✓ Medically Reviewed and Fact-Checked by Dr. Jesse Ropat, PharmD, RPh, B.Sc.
You may remember our friend from high school biology class for its role in the Krebs cycle.
NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme molecule found in every single one of our cells.
It’s a crucial cofactor for enzyme-mediated reactions. Not only that, but NAD+ can directly and indirectly influence a myriad of cell functions like metabolism, DNA repair, chromatin remodeling, cellular senescence and immune cell function – all critical for healthy ageing.
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 could 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 our body uses them to make more NAD.
As we age, we experience a gradual decline in total NAD+ levels, which is linked causally to many age-related diseases (cognitive decline, cancer, metabolic disease). That’s why we’ve put this master list together for you, so you can make an informed decision about which option is best for you.
*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 Overall For Healthy Aging: Wonderfeel® Youngr™ NMN
Best Intranasal (Nose Spray): Renue by Science Lipo NAD⁺ Complete Nasal Spray (use code “RFS10” 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 Lozenge: Pro Health Longevity NADH Pro Lozenges
Best Powder: Renue Pure NAD+ Powder
Youngr™ NMN provides a completely unique, trademarked formula developed by Harvard MD and leading biomedical scientist, Dr. Andrew Salzman. He has 30 years of direct research experience on NAD and NMN, and it shows in the quality of the product.
Simply, they have a patented form of NMN that no other companies have. Their patented NMN is more bioavailable, meaning it’s highly absorbable because it’s reinforced by a shield of enhancing agents, so it gets to your cells.
Typically, NMN goes through a complicated pathway to reach the cell. These enhancing agents help NMN to get through the bloodstream and into the cell where it needs to be and more importantly they protect the NMN inside the cell against the oxidants where it’s converted to NAD, which is the whole point.
Second, Youngr™ includes one of the highest doses, backed by the latest clinical trial. Each bottle contains 60 capsules with 450 mg of NMN in each capsule.
That’s much higher than other top products (usually around 150-250mg), for a similar price. Making overall a great value, even if the initial price, $73 with a subscription (and we recommend the subscription because the best impacts of NMN come when you take it consistently).
In addition to the high, clinically-tested dose of NMN, Youngr™ Includes other top-tier ingredients for health and longevity.
All told, it’s no wonder Youngr™ customers report remarkable results on everything from improving memory, to being able to run long distances again. It’s a fantastic formula with a high dose and competitive price.
This product is #1 also because NMN is the most well-researched of the NAD boosters.
This nasal spray is our top choice, first and foremost, because it seems to be the highest quality and most effective delivery mechanism. They use liposomal delivery, which are lipids that surround the NAD precursors, and in turn can improve its absorption. This is one of the only quality NAD+ nasal sprays 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, for obvious proximity reasons. 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 precursors, and you can get a 10% discount with our link, bringing the price under $40.
I also like that you get a blend of NAD+, NMN, and NR, so you tap into each of their benefits.
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.
Overall, this is a great option to help keep your face looking vibrant.
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. 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.
Renue’s ingestible products are gluten-free, non-GMO, and suitable for vegans.
Ultra Health produces pharmaceutical-grade nmn products, and they have the documentation to back it up. There’s little question about the quality. They manufacture their own products and without a doubt are among the strictest quality standards on our list.
In 2022, they released a new version with a liposomal, enteric code to increase absorption.
The theory behind “liposomal” is that it surrounds the NMN in a protective layer, potentially helping increase bioavailability and absorption. This is a solid theory, but still a theory nonetheless, and liposomal capsules have basically no downside, other than the cost.
Even with the highest quality out there, Ultra Health NMN capsules are still competitively priced. Every bottle comes with 30 vegetarian capsules with 250mg of NMN for under $44.
This combination of unmatched quality, liposomal delivery, and competitive price is why Ultra Health NMN is our top liposomal pick.
Likewise, it’s gluten-free, non-GMO, and suitable for vegans.
When it comes to maintaining youthful vigor and vitality, Niacel 400 by Thorne stands out.
At the heart of Niacel 400 is Nicotinamide Riboside, a unique form of vitamin B3 that plays a crucial role in the production of NAD+, a coenzyme essential for cellular health and energy.
