Seems to be a trend for me lately. Sleep will happen, eventually, but at what cost to my health? I’m ready for a change.
During one of my conversations with Stephen Camp, the founder of Avior Nutritionals, maker of Myetin, he brought up the concept of brain restoration.
Brain restoration? We can restore our brains? I love this concept!
I definitely wanted to learn more.
So, he set up a meeting with a functional medicine specialist, Dana Leduff, CHC and practice manage for Dr. Knight at Knight Integrative Medicine.
Have you ever heard of NAD+?
I have heard mentions of it but really do not understand it fully. I was psyched to learn how brains restore and what this means for us living with MS.
NAD+ levels decline as we age, or so the research indicates. AND it is critical for cell generation and health.
“NAD+ creates calming neurotransmitters in your brain,” Leduff told me. OK, my MS brain definitely needs calming.
I took this straight from the Wikipedia - “Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a cofactor found in all living cells. The compound is called a dinucleotide because it consists of two nucleotides joined through their phosphate groups. One nucleotide contains an adenine nucleobase and the other nicotinamide. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide exists in two forms: an oxidized and reduced form, abbreviated as NAD+ and NADH respectively.”
We are talking about the oxidized version, NAD+,in this article. But what does this mean for me?
“NAD+ is a cofactor involved in the Kreb cycle. It stimulates ATP which is the fuel equivalent that runs all of our cells,” Leduff explained, “NAD+ is a kick start for the engine.”
The Kreb Cycle is also known as the TCA cycle (tricarboxylic acid cycle). It’s basically the chemical reactions to release stored energy through oxidation of acetyl-CoA derived from carbohydrates, proteins and fats into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and carbon dioxide. It provides the process to make the fuel we need to run our engines. NAD+ is this fuel.
“It affects a lot of other metabolic pathways. If depleted or burned through, adding NAD+ could help gain greater resilience,” she said, “We could have more stockpiled.”
“Imagine having a bad starter to your car,” she said. Well, that’s easy to do!
“If you could take a product that could provide NAD+ it could help the Kreb cycle.” Which in turns help the brain restore by helping mitochondria reach a healthier state.
“An out-of-balance level of NAD+ may be a result from genes that don't make enough or don’t break down the macronutrients to pure NAD+,” Leduff informed me. “When they become in balance it could create changes in circadian rhythm and sleeping patterns.”
Leduff further explained, “As in gardening, we need soil enriched with the right things. In the human body, NAD+ provides the right fuel. It turns a bunch of switches on that might have not been activated due to limited fuel.”
“We want to send as many healthy microbiomes to the brain,” informed Leduff as these could help restore the brain
Research claims benefits.
One interesting article I found was put out by the Translational Medicine of Aging. The title hit a chord with me, “Therapeutic potential of boosting NAD+ in aging and age-related diseases discusses NAD+, it’s benefits and clinical usage.”
NAD+ is synthesized by natural NAD and several precursors. Precursors have shown possible benefits in research. But, “NAD+ in Myetin is the activated form of NAD+ which the body can use in its current form and is not affected by any genetic polymorphisms,” stated Leduff.
One precursor, NR, was found to be beneficial for glucose levels in diabetics. In neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s it’s been shown to help memory, motor function and mitochondrial function as well as protect from neuronal cell death.
Another precursor, NAM, helps with oxidative stress and more: In the model of obesity, it has able to restore glucagon storage to similar levels as age-matched standard-diet mice as well as ameliorate diet-induced hepatosteatosis, oxidative stress and inflammation.
The study found that inhibiting the age-related decline in NAD+ levels is critical for preventing age- or disease-related frailties. It also found that strategies that could potentially boost NAD+ levels include exercise, fasting, and maintaining a healthy diet, and by boosting with supplements.
But these precursors are not the same as NAD+,” Leduff explained. “And there are many precursors available for sale.”
“Whenever claiming to be a particular molecule. We want a form that’s most bioavailable otherwise those genetic mutations could make the process more sluggish or not happen at all so the body can’t benefit from it.
Leduff warns, “Many companies claim to have NAD but they are talking about “precursors” of some form. Avior Nutritionals has the only blend available that is the pure active form of NAD+.”
