Why regular exercise is important for NAD+ levels in muscles

If you regularly take NAD+ supplements then we have some good news for you. You can maximise how much NAD+ remains in your muscles by partaking in regular exercise. A new study has shown that exercise could be an effective way to boost your NAD+ especially in skeletal muscle. We know that our levels of NAD+ naturally decline with age - but this new research shows that we can help keep our NAD+ levels topped up by doing regular exercise. And it makes sense when you think about it. As we get older, we naturally become less active, less mobile and many of us abandon exercise altogether. Could this be one of the reasons why NAD+ decreases with age?

The study

The study was led by Riekelt Houtkooper of the University of Amsterdam, and was published in Nature Aging. The researchers analysed 52 people, divided into four groups:
  1. 12 younger adults (aged 20-30)
  2. 17 older people (aged 65-80 who reported normal levels of physical activity)
  3. 17 “trained” older people (reporting above-average levels of physical activity, several hour-long exercise sessions per week)
  4. 12 older people (described as being physically impaired with very low physical activity levels)
The scientists in the study then conducted a deep metabolomic analysis, recording the levels of more than a hundred various metabolites. They found that NAD+ was among the metabolites most downregulated with ageing. However, not only were NAD+ levels correlated with ageing, they also depended on the amount of physical activity. While there was a considerable difference in NAD+ levels between the young adults and the normally active older adults, trained older adults were almost on par with the young group. The physically impaired older adults were by far the worst, with the lowest levels of NAD+ recorded. The researchers also plotted NAD+ levels against physical activity in individual participants and found a strong correlation between the two. So the results strongly suggest that physical activity can rescue NAD+ levels. In their own words, the researchers concluded: “Exercise-trained older individuals had NAD+ levels that were more similar to those found in younger individuals. NAD+ abundance positively correlated with average number of steps per day and mitochondrial and muscle functioning. Our work suggests that a clear association exists between NAD+ and health status in human ageing.” With that in mind, if you’re worried about declining NAD+ levels then the best thing you can do to boost your NAD+ levels is to take NAD plus supplements and exercise as much as you can!