Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide
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 participates in 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 the first of these uses has any meaningful scientific evidence behind it, and even that is highly preliminary.
Healthy bodies make all the NADH they need, using vitamin B 3
The typical dosage for supplemental NADH ranges from 5 to 50 mg daily, often taken sublingually (under the tongue). Products said to be "stabilized" are available.
Supplemental NADH has also been proposed as a treatment for
What Is the Scientific Evidence for NADH?
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 35 individuals taking an overnight flight across four time zones were given either 20 mg of NADH or placebo sublingually (under the tongue) on the morning of arrival. 8
The only other supporting evidence comes from an unpublished double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study funded by the makers of an NADH product.
These small but promising studies suggest a need for further research.
2. Birkmayer JG, Vrecko C, Volc D, et al. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)—a new therapeutic approach to Parkinson's disease. Comparison of oral and parenteral application. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl . 1993;146:32-35.
3. Birkmayer JGD, Birkmayer W. The coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) as biological antidepressive agent: experience with 205 patients. New Trends Clin Neuropharmacology . 1991;5:19-25.
7. Kuhn W, Muller T, Winkel R, et al. Parenteral application of NADH in Parkinson's disease: clinical improvement partially due to stimulation of endogenous levodopa biosynthesis. J Neural Transm. 1996;103:1187-1193.
9. Moline ML, Rebeta JL, Flye BL, et al. Effectiveness of NADH in alleviating effects of sleep deprivation in healthy middle-aged adults. Abstract presented at: The First International Conference on Mechanisms of Action of Nutraceuticals; October 2001.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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