NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is found in every single one of our cells. In fact, you may remember it from high school biology class for its role in the Krebs cycle.
We need NAD+ to convert energy. And the research has made it abundantly clear that low NAD levels lead to cell dysfunction (aging), and that by restoring NAD levels we can slow down the aging process.
When it comes to NAD+ supplements though, there are 3 major types.
NR – nicotinamide riboside
NMM – nicotinamide mononucleotide
NAD – nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
NR and NMN are precursors to NAD. This means they can be used to make NAD.
But you can also just get NAD directly. Today we won’t be talking much about NMN and NR. We’re talking specifically about NAD+ products. (Or NADH, which just has an extra hydrogen atom.)
If you want to learn more about NMN products, you can check out our article on the best NMN supplements.
Overall, the jury comparing these three compounds is still out. NMN seems to be more effective than NR in general at elevating NAD levels in the bloodstream, but NR seems particularly effective at elevating NAD+ levels in the liver.
Some research shows better results for endurance training and blood vessel growth in muscle with NMN compared to NAD+.
NAD+, however, crosses the blood-brain barrier intact, which NMN doesn’t. The theory that comes out of this is that it will elevate NAD+ levels in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. The hypothalamus has been theorized as the ‘master aging clock’ and by restoring NAD+ to this brain area, it likely improves the rest of the body too.
Again, this is still a theory, but research of this on mice has been super promising. This hypothalamus effect hasn’t been shown with NMN or NR.
Bioavailability is the name of the game for all supplements, but especially with NAD.
That’s because NAD+ on its own, when ingested orally, isn’t very bioavailable. Most of it won’t make it through the harsh environment of our stomachs. That’s why the top NAD+ products tend to come in other forms:
As we’ll discuss, they each have their benefits. If you want to improve your skin health or undo face wrinkles, a transdermal product is your best choice, for example. While we have ranked the products 1-6, it really depends on what you’re looking for, so you’ll have to make that decision for yourself.
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
Best Intranasal (Nose Spray): Renue by Science NAD+ Micromist Nasal Spray (use code “ROMAN10” for a discount)
Best Face Cream: Codeage Eternal Platinum NAD/Resveratrol Face Cream (use code “ROMAN10” for a discount)
Best Lotion: Renue Topical Lotion With Liposomal NAD+ Complex
Best Capsule: Renue LIPO NAD Complete
Best Lozenge: Pro Health Longevity NADH Pro Lozenges
Best Powder: Renue Pure NAD+ Powder
We have strategically only placed three companies we think produce some of the highest quality products in the health and longevity space. NAD+ is a prescription-only substance in many places, so we selected companies that…
1. Specialize in longevity/health products. In the case of Renue, they’re even doing some of the science themselves, creating unique products that you can’t find anywhere else.
2. Go beyond typical testing. They’re all cGMP (certified good manufacturing practices). But they do more. They display test results and manufacture products in FDA-approved facilities.
3. Competitive pricing. Given how high-quality they are, you’d expect them to reach near-pharmaceutical cost. But all three companies are competitively priced. Codeage and Renue were even nice enough to give readers 10% by clicking on the link (Renue) or using the code (Codeage).
This nasal spray is our top choice, first and foremost, because it seems to be the highest quality and most effective delivery mechanism. This is the only quality NAD+ nasal spray that doesn’t require a prescription. So you’re getting a pharmaceutical-grade product.
Even compared to lozenges or different creams, a nasal spray is the most effective delivery option to get NAD+ to the brain. And as we mentioned getting NAD+ to the brain means the whole body can reap the benefits.
Basically, it’s a huge win if we can get NAD+ to the brain, and your nose is the best route to get there. It’s actually that simple.
There are even a few shocking studies on NAD+ nasal spray. A 2018 study showed that nasal NAD+ reduced neuronal death after traumatic brain injuries in mice. That means it could help the brain after traumatic injuries. That’s… wild. But unsurprising based on what we know about NAD.
Every bottle has a total of 3 grams of pharmaceutical-grade NAD+, and you can get a 10% discount with our link, bringing the price under $40.
With a whopping 12 grams for under $36 after your discount, this is by far the best value for NAD+. It’s just pure, high-quality powder. Nothing fancy. As we’ve mentioned, NAD+ taken orally has poor bioavailability.
This is a product you take sublingually, under the tongue to improve absorption. It’s not as effective as the nose, but you can’t beat the value.
“But David, how does it taste?”
Like nothing. And it’s not grainy either. It’s like putting sugar under your lip but it wasn’t sweet at all.
I decided to try it with some honey under my tongue while it dissolved. It was a good move, I recommend it.
Anyways. Great value. Great company. Simple product.
Through the skin, either via a face cream, serum, or lotion, is another more effective way to absorb pure NAD. However, it won’t make it to the brain as well as some other methods. But, it will definitely make it to the skin.
This is the top product if your goal is younger-looking skin. (It won’t just look younger, it will biologically be younger.)
In addition to the NAD+ though, Codeage also includes Resveratrol, another highly-touted anti-aging ingredient, hyaluronic acid, which, as we wrote about here, improves wrinkles, and collagen peptides, which are proteins responsible for repair.
Basically, it has so many quality ingredients for healthier skin.
If you prefer a serum, Codeage also has a serum version, although it’s a bit more expensive.
Similar to the face creams, this product absorbs the NAD+ transdermally, but it’s made for any skin surface, not just your face. It includes an NAD complex of NAD+, NR, and NMN, as well as resveratrol and apocynin, another ingredient that may improve skin health by helping reduce oxidative stress.
We know that the skin is one of the first places where NAD levels deplete. This is the best product that you can apply anywhere on the skin.
It’s also liposomal, which, as we’ll talk about in other products, are protective layers for the NAD complex molecules. And they mimic the makeup of our cells, so while they protect the molecules in the rugged environment of our stomach acid and our skin’s surface, once it’s in the body, our cells recognize liposomes as friends. Overall, this increases the absorption.
So this is a great product if you’re looking for a combination of the skin health benefits and the overall benefits of NAD.
For any oral NAD (or NMN or NR) product, it’s crucial that there are methods to enhance its absorption. That’s why this product is liposomal. Liposomes surround and protect the molecules as they pass through the stomach.
The upside and downside of this product is that it’s not a strict NAD+ product. It has a blend of NAD+, NMN, and NR. So if you know you want NAD+, I would look elsewhere. But if you want the convenience of a capsule and a combo of all of the top NAD precursors all in one product, then this is the one for you.
This is a lozenge product, so you absorb it sublingually. This means underneath the tongue, where it can be absorbed by lots of tiny blood vessels. Even though it’s not liposomal, it’s not the end of the world because it’s avoiding the digestive tract.
So if you prefer your anti-aging supplements in candy form, this one’s for you.
Remember, we mostly talked about NAD+ specifically here, so if you want to look into NMN you can check out our article on that.