Leduff suggested that patients who want to find more personalized health plan, could find their answers in functional medicine.
Sleeping with Sabrina
After talking mitochondria a bit, I still wanted to learn more. So, I connected with sleep specialist and certified brain fitness coach, Sabrina Cadini .
She does not have MS.
“I was sick and we couldn’t figure it out for a long time, so I decided to heal myself with self care, nutrition, sleep, etc.,” Sabrina said. A familiar story to so many of us.
“I wanted to share my story and inspire others - switched to coaching. We need to educate people today that there are other options.”
What is a brain fitness coach?
“We help others take care of their brain before it’s too late. We help with nutrition, exercise, sleep, and self-care. Are they too stressed or do they need to enhance their brain function?” Explained Sabrina.
“The body and brain are so tightly connected,” she said, “ For example, if people move the body releases hormones and detoxifies the body - it’s a chain reaction. They don't realize how the body works and just follows the medicine prescribed.”
“I can’t say enough about mitochondria!” Shared Sabrina.
“These energy powerhouses are some of my best friends when I work with my clients. Considering that mitochondria can also help us with cell growth and the support of the nervous system, I can’t ignore their importance in my coaching practice.
“None of my clients knows about mitochondria, but when I explain the critical role of mitochondria as the source of our cellular energy, their view of everyday life and optimal lifestyle completely shifts. They feel more motivated to follow my program that focuses on nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management to improve their energy levels and overall health.
“Since mitochondria are directly connected to sleep and most specifically to our circadian rhythm, I always stress the importance of a good night’s sleep. If our circadian clock is impaired due to lack of sleep, or inconsistent sleep patterns, our energy production will decrease, and our overall health can be impacted: symptoms can include fatigue, pain, and susceptibility to illnesses. This, in turn, can negatively affect the circadian rhythm, creating a vicious cycle.
“I’m also learning a lot about NAD+ and how mitochondrial dysfunction can result from declining NAD+ levels in our body. I have to say, I feel blessed to live in this era where science and genetics are making progress every day, and more and more research studies give hope to many people suffering from chronic and autoimmune diseases.
Sabrina suggests that once we understand our biological clock, it’s better to understand what we’re doing and going through.
Hormones with light and darkness really run the show. Melatonin night time. Cortisol and adrenal during the day.
“Understand and take better care of yourself,” Dana recommends, “Be more respectful for sleep routine when the night comes.”
Sabrina’s Sleep Tips
“Unplug,” recommends Dana, “the use of technology is a big disrupter.”
“Watch the blue light - the kind we absorb during the day via sunlight - but if we keep absorbing it then we can’t produce melatonin so it disrupts the circadian rhythm.”
Then, Sabrina gave me these great tips to help reset the circadian rhythm along with NAD+.
1. Reduce blue light/devices
2. Software called Flux changes color of screen based on time zone to adjust/tint with red as the day progresses
3. Windows 10 on a PC? Look for screen tint, regulated with red/blue light.
4. Rescue TV, devices, etc.
5. Put phone in airplane mode - reduced EMF (electromagnetic fields)
6. Swannies - Blue light blocker glasses
7. Keep room where you sleep as dark as possible.
8. Consistency is KEY -
1. Regular time to bed, regular sleep patterns
2. Do not catch up on sleep - “if it’s gone, it’s gone.”
9. Exercise can help sleep patterns. Don’t exercise later in the evening as its stimulating and may cause problems falling asleep.
10. Caffeine - stop by 3pm - leave 6-8 hours before bedtime.
11. Napping - less than 30 minutes, or might enter deep sleep and feel more fatigued upon awaking
12. Relaxation techniques: yoga, breathing, meditation.
I’m definitely beginning to understand better.
NAD+ is critical for our cells and fueling our brain and body. It helps keep all those scientific parts in balance and the mitochondria healthy so it can send harmonious energy to the brain. “Calming neurotransmitters,” Dana called them.
And understanding how the circadian rhythm plays a role sort of ties the whole brain/body connection together in one tight package.
Very curious for sure. This NAD+ and its role in helping me sleep. Self-care at its finest.