NEW ORLEANS — There's a natural chemical we need to function, but as we get older, levels go down.
So lately, people are using supplements to feel, and think better, but that’s not the only reason.
People across the U.S. have been traveling to Southeast Louisiana to get the supplement for many years, to treat everything from addiction to Alzheimer's.
People of all ages are turning to a natural supplement for anti-aging, and youthful energy, to get off of alcohol or drugs, to help pain, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, for better athletic performance, and even for an edge in school.
That supplement is NAD, short for Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It's a natural coenzyme in your body, essential for hundreds of critical cell functions, such as their growth, survival, metabolism, and genetic repair, but natural levels go down with age.
“Inflammation plays a huge role in heart disease, so it fights that inflammation. There are a lot of people with hypertension that come in to get NAD to help lower their blood pressure,” said Dr. Tom Lavin, bariatric surgeon at Surgical Specialists of Louisiana and owner of Support IV Bars.
Under medical supervision, people come in to Support IV Bars for NAD IVs, or quick injections to feel, sleep, and even think better.
“We even have people in their 20s and 30s. We have people come in before exams and get it because cognitively you're so much clearer. It's shocking the change that you feel,” said Dr. Lavin.
At 75 years old, Rodney LeBlanc has a busy CPA career working on historic business tax credits with big companies nationwide. Weight loss surgery helped him lose 115 pounds, but NAD is taking his energy level from sluggish to warp speed.
“I'm at that gym at 5:30, four days a week, and I'm not working out with people my age. I'm working out with people 20 years younger than me. My wife's much younger than me, you know. She some days can't keep up with me,” said Rodney LeBlanc, who works out this a trainer at Be More Human Performance in Covington.
The way people describe the NAD energy is not like you're hungover from the night before, and drank a lot of coffee, so you have jittery energy. They describe it like you feel like you've eaten a clean diet your whole life, you got eight hours of restful sleep, you meditate to get rid of stress, and you exercise every day. They say it's a natural energy that comes from within.
“So the energy, the cognitive ability, the clarity, the sleep,” Kelly Rudolph describes the positive changes she feels from NAD infusions.
She gets infused to keep up with her busy career managing physicians at Surgical Specialists of Louisiana, and her busy personal life. That included twins who recently got married within weeks of each other.
Internationally known fitness expert, Mackie Shilstone has seen NAD help athletes.
“After three treatments, the guy got up off the canvas, literally won the state title,” said Mackie Shilstone, about a high school wrestler who was having difficulty with overtraining and chronic fatigue and used NAD.
At Maxwell Nutrition, the Shilstone's have a reduced form in a capsule. It is formulated to be the most effective oral supplement.
“NADH directly was studied by NASA in regard for jet lag, and they did a study for east coast to west coast flight travel, and the people that took NADH, didn't have as much jet lag as the people that didn't,” explained Spencer Shilstone, a certified fitness coach with the National Association of Sports Medicine and owner of Maxwell Nutrition in The Rink Shopping Arcade.
Owners of the Springfield Wellness Center in Livingston Parish, say they were the first in the U.S. to use NAD to treat addiction.
“My daughter at 16, went from having a little ponytail, to wearing a dog collar,” said Paula Mestayer, a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist, and founder of Springfield Wellness Center.
Author of a book on NAD, she and her medical doctor husband, saw NAD successfully treat their daughter for drug use 22 years ago, out of the country. So in 2001, they opened their own treatment center. There's therapy, yoga, hyperbaric oxygen, and infrared sauna, but NAD treatments are most prominent with IVs, injections, skin patches, a nasal spray, sublingual tablets, or creams.
“They then don't have any craving at the end of it. Some people don't have cravings after day two. It's amazing,” she said.
“I drink a lot of beer, and I was drinking a case a day, like 15, 18, 24 more, and I actually ended up having like panic attacks from withdrawals,” said a 32-year-old patient Brett.
He’s a hockey player who comes to Springfield for NAD, from Michigan.
“It gives you a fighting chance like I've never felt like I've been able to stop drinking until I came here. I used to have really nasty night terrors, and actually, once I came here, I really don't have nightmares anymore,” he said.
Former Marine Sgt. Patrick Uloth served in Iraq. explosions caused PTSD, brain injury, and hypervigilance to perceived enemy threats, once he got back home.
