What you see is not always a linear relationship.
I get it.
Research is tough.
There has to be isolated variables and a singular target in order to see and make some connection between intervention and outcome.
However, the human body, and life in general, is not a set of isolated variables and singular targets.
Making the connection between research findings and an actual living being must be done with caution.
When it comes to pregnancy, I expect higher degrees of caution.
A research team in Australia has discovered something of significance.
“We have discovered a whole new cause of birth defects and a way to treat it as well,” she said.
“Arguably, it’s the most important discovery for pregnant women since folate.
“The promise is that this could significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and babies born with defects.”
What did she and her team find?
Low NAD levels in pregnant women are associated with miscarriage and birth defects.
What is NAD?
That’s a loaded question.
Simply, our body makes it using various genes in the Kynurenine pathway using tryptophan-containing foods.
It is also made from vitamin B3, known as niacin.
The researchers got all this; however, they did not mention other big factors in how NAD is made. Granted, they didn’t because it wasn’t relevant to their findings; however, I would have liked to see additional thoughts in their Discussion part of their paper.
We will get to what I mean by ‘additional thoughts’ in a second.
How to ‘fix’ low NAD levels?
The researchers, and many others, propose:
- Eating more tryptophan-containing foods
- Eating more niacin-containing foods
- Taking niacin supplementation
How prevalent is NAD deficiency?
Nearly a third of women in the USA have low levels of NAD in their blood. Apparently, they aren’t getting sufficient niacin in their prenatal vitamin. Only 18 mg of niacin are needed daily. That’s nothing.
I include 25 mg of niacin in the prenatal vitamins I formulated.
What causes NAD deficiency?
As mentioned above, not consuming enough:
- niacin via supplements
- niacin via foods
- tryptophan-containing foods as tryptophan can make NAD via various genes.
These are direct causes of NAD deficiency.
What about indirect causes of NAD deficiency?
The researchers did point out that nutrient absorption, obesity and diabetes increase NAD deficiency.
Yes – big time.
What do diabetes, obesity and inflammation have in common?
NADH is what your glucose turns into in order to convert it into fuel.
To give a very simplistic sequence of events:
Carbohydrates -> Glucose -> NADH (fuel) -> ATP (energy)
Fuel (food) + Spark (mitochondria) = Energy (ATP)
The problem with inflammation, diabetes and obesity is often there is a massive amount of fuel already present and the spark is weak thereby causing a deficiency in energy.
This causes a vicious cycle of eating for energy, then crashing then doing it again.
The cycle must be broken.
When your mitochondria burn NADH, it makes NAD.
Let me say that again.
When your mitochondria burn NADH, it makes NAD.
What did the researchers say?
NAD Deficiency increases risk of miscarriage and birth defects.
Mitochondrial dysfunction increases NAD deficiency via accumulation of NADH.
Factors increasing risk of high NADH and low NAD:
- diabetes type II
- mitochondrial dysfunction
- high carbohydrate meals
- poor sleep
- low exercise
- sedentary lifestyle
- high oxidative stress (free radicals)
- low glutathione
- snacking all day
Quick and easy signs of high NADH over NAD:
- Eat and soon after you are tired. That is showing you are not burning your fuel well and turning it into energy.
- Exercise a bit and you’re immediately out of breath. A little tired is ok but exhausted – no.
Quick test to see if you can burn NADH to NAD efficiently:
- Take 1 lozenge of NADH + CoQ10 immediately upon waking up in the morning
Two things can happen:
- Within 5 minutes, you will literally pop up and out of bed with energy and vigor.
- You will be more fatigued and want to sleep more
Most commonly, people experience #1.
If you do as well, you may continue enjoying NADH + CoQ10 in the morning or during intense workouts.
If you experience #2, stop taking NADH + CoQ10.
Your fire is smoking vs burning clean. Your engine is flooded.
You have some work to do.
I’ll show you what to do in a second.
Note: Never take NADH + CoQ10 within an hour of eating – before or after. Remember food provides NADH. This supplement bypasses the need for food to make NADH and gives an immediate and lasting energy.
Factors which increase NAD over NADH:
- intermittent fasting
- eating meals four hours apart minimum (not snacking)
- healthy carbohydrates intake (100 – 150 grams or so)
- no soda
- no alcohol
- limit refined sugar
- rejuvenating sleep
- healthy mitochondria
- alpha R lipoic acid
The above list is what one should maintain during pregnancy.
This is how best to support a healthy NAD level.
Not just taking niacin.
One more big thing about niacin….
Does niacin use up methyl groups?
Yes. It does.
High dose niacin.
Normal amounts of niacin also uses methyl groups but not to a harmful extent.
We all must consume niacin – as this research team so wonderfully discovered yet another reason to do so.
However, anything in high amounts and long term, may increase risks for something else.
In this case, high dose and long term niacin supplementation may cause a methylation deficiency.
This is known and proven.
Niacin is metabolized and eliminated from the body via a gene called NNMT. This gene uses SAMe, the body’s primary methyl donor, in order to process niacin.
Key Take Home Points:
NAD deficiency is common and it is not just a nutritional deficiency during pregnancy.
It is a lifestyle.
It impacts every aspect of your health.
One must understand what actions they need to take in order to have – and maintain healthy NAD levels.
Understanding the fundamentals of diet, lifestyle, environment and mindset shape how our genes work and thus directly impact our biochemistry – and how you feel.
Share your comments below.
My passion is optimizing the lives of unborn children – so I do hope this information resonates with you and you are able to take action.