, like lentils, are great sources of the nutrients that increase NAD levels.XTrustworthy SourceOregon State University Linus Pauling InstituteResearch center dedicated to promoting optimal health through cutting-edge nutrition research and public outreachGo to source
- 7Eat healthy unsaturated fats in moderation. A diet that's high in fat and sugar can decrease NAD levels and interfere with the metabolic processes that involve the NAD molecule.XResearch source Your body does need a moderate amount of healthy fats, so include a small amount of unsaturated fats derived from plants in your diet. Slices of avocado with a sandwich or salad or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter are good sources of healthy unsaturated fat.XResearch source
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Boosting NAD Levels with Supplements Download Article
- 1Talk to your doctor before taking any dietary supplement. Your body converts vitamin B3 into NAD, so supplements intended to boost NAD levels usually contain B-group vitamins. However, too much vitamin B can damage your liver and cause other harmful effects. Furthermore, dietary supplements can negatively interact with some medications, so you need to discuss your diet and any medications you take with your doctor before starting one.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source
- Ask your doctor, "Should I be concerned about getting enough nutrients from my diet? Would a dietary supplement negatively interact with any of my medications? Do you recommend I make any changes to my diet?"
- A negative drug interaction can cause harmful side effects or make your medication ineffective.
- 2Take 100 to 250 mg of nicotinamide riboside (NR) per day. NR is a type of vitamin B3 and is gaining credibility in the scientific community as an effective way to increase NAD levels. You can find over-the-counter NR supplements online, at pharmacies, and at health stores. Try taking 100 to 250 mg with a glass of water before your first meal of the day.XResearch source
- While 100 to 250 mg is a recommended dose, it’s best to ask your doctor about proper dosing.
- 3Try taking pterostilbene or resveratrol supplements. Some NR supplements also contain pterostilbene or resveratrol, which might enhance your body’s ability to use NAD. They’re also available as supplements on their own.XResearch source
- Be sure to discuss proper dosages with your doctor and ask them if taking a dietary supplement is right for you.
- 4Start taking vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is important for a variety of bodily functions, and it might boost NAD levels. While you can get vitamin D from milk, fortified cereals, and direct sunlight, you could also ask your doctor about taking a daily supplement to reach your daily recommended amount of Vitamin D. While the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D for adults is 800 IU, you could need more or less depending on your age, diet, and daily exposure to sunlight.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
- Keep it mind it’s better to get B-group vitamins, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients from healthy foods instead of dietary supplements.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Making Lifestyle Choices that Benefit NAD Levels Download Article
- 1Get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Among a host of other benefits, regular exercise stimulates the production of NAD, boosts your metabolism, and can improve your body’s ability to repair damaged DNA. Most adults should get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Aerobic exercise is especially beneficial to your overall health, so try to go for a brisk walk or jog, swim, or cycle every day.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
- If you’re not used to physical activity, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. You should also consult your doctor if you have a history of heart, bone, joint, or other issues.
- 2Cut down on alcoholic beverages, if necessary. NAD is involved in metabolic processes and cell production, and alcohol interferes with these processes. It’s recommended that men drink less than 2 to 3 alcoholic beverages a day, and for women to consume 1 to 2 drinks or less. If you drink more than your recommended amount, try to reduce your alcohol consumption.XResearch source
- 3Wear sunscreen whenever you go outside. UV rays damage skin cells, and your body uses stored NAD to repair the damage. To minimize sun damage, wear SPF 30 sunscreen every day, especially when you’re exposed to direct sunlight for more than 15 to 30 minutes.XResearch source
About This Article
NAD helps your body to metabolize foods, create energy, and repair your cells. To increase your NAD levels, try to avoid fatty and sugary foods, like burgers, candy, and cookies. Instead, eat foods high in vitamin B, like avocado, almonds, and beans. Switch white flour bread and rice for the whole grain versions, which will also boost your vitamin B. Include healthy proteins, like fresh poultry, fish, mushrooms, and eggs, in your diet. In addition to eating a healthy diet, try to exercise for about 3 ½ hours a week. Try going for a jog or bike ride, or join a local sports club. For more tips from our Medical co-author, including how to increase your NAD levels with supplements, read on.