“My lack of sleep the nightmares, and then mood swings were happening,” said Sgt. Uloth, who is now an administrator at Springfield Wellness Center.
NAD at Springfield helped him get clean and off of pain pills, heroin, and crack 14 years ago.
“After my second day, I didn't crave anything. Never craved it again,” he said.
Now he's married with a family.
“It's going on three and a half years since I've had my booster (of NAD) and I don't have any of the depression. I'm on no medication,” he explained. Before this treatment, doctors at another hospital had him on several medications.
People with pain, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's also come to Springfield. Bill Lancaster has had Alzheimer's now for 17 years. His mental decline is not as fast as his mothers was when she had Alzheimer’s.
“Once a month I go and see her and I have not gotten worse. So I'm happy,” said Bill Lancaster, 76.
“It definitely decreased the speed, the rate at which he was declining, and so now 15, over 15 years later since the start of it, his doctor’s shocked that he’s still doing as well as he’s doing,” said Blair Lancaster, Bill’s daughter.
When asked if there are double-blind, published, peer-reviewed science on NAD, Dr. Tyson Olds, an anesthesiologist who treats patients at Springfield Wellness Center replied, “So there are a lot of case reports that actually we've published here at the clinic on basically patient experiences. Clearly over 20 years, we've demonstrated a very strong safety profile.”
When asked if the center was claiming NAD was a cure for addiction, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and PTSD, Mestayer answered, “No, no, no, it's not a cure. For some people, they would call it a cure, because they've never had another craving.”
Doctors at Springfield are working with independent doctors on studies. They agree large-scale studies are needed but say there’s no big pharma funding for those studies because NAD is a natural substance.
We asked LSU Health's Dr. Ben Springgate to look through published science on NAD and NADH. There are cellular studies, and animal studies showing supplements significantly improve several metabolic functions.
Mackie Shilstone believes it shouldn’t be taken just because someone is older, and that it is best used if there is a specific need for it.
“This isn't going to turn you into a 30-year-old. It is going to be a catalyst to help you be the best you can be at your age,” said Mackie Shilstone.
For now, studies with people are scarce, but what is growing in abundance, are people using NAD as a pathway to health.
Some with lingering Lyme disease are also turning to NAD for treatment.
Support IV is now working on a NAD skincare line.
Treatments are not covered by insurance. Before taking a new supplement, always check with your medical doctor.
Support IV Bars:
Dr. Lavin weight loss clinics:
Maxwell Nutrition for NADH supplements:
Springfield Wellness Center:
Be More Human Performance in Covington:
Studies on NAD in the scientific literature highlighted by Dr. Ben Springgate of LSU Health Sciences:
- Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (oxidised form, NAD+), first discovered as a coenzyme in fermentation in 1906, has been extensively studied throughout the last century with a total of four Nobel Prizes given to NAD/NADP-related discoveries (citation: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047637421001391 )
- Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) — has been described as an essential enzyme for various critical cell functions, including metabolism, DNA repair, cell growth and survival (citation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-022-00002-7)
- NAD+ depletion occurs in various tissues during aging (citation: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047637421001391 )
- NAD+ is synthesised from sources that include NMN, tryptophan, nicotinic acid, nicotinamide riboside and nicotinamide. NAD+ precursors are found in small amounts in natural foods, such as cow’s milk, vegetables and meats. (citation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-022-00002-7)
- “In rodents, NMN ameliorates the detrimental effects of NAD+ reduction with age, and it significantly improves several metabolic functions,” says Samuel Klein, a doctor and nutritional specialist at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, United States. “This has led to NMN being sold worldwide as a diet supplement, with very little data to support that it has beneficial effects in people.”(citation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-022-00002-7 )
- NMN-containing healthcare products and cosmetics are becoming increasingly popular in North America, Europe and China. The global NMN market was valued at US$253 million in 2020 and is projected to reach US$386 million by the end of 2027. (citation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-022-00002-7 )
- Experts agree that further studies on the regulation of NAD+ homeostasis and the effects of NAD+ and its precursors on the epigenome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome using high-throughput methods are indispensable. In addition, more clinical trials are needed to rigorously establish therapeutic and toxic dose ranges of NMN. Such trials should include both males and females and be conducted in healthy and disease states. (citation: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-022-00002-7)