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World Heart Day: How NAD+ supplements can help with high blood pressure and heart disease

29th September 2021

World Heart Day: How NAD+ supplements can help with high blood pressure and heart disease

World Heart Day 2021

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s number one killer, resulting in 18.6 million deaths a year. There’s no one definitive cause and it’s often due to a mix of lifestyle and environmental factors such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, and even air pollution. It can also be caused by less common conditions such as Chagas disease and cardiac amyloidosis.

Over the past 18 months, those living with CVD have had to deal with the added pressure of COVID-19, a virus that has disproportionately affected those with CVD.

Due to increased vulnerability to more severe forms of COVID-19, this population has been told they are vulnerable, at-risk and should shelter in place, resulting in a number of negative consequences such as missed medical appointments, lack of contact with family and friends and reduced physical exercise.

In light of World Heart Day (September 29th) we thought we’d share some interesting research into NAD+ and its effects on heart disease and high blood pressure.

Research into NAD+ and heart disease

Because of NAD+ and its connection to ageing and age-associated diseases, it has led to a new wave of research in the cardiovascular field, in particular as an emerging therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases associated with sudden cardiac death.

The heart, along with the kidney and the liver has the highest level of NAD+ among all the organs and research has shown that NAD+ participates in several key processes in cardiovascular disease. For example, NAD+ protects against metabolic syndrome, heart failure, ischemia–reperfusion (IR) injury, arrhythmia and hypertension.

Additionally, NAD+ can promote endothelial cell proliferation and protect against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Studies have also shown NAD+ levels are reduced in the heart after IR injury but that increased NAD+ levels in damaged hearts are essential for reducing infarct size and recovery from IR injury.

Supplementation with NAD+ also inhibited myocardial fibrosis or hypertrophy

NAD+ studies in mice

In a genetic mouse model of dilated cardiomyopathy, research has found that supplementation of NAD+ in the diet significantly reduced left ventricular contractile dysfunction and chamber dilation. 

A similar effect was also observed in mice with pressure overload-induced hypertrophy and dysfunction. These findings support previous research demonstrating the beneficial effects of increasing NAD+ levels on cardiac hypertrophy and function in models of agonist-induced pathological hypertrophy, chronic pressure overload, and mitochondrial cardiomyopathy. Therefore, this study adds support to the emerging concept of increasing NAD+ levels as a therapeutic strategy for heart failure.

Of course, additional studies comparing models and stages of heart failure, and ultimately trials in human patients will need to be done to understand more about how NAD+ supplements can improve outcomes with regards to heart disease.

NAD+ and its effect on high blood pressure levels

A new study has found that NAD+ has been shown to mimic caloric restriction, boosting arterial health and possibly reversing cardiovascular ageing.

The new study also found that in 13 participants with elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension, blood pressure was about 10 points lower after NAD+ supplementation. A drop of that level could translate to a 25% reduction in heart attack risk.

Ultimately, the authors of the study think that supplementation could provide an additional option, alongside the dietary changes and exercise currently recommended for people whose blood pressure is not yet high enough to warrant medication but who are still at risk for a heart attack.

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