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What is NADH? Why do we need it?

NADH stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It's a chemical compound, and the active coenzyme form of vitamin B3. As such, it plays an essential role in the body's energy production.

Recent research has focused on the potential uses of NADH and neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Studies conducted both in the U.S. and overseas have shown that injections and oral administrations of NADH can improve the function of the brain's neurotransmitters, and reduce physical disability and need for medication in patients with Parkinsonism. Another study showed that oral doses of NADH improved mental function in Alzheimer's patients, but this study did not use a control group. Anecdotal research suggests that NADH can also help people suffering from clinical depression or chronic fatigue.

How much NADH should I take?

In most clinical trials of NADH, researchers have used a dose of 10 milligrams per day, taken with water on an empty stomach. Because NADH is related to vitamin B3, patients with low B3 levels may also have low NADH levels.

What forms of NADH are available?

NADH is found in the muscle tissue of fish, poultry and beef, along with foods made with yeast. It is also available as a dietary supplement.

What can happen if I take too much NADH? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Studies of patients using NADH supplements have found no side-effects for up to one year or more of continuous use. However, long-term use has not been evaluated. At the time of this writing, there are no well-known drug interactions with NADH. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking NADH or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


  • Birkmayer JG. Coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide: new therapeutic approach for improving dementia of the Alzheimer type. Ann Clin Lab Sci 1996;26:1?9.
  • Birkmayer JG, Vrecko C, Volc D, et al. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH): a new therapeutic approach to Parkinson's disease. Comparison of oral and parenteral application. Acta Neurol Scand Supp 1993;146:32?5.
  • Dizdar N, Kagedal B, Lindvall B. Treatment of Parkinson's disease with NADH. Acta Neurol Scand 1994;90:345?7.
  • Forsyth LM, MacDowell-Carnciro AL, Birkmayer GD, et al. The use of NADH as a new therapeutic approach in chronic fatigue syndrome. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting, 1998.
  • Kuhn W, Muller T, Winkel R, et al. Parenteral application of NADH in Parkinson's disease: clinical improvement partially due to stimulation of endogenous levodopa biosynthesis. J Neural Transm 1996;103:1187?93.
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