Modern lifestyles, filled with stress, lack of sleep, and unbalanced diets, can deplete our NAD+ levels, leading to early signs of aging. Niacel 400 helps replenish these levels, ensuring that age remains just a number.
Every batch of Niacel 400 is NSF Certified for Sport, ensuring it’s free from harmful substances and meets the highest standards of quality.
NAD+ Gold® and Methyl Charge+™: The Ultimate Duo for Energized Longevity
In the quest for optimal health and longevity, Quicksilver Scientific introduces the NAD+ Gold and Methyl Charge+ bundle, a powerful combination designed to supercharge your cellular health.
This dynamic duo ensures that both NAD+ and methylation cycles are fully supported, which is crucial for effective healthy aging protocols.
With Quicksilver’s exclusive liposomal delivery technology, you’re not just taking a supplement; you’re ensuring rapid uptake into the bloodstream, maximizing the benefits right after ingestion.
NAD+ Gold: Each serving (1 mL or 2 pumps) contains 50mg of NMN and 50mg of Trimethylglycine (as betaine).
Methyl Charge+: Each serving (1 mL or 2 pumps) offers Riboflavin (10mg), Vitamin B6 (1mg), Folate (850mcg DFE), Vitamin B12 (500mcg), and Trimethylglycine (75mg).
Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, produced in a cGMP certified facility, and third-party tested, this product is a no-brainer, and is one of the best NAD+ supplements on this list, regardless of being listed last.
We have strategically only placed 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 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 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).
Overall, the jury comparing these three compounds is still out. While we may assume that NAD+ itself will be the most effective at boosting NAD levels, this isn’t necessarily the case. A bunch of other factors come into play.
NAD+ has the benefit of being able to cross the blood-brain barrier intact. 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.
However, it does not absorb well. So taking it as a capsule is pretty much pointless. That’s why the best NAD+ supplements include face creams, serums, and nose sprays. That’s what you’ll see here on our list.
When it comes to all of these supplements, bioavailability is the name of the game. That is, if your body can’t absorb the supplement, it won’t make it into the bloodstream and go to work on improving your cellular health.
This is the case for NMN. Simply, when ingested orally, we seem to absorb NMN the best. In fact, overall, NMN is the most well-studied, popular, and immerging NAD booster.
If you’re looking for a simple supplement that can support healthy aging, NMN is the place to turn. We’ll feature our top products on our list, but you can see a full array of quality products in this article on the best NMN supplements.
Because it absorbs better, some research shows better results for endurance training and blood vessel growth in muscles. If your goal is increased energy levels and improved athletic performance, NMN is the way to go.
Okay, NR supplements really don’t have too many advantages. However, the one perk is that they seem particularly effective at elevating NAD+ levels in the liver.
Because of this, you won’t see straight NR products on our list, but there are products that include a combination of them all.
Like we said – bioavailability is the name of the game for all supplements, but especially with NAD and NAD Precursors
That’s because NAD+ on its own, when ingested orally, is pretty much useless. You won’t absorb it. That’s why the top NAD+ supplement 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 1-9, it really depends on what you’re looking for, so you’ll have to make that decision for yourself. The best NAD+ supplement is the one that fits your lifestyle and goals the best, and that you take regularly.
When it comes to brain support, as we mentioned, NAD+ seems most effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier. And, nose sprays will be the most practical.
Because of this, I recommend going with Renue’s NAD Complete Nasal Spray, if your goal is to improve your cognition.
In general, though, keeping your NAD levels high will support your brain. Low levels of NAD have been linked to reduced function of your brain cells.
We all know physical activity and exercise is good for you. It’s essential for life – if you’re not moving, you’re dying.
Exercise stimulates key enzymes in our skeletal muscle, which promote NAD+ production, and aids in ATP generation for exercise.
There isn’t one best option for training, but a couple great starting points are resistance training, and aerobic conditioning.
Directly, no. These are not traditional weight loss, or fat burner supplements. However, as a downstream effect of improved overall health and vitality, it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Of course, though, if your goal is to lose weight, it begins with exercise and a healthy diet.
If you take NAD, but eat like crap, don’t exercise, and don’t work on your all the stressors toiling with your life, you can expect weight gain, not weight loss. And it won’t be the supplement’s fault.
