Chronic Fatigue – Is NAD+ a Solution?

Posted on: September 3, 2021

When someone’s “energy tank” is running on empty, they can usually figure out why. 

“I should eat better,” they’ll say. Or, “I know I should get more ____ (sleep, exercise, etc. … fill-in-the-blank).” 

But one patient was quite different. 

Grace1 tried hard to support her health in all the right ways. But she still had no energy. 

A 55-year-young grandmother, Grace arrived for her appointment looking like a woman in good health. She was in good shape physically, not overweight. But appearances can be deceiving.

“Dr. Thomas, I do everything right. I take supplements; I eat all organic; I don’t smoke, drink, or eat sugar; I exercise; I get enough sleep … I do all the right things, but I’m dragging. My energy is low all the time. I tire out so easily. I have no endurance when I exercise; my muscles even seem like they have no energy. Forget about having enough energy to go out and have fun with friends. I feel way older than I am. I don’t know what else to do! What’s wrong with me?”

A tired woman sits alone in the dark, head in arms, because she struggles with chronic fatigue.

Chronic fatigue. It doesn’t sound all that serious, but when fatigue consumes your life, you have no energy, and no amount of sleep helps, it can make a person feel desperate.

I could see she was very worried. Her weariness made her look older. She had no sparkle. It was as if she had no energy to feel happiness, let alone joy.  

“I’ll run some tests to make sure there aren’t any hidden causes behind your chronic fatigue, and we’ll see what we find,” I reassured her. “Almost always there are hidden causes.” 

I investigated all the possible culprits: adrenals, thyroid, hormones, environmental toxins (such as Lyme disease, mercury fillings, mold, high EMF field exposure, toxic chemicals in food and cosmetics, and so on), nutritional deficiencies, hydration levels, glucose imbalance, and lack of restful sleep (including from sleep apnea, often unbeknownst to the sufferer). 

Nothing turned up. Grace had a clean slate in all those areas. No typical suspect seemed to be causing her chronic fatigue. 

However, I knew of something that might help. 

I told her about an intravenous treatment that was causing a lot of excitement in the functional medicine world, especially among anti-aging specialists. It’s called NAD+. 

What is NAD?

NAD is an essential coenzyme (a helper molecule), whose abbreviation stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. “Essential” means we can’t live without it — that’s how important it is. 

For example, one function of NAD is to convert the food we consume into cellular energy, which is why it seemed a possible candidate in Grace’s situation. Her body seemed to have a disconnect between all the healthy things she did and her energy level. I thought maybe NAD+ could provide the missing link. 

NAD is involved in multiple processes in every cell in the body, in one or the other of its two forms, NAD+ or NADH, depending on which function it’s performing. 

To simplify, NAD helps move the hydrogen molecule around for cellular reactions. When it’s ready to carry the hydrogen electron, it’s NAD+, and when it’s carrying hydrogen, it’s NADH.

Why is hydrogen so important? 

Hydrogen is the most abundant periodic table element in the universe. Water makes up about 60 percent of the human body. The brain and heart are 73 percent water, and the lungs, amazingly, are 83 percent water.2 

Since two-thirds of water is hydrogen (H2O), we realize how essential hydrogen is. Hydrogen is not only a key part of our DNA, it also plays a vital role in digestion. When it binds with chlorine, it forms hydrochloric acid, which breaks down protein, necessary for cellular building and repair. 

These facts clue us in to the importance of the NAD connection.

Mitochondria are miniscule energy factories within our cells. They can produce more energy only when they have everything they need. They need hydrogen to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP). NAD transports hydrogen to keep the mitochondria happy. 

When our mitochondria are happy, we have energy!

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Energy’s Enemy

The enemy of energy is oxidative stress. As we age, oxidative stress goes up, and translates into lack of energy, skin wrinkling, brain fog, cardiovascular disease, and most of the other “symptoms” we associate with aging. (This is why antioxidants are so important.)

NAD+ reduces oxidative stress. But as we age, we have less NAD+. 

Notice how symptoms of low NAD+ match symptoms we call “aging.” 

Low NAD+ symptoms:

So, naturally, researchers wondered, would raising NAD+ levels slow aging? Would it improve brain function and energy? Would people feel and look younger? 

Multiple study results seemed to answer: Yes, yes, and yes.

Benefits of NAD+

Using specific protocols of increasing NAD+ levels, scientists saw encouraging improvements in cognitive brain function, anti-aging, neuro-regeneration, and even reducing addictive cravings and behavior. 

Here are some of the many benefits researchers studied:

  1. Energy production3
  2. Anti-aging4 
  3. Brain health5,6
  4. Cardiovascular health7
  5. Nervous system health8
  6. Glucose balance9
  7. Metabolism10

As I explained all of this, Grace had hope. 

“How can my NAD+ levels be raised?” she asked.

The precursors to NAD can be found in meat, milk, and vegetables. But Grace’s diet was already impeccable. 

So, I explained the researcher’s methods. 

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NAD+ Delivery Methods

The methods NAD+ researchers studied were: 

Oral: Sublingual (under-the-tongue absorption into the bloodstream) is one option. Supplements that are swallowed are less effective, because the stomach acid destroys much of the NAD+.

Transdermal: Patches to deliver a specific dosage through the skin have been used.  

Injections: With a very tiny needle inserted into the belly fat, NAD+ has been injected subcutaneously. However, because there is less research on this method, we don’t know how effective it is.

Intravenous: The most studied option with the best and quickest results is the NAD+ IV drip. This is the method I recommended for Grace’s situation. We wanted fast results, and this method had the most research behind it.

“Are there any negative side effects?” Grace asked. 

“Only if the IV drip goes in too fast,” I said. “In that case, the patient might feel a little stomach discomfort or chest pressure. If so, we simply slow down the drip while the body adjusts. That’s the benefit of being here in the office for the treatment.”

Grace was eager to begin her NAD+ IV drip appointments. In her case, the process took about 2-3 hours for the first couple of treatments, while the solution slowly infused into her system. She did beautifully. As her system acclimated, her sessions were reduced to 60-90 minutes. 

After five treatments over the course of two weeks, Grace had better skin tone and noticeably greater energy and physical endurance when exercising. Although she wasn’t overweight, she had a little extra belly fat, which she also lost in that two weeks.

Grace was thrilled. “I feel so much stronger, like I did when I was younger. I’m easily able to exercise longer without feeling any muscle fatigue. It feels like a heavy burden has been lifted. I have the energy to have fun again!” 

Beyond the physical changes, it was wonderful to see her sparkle return. She was happy again. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms of chronic fatigue or “aging,” please seek answers. There is always an answer. The body is just urging you (through symptoms) to find it. 

Let’s explore what your answers might be.

Book your appointment here. 

1Not the patient’s actual name.
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