Nearly 1 in 5 American adults lives with some form of mental illness. While the symptoms and severity vary from person to person, they often share one thing — low levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD).
Your body produces NAD naturally. This chemical is responsible for transforming the energy you get from food into energy for your cells. As you might imagine, because your body contains countless cells all performing specific jobs, a NAD shortage can pose a big problem. This is especially true for your brain.
Dr. Linda Y. Dula at Invigorate Asheville specializes in getting to the source of complex medical issues and helping you tap into your body’s natural resources so it can heal itself. When it comes to NAD, Dr. Dula understands that if your body doesn’t make enough, or if substance abuse has depleted your supply, the way your brain works changes.
The role NAD plays in your body
NAD is an enzyme that your body makes. It has several functions, including stimulating chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters, namely:
- Serotonin, which helps stabilize sleep and wake cycles
- Dopamine, which is present when you feel pleasure
- Noradrenaline, which triggers fight-or-flight responses
Together, these chemicals regulate your level of happiness, alertness, ability to concentrate, and quality and quantity of sleep — basically, your mental health.
Signs you don’t have enough NAD
A shortage of NAD causes your brain to start working differently. Depending on the chemical levels in your brain, you may experience insomnia, anxiety or depression. Each of these mood disorders stems from the hippocampus in your brain.
When the hippocampus doesn’t function properly, neither do your neurotransmitters. This causes inflammation inside your brain, impaired cognitive abilities, and increased stress. These changes cause your brain to rewire over time, so it responds to stimuli in abnormal ways. When this occurs, you lose your ability to feel joy, focus on a task, remember things, and use reason.
Causes of low NAD levels
Genetics, aging, and poor nutrition can cause changes in NAD production. However, illnesses can also deplete your NAD supply. Mental illness decreases NAD production, too, which can exacerbate your condition.
Additional disorders known for decreasing this essential enzyme in your body include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
All of these conditions drain your body’s critical reserve of NAD, which then changes the function of your brain. The cycle of anxiety, depression, or substance abuse continues because your brain forms neural pathways or habits.
Fortunately, you can rewire your brain and break the cycle.
Finding relief for low NAD levels
Improving your nutritional intake — a known NAD booster — is one of the first courses of treatment for mood disorders, like anxiety and depression.
Dr. Dula usually recommends a diet rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B to stimulate dopamine levels, which can improve some of these disorders. Exercise also plays a role in prompting the body to make more NAD because it triggers adrenaline production.
If these efforts don’t do the trick, Dr. Dula could suggest NAD therapy.
Getting results with NAD therapy
If you have low NAD levels, Dr. Dula can boost your supply through IV infusion therapy. Getting the nutrients straight into your bloodstream and bypassing your stomach helps you feel the benefits immediately.
During your treatment, you experience a boost of energy in response to the flood of NAD your body’s craving. It’s fast and effective — and there are no side effects or “crash” you often get from other energy sources, like caffeine, sugar, or drugs.
To improve your emotional and mental well-being, Dr. Dula often recommends multiple treatments over several weeks or months. In time, your brain can form new neural pathways.
Dr. Dula can help you determine the cause of your NAD depletion and restore your supply so you can enjoy better mental health. If you’re curious about the benefits of NAD therapy, contact us by calling our Asheville, North Carolina, office at 828-237-1511 or requesting an appointment online today.