Principal Proposed Uses
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is an important cofactor, or "assistant," that helps enzymes in the work they do throughout the body. NADH particularly plays a role in the production of energy. It also helps with the production of L-dopa, which the body turns into the important neurotransmitter dopamine.
Based on these basic biochemical facts, NADH has been evaluated as a treatment for jet lag, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and as a sports supplement. However, only a few have meaningful scientific evidence behind it, and even that is highly preliminary.
Healthy bodies make all the NADH they need. The body uses vitamin B 3 (also known as niacin or nicotinamide) as a starting point. NADH can also be found in meat. However, most of the NADH in meat is destroyed during processing, cooking, and digestion. In reality, we don't get much NADH from our food.
The typical dosage for supplemental NADH ranges from 5 to 50 mg daily. It is often taken sublingually (under the tongue). Products said to be "stabilized" are available.
It is hoped that NADH may have some benefits for conditions of the nervous system. So far, trials have had mixed reviews. There is not enough information to say if NADH is effective for:
- Alzheimer's disease 3-4, 12
- Chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis 5-7, 15—not enough evidence to support or disprove
- Parkinson's disease 8-10
The overall results look promising, but further research is needed to determine if NADH is effective as a treatment approach.
NADH appears to be quite safe when taken at a dosage of 5 mg daily or less. However, formal safety studies have not been completed, and safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2018 -
- Update Date: 09/04/2018 -