Glutathione vs NAD: What's the Difference?

What's the difference between glutathione and NAD? We will cover the essentials and explain about each of these nutrients below. 

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione or GSH (tripeptide of glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine) is referred to as the body’s “master antioxidant” or the “mother of all antioxidants” because it is your body’s primary and most prevalent protector, found in all mammalian tissue.

Types of Glutathione

There is a lot of confusion about GSH and what makes an effective glutathione supplement. There are different types, different formulas, and a lot of different companies saying different things.

L-Glutathione or Reduced Glutathione because it is the most commonly found, least expensive, and the true core behind other forms you will find. There is some debate whether L-Glutathione alone can be effective taken orally. The theory being the enzymes in your stomach break it down before it can ever reach the blood stream and become useful. Some evidence suggests using newer technology and measurement technique that reduced glutathione will actually be absorbed.

Liposomal glutathione is a form of glutathione with a protective barrier made of a fat that keeps it safe in transport through the stomach lining and into the blood stream. It's normally paired with Phosphatidylcholine, which creates the protective lipid layer. This technique is used in other medical technologies like vaccines. and should prove an effective way to protect the sensitive glutathione molecule.

Acetyl-Glutathione is an acetylated form of glutathione. Adding an acetyl function group to an existing molecule is something that has been done in medicine for many years. In fact “acetyl” is the difference between heroine and morphine. You have probably used an acetylated product in the form of acetyl-salicylic acid… or aspirin. The concept is the acetyl function group makes the molecule more stable and enhances delivery through the blood stream including to the brain. Unfortunately there are very few studies regarding acetyl-glutathione but the science behind it is strong, and anecdotal evidence would suggest this is the best glutathione form currently in supplements. It also tends to come at a higher price due to a more complicated production.

Whey Protein is technically a glutathione precursor. Whey protein get it’s own category because it’s so significant as one of the first and best ways to promote glutathione production in your body. Only a few years ago, the only reliable and simple way to boost GSH was to consume a good quality non-denatured whey protein powder. Cysteine tends to be the limiting factor in GSH production, and is found in good quality whey, making it strong healthy source of a good amino acid profile that boosts glutathione.

For more detailed info on glutathione, check out Essential Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants

Glutathione vs NAC

Both are powerful antioxidants. Glutathione and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) are related compounds with different roles in the body.

Glutathione is a tripeptide (a molecule made up of three amino acids) that acts as a powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent in the body. It is found in every cell in the body, and plays a critical role in protecting cells from damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as free radicals. Glutathione also helps to detoxify harmful substances, such as heavy metals and other toxins.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a supplement that is a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione. NAC is converted into cysteine, which is then used to produce glutathione in the body. It is commonly used as a mucolytic to help break down thick mucus in the lungs and as a liver protectant.

NAC has a low molecular weight and is well absorbed via oral administration.

Taking glutathione by mouth does not appear to be an effective way to get it into your body. Its bioavailability is low and is also thought that glutathione may be broken down by enzymes in the stomach.

In summary, Glutathione is a tripeptide produced by the body and it acts as an antioxidant and detoxifying agent. NAC is a supplement that support the body's production of Glutathione. Both are important for general health and well-being, but they have different functions in the body.

What is NAD?

NAD is a type of coenzyme found in all living cells. NAD plays important roles in a variety of metabolic reactions, including energy production and DNA repair.

NAD is derived from Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) and various other precursors. NR is one of the 3 main forms of Niacin (vitamin B3).

NR, nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), Niacin (NA) and Niacinamide (NAM) are all NAD precursors, meaning all these precursors will be transformed into NAD. That said, each precursor has it's own different pathway that will lead to NAD.

NAD+ is a substrate for a number of important enzymes, including poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), which is known as a classic longevity protein. NAD+ is also essential in metabolic processes such as creating ATP in your mitochondria. It accepts and donates electrons and is used in oxidation-reduction reactions in the mitochondrial electron transport chain.


NAD vs NAD+: What's the Difference?

If you have done any research on aging and health recently, you have likely stumbled across the so-called anti-aging molecule, NAD. You have probably also seen it called NAD+ and maybe even as NADH. So, what is the difference, if there is any?

The short answer is that there is a difference, at least between NAD and NADH. Generally speaking, when NAD is used, NAD is being talked about generally. And often when using “NAD” it is referring to the specific chemical forms of NAD, NAD+ and NADH, interchangeably.

NAD exists in two forms, just like glutathione: NAD+ and NADH. Its ability to switch between these two forms is what allows NAD to carry out its main function—carrying electrons from one reaction to another in the process of metabolism and energy production.

As an electron carrier, NAD+ and NADH help to convert the nutrients in your food into a form of energy your cells can use.

NAD+ for Anti Aging

The levels of NAD in our body determine the speed of aging process. In younger cells and tissues, the levels of NAD are higher. As a result, younger people tend to have better physical activity, cognitive function and potential for cell repair and regeneration. As we grow, the levels of NAD in our body start to decline. This is reflected in the form of slowed cognitive response, loss of memory and reduced agility.

Research suggests it may be possible to reverse mitochondrial decay with dietary supplements that increase cellular levels of a molecule called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).

NAD is a linchpin of energy metabolism, among other roles, and its diminishing level with age has been implicated in mitochondrial deterioration. Supplements containing nicotinamide riboside, or NR, a precursor to NAD that's found in trace amounts in milk, might be able to boost NAD levels. In support of that idea, half a dozen Nobel laureates and other prominent scientists are working with two small companies offering NR supplements.

