We cannot wait for a crisis of epic proportions to spur us into action when a few simple measures and accessible nutrients can certainly give us a good foundation for a healthier immune response when we most need it. And we have discussed at length in several previous blogs the many reasons so many of us seemingly teeter on the edge of good and bad immune health that affects both our general wellbeing and our neurological health.
What are the reasons?
Well, we know there are numerous things in our environment we encounter in daily life that can negatively impact our overall and our brain health. These factors include: poor air quality; electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from cell and electrical towers as well as our everyday devices; mold and other infectious triggers; unhealthy diets and foods laced with pesticides like glyphosate and other chemicals or food additives. Lifestyle factors that embrace sitting vs. exercising combined with high stress situations don’t help one bit.
Let’s talk about NAD.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) may sound like something you heard about in chemistry class; it’s actually an important cofactor that is central to metabolism. Cofactors are basically molecules that increase the rate of reaction or are required for enzyme function.
NAD is naturally occurring in all cells and is essential to life, bathing the brain’s cells in nutrients for improved brain health and function.
Research indicates as well that NAD is closely tied to the innate immune response and is enormously important when a virus invades the body. In this recent preprint article, “Coronavirus Infection and PARP Expression Dysregulate the NAD Metabolome: A Potentially Actionable Component of Innate Immunity” the authors showed that SARS-CoV-2 infection strikingly dysregulates the NAD+ gene set with respect to NAD+ synthesis and utilization. Since we know that NAD is needed for overall cellular health, repair and resilience, maintaining its levels in the face of an immune stress becomes critical.1
It may be too that IV-administered, high-dose NAD can support immune health in the face of severe viral infections. This and other considerations will require further study, but we do know that this cofactor does have some excellent benefits such as:
- protects against DNA damage.
- supports cellular regeneration.
- slows down cell aging.
- improved concentration.
- may help with cellular biogenesis.
- increased mental clarity.
- increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-carrying molecule that captures chemical energy from the breakdown of food molecules and releases it to fuel other cellular processes.
What other supplements and lifestyle factors may help immune response?
I have often spoken about the benefits of certain supplements for optimizing immune health including high dose vitamin C, omega 3s, zinc, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, transfer factor, olive leaf, monolaurin and others. As always, we advise you to consult a physician for guidance specific to your health needs and especially regarding supplements taken in combination with any prescribed medications.
But it’s critical to remember - no supplements can take the place of a healthy lifestyle that focuses on a nutritious diet rich in whole (not processed) foods, along with exercise, reducing and managing stress, quality sleep and getting out in nature. Getting back to the basics and the things we already know simply make us feel better is the start of any “immune reset” program that is also the foundation of a personalized, multimodal approach in integrative medicine.
Stay well and stay committed to a life well-lived!
Dr. Suzanne Gazda
References and additional reading:
1 Coronavirus Infection and PARP Expression Dysregulate the NAD Metabolome: A Potentially Actionable Component of Innate Immunity.
Collin D. Heer, Daniel J. Sanderson, Yousef M.O. Alhammad, Mark S. Schmidt, Samuel A.J. Trammell, Stanley Perlman, Michael S. Cohen, Anthony R. Fehr, Charles Brenner
Preprint: bioRxiv 2020.04.17.047480; doi:
To learn more about NAD and its role in infection defenses:
NAD and CD38: modulators of inflammation and immunity. Lund, Frances E.
Trudeau Institute, Inc., Saranac Lake, NY, United States
“Understanding the coronavirus.” Jill Carnahan, MD. (2020-03-10)
Dr. Suzanne Gazda, Integrative Neurology