Obesity is a world-wide issue, and the people who suffer from it typically have more adipose tissue, greater insulin resistance, dysregulated blood sugar levels, hypertension, and cholesterol levels that are out of control. This mosaic of misfortune makes them susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, stroke, cancer – you name it.
NAD+ was identified as a compound able to regulate metabolic function in yeast nearly a century ago, and since then it’s been explored as a potential human therapeutic.
People who eat high-fat diets might lead to them having lower NAD+ levels, and reducing the activity of these key sirtuins and other related enzymes. Taking extra NAD+ might help drive metabolic reactions forward.
The most commonly reported side effect comes from capsule versions. These include indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, and other common side effects which suggest that it didn’t sit well in your stomach. For the capsule versions on our list, we included once that will absorb better.
Yes, in fact, it’s essential for energy production.
Without NAD, we can’t make ATP in the mitochondria, which is the body’s usable form of energy. That’s why NAD supplements may support cellular energy production and energy metabolism.
One of the most common reports from consistent NAD supplementation is having higher energy levels. This is likely because your body is now literally better at making usable energy.
I’m going to hit you with a new word – Inflammageing.
Defined as: an age-related increase in the levels of pro-inflammatory markers in blood and tissues.
This fancy new term has been identified as a hallmark of ageing, and one of the culprits driving our age-related diseases.
Chronic inflammation is a massive burden for our fragile bodies to carry, and weighs down many of our body systems, impeding their normal function.
NAD+ is a critical regulator of our immune cell function – macrophage (white blood cell) activation may be tied to the upregulation of NAD+ pathways.
When we lose NAD+, some of the macrophages produce pro-inflammatory markers in our fat, and liver. These macrophages can be further spurred on by senescent cells (those that are no longer proactively replicating – zombie cells, as we call them). If that wasn’t bad enough, old macrophages sometimes have trouble synthesizing NAD+ on their own, further salting the wound.
We do need more research on the subject, but as more evidence comes to light, it seems that NAD+ is effective in reversing or at least managing our age-related immune dysfunctions to some degree.
NAD increases sirtuin activity. To oversimply, sirtuins are a class of proteins that are like the clean-up crew for the cell. The more sirtuin activity, the better “shape” the cell will be in. In a phrase, it leads to cellular repair. Along the same lines, it may help spurn DNA repair.
Sirtuins may also support the immune system.
Yes, of course. Without it, we would die. The goal of supplementation is to give our body the tools to restore it to the NAD levels we had in our youth.
We make NAD from vitamin B3 (niacin and niacinamide) and tryptophan, an essential amino acid.
As of right now, NAD supplements like these are NOT designed to fight specific diseases. However, there is some clinical studies that it may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease because of its ability to improve brain health and slow down aging. However we need more research before drawing conclusions on this.
We said before that NAD+ levels drop as we get older, and the enzymes that it operates alongside also change. This drop is linked to age-related diseases, like atherosclerosis, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and loss of cognitive function. NAD+ has become a potential therapeutic agent for treating these age-related declines.
Some find it gives them a boost of energy, so for the majority of people, morning will be best. However, you can take them at either time, with or without food. The best NAD+ supplement is the one you take on a regular basis.
When we skimp out on sleep, we open ourselves up to chronic illness risk – obesity, depression, early death. The picture is grim when our sleep is dysregulated.
However, the opposite picture looks much better. When we get proper sleep, we live longer, and healthier.
NAD+ does play a role in regulating our circadian rhythm – our NAD+ levels tend to oscillate and change within a 24 hour rhythm, which is dictated by our body and the environment. NAD+ also helps regulate key enzymes that regulate our internal clock.
When we age, and our NAD+ levels drop, our internal clock enzymes function less efficiently.
NMN and NR can be found in foods like cucumber, cabbage, and immature soybeans.
Others like broccoli, tomato, avocado and tomato also have good levels of NMN.
There is much less found in raw beef, shrimp, and cow milk, but still some level.
Trans-resveratrol has gotten a lot of media hype, and it still has some value, but my read of the research is that it’s overrated.
We have a few articles on the topic:
I’m also a huge fan of books.
I really enjoyed Lifespan by Dr. David Sinclair.
I’m also really looking forward to Dr. Peter Attia’s new book, Outlive.
Disclaimer: Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement, including NAD supplements. I’m a stranger on the internet, NOT your doctor.