The NAD story took off toward the end of 2013 with a high-profile paper by Harvard's David Sinclair and colleagues. Sinclair, recall, achieved fame in the mid-2000s for research on yeast and mice that suggested the red wine ingredient resveratrol mimics anti-aging effects of calorie restriction. This time his lab made headlines by reporting that the mitochondria in muscles of elderly mice were restored to a youthful state after just a week of injections with NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide), a molecule that naturally occurs in cells and, like NR, boosts levels of NAD.


NAD and Resveratrol

NAD boosters might work synergistically with supplements like resveratrol to help reinvigorate mitochondria and ward off diseases of aging. Elysium is banking on this potential synergy—its NR-containing supplement includes a resveratrol-like substance called pterostilbene (pronounced tero-STILL-bean), which is found in blueberries and grapes.

While resveratrol has hogged the anti-aging spotlight over the past decade, unsung researchers in places like Oxford, Miss., have quietly shown that pterostilbene is a kind of extra-potent version of resveratrol. The pterostilbene molecule is nearly identical to resveratrol's except for a couple of differences that make it more "bioavailable" (animal studies indicate that about four times as much ingested pterostilbene gets into the bloodstream as resveratrol). Test-tube and rodent studies also suggest that pterostilbene is more potent than resveratrol when it comes to improving brain function, warding off various kinds of cancer and preventing heart disease.

How excited should we be about all this? If I were a middle-aged mouse, I'd be ready to spend some of the nickels and dimes I'd dragged off the sidewalk to try NR supplements. Even before Sinclair's paper, researchers had shown in 2012 that when given doses of NR, mice on high-fat diets gained 60 percent less weight than they did on the same diets without NR. Further, none of the mice on NR showed signs of diabetes, and their energy levels improved. The scientists reportedly characterized NR's effects on metabolism as "nothing short of astonishing."

But the paucity of human data gives me pause. Nobel laureates notwithstanding, I plan to wait until more is known before jumping up from the supper table to run out for some NR. Besides, it probably won’t be long before more data come out given the growing buzz about NAD.

Read more: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/beyond-resveratrol-the-anti-aging-nad-fad/

How can I raise my NAD levels naturally?

If you want to remain youthful and enjoy a long and healthy life, then there are ways in which you can naturally enhance the levels of NAD in your body. Continue reading to find out how:

1. Fasting 
Fasting is practiced in many religions throughout the world. In addition to its spiritual benefits, it turns out that fasting is also beneficial for our health. Fasting, or reducing your calorie intake is an excellent method for indirectly boosting the body’s NAD levels. Fasting has been shown to increase the levels of NAD+ and surtuins; the proteins which have been found to slow the aging process. 

While fasting is effective in increasing NAD+ levels, drastic reduction in calorie intake or fasting can have a counterproductive effect. There is also some speculation that intermittent fasting or adopting a low carb-ketogenic diet may also provide similar positive results.

2. Nicotinamide Riboside and other NAD Boosting Dietary Supplements 
Nicotinamide Riboside has recently been discovered in Vitamin B3. No one really paid attention to this molecule until research showed that our bodies can use NR to metabolise NAD+! After this discovery, several NR supplements became available in the markets. Various studies have shown that NR supplements are beneficial in boosting the levels of NAD+ in the body.

3. Exercise 
Exercise is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods for boosting NAD+ levels. When we exercise, our bodies need energy, which comes from NAD+. Basically, exercise forces our body muscles to produce more mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of cells. The increased production of mitochondria results in a natural boost in NAD+ levels in the body.

4. Too Much Sunlight May not be Good! 
Research has shown that too much direct sunlight exposure can deplete the body of NAD+ levels. This is because our body uses NAD+ to repair cells which get damaged as a result of direct UV ray exposure from the sunlight. In case you feel that excessive sunlight exposure is inevitable for you, then you should wear sunblock, sunscreen or sunglasses.

5. Foods which Boost NAD Levels 
There are certain foods which can boost NAD levels in the body. Some of them include:
  • Dairy Milk – research has indicated that cow’s milk is a good source of Nicotinamide Riboside (NR). A litre of fresh cow’s milk contains about 3.9┬Ámol of NAD+. 
  • Fish – some varieties of fish like tuna, salmons and sardines are rich sources of NAD+ for the body.
  • Mushrooms – many people like mushrooms and them as a regular food item in their regular diet. But did you know that mushrooms, especially the crimini mushrooms, also help in naturally boosting NAD levels? Yes, that’s true. So, enjoy eating the mushrooms and continue to look and younger and more youthful!
  • Yeast – yeast is an ingredient which is used for making bread and other bakery products. Yeast contains Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), which is a precursor of NAD. Here’s another reason for you to enjoy your favorite pastries or buns whenever you visit the bakery! Enjoy your favorite food while boosting NAD levels at the same time. 
  • Green Vegetables – green vegetables contain all sorts of nutrients in them which are beneficial in a variety of ways. Recently, it has come to light that green vegetables are also a good source of NAD for the body. Some of these vegetables include peas and asparagus.
  • Whole Grains – as discussed earlier, Vitamin B3 also contains Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), the precursor for NAD. However, when vegetables, food items or grains are cooked or processed, they lose their nutrition as well as the vitamin source. Therefore, it is recommended that you should also eat raw vegetables and take whole grains instead of processed foods.
  • Cut Down on Alcoholic Beverages – NAD is responsible for maintaining the overall metabolic processes of the body. Alcohol tends to interfere with these processes and reduce the efficacy of NAD. Therefore, you should avoid excessive intake of alcoholic drinks since they are also not good for your health.

Glutathione vs NAD

Both Glutathione and Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) are major functioning elements of body cells but scientifically these two molecules are distinctively different nutrients. Both have crucial importance for a human’s body. 

NAD+ is involved in energy production, DNA repair and other cellular processes.

Whereas glutathione is an amazing antioxidant that fights against free radicals and relieves pain and inflammation in different parts of the body.

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