NAD vs. NAD+ vs. NADH... What’s the Difference?

Organika Santé

You may have heard this cellular health supplement called different names, here’s the explanation.

So you realize you need support for your cells as you age.

You realize you need a boost in your NAD levels to do so. However, you are hearing a few terms thrown around and it may be causing you to be a bit confused?

We're here to explain what NAD+ is, why you need it and what the heck is the difference between NADH and NAD.

What Is NAD+?

NAD+ is short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. This coenzyme is essential to reactions happening in every living cell (coenzymes work with enzymes to speed up a specific chemical reaction).

NAD+ is the molecule/coenzyme that is needed for over 500 enzymatic reactions and plays key roles in the regulation of almost all major biological processes. No wonder it’s vital to cellular health and cellular repair. However, it’s this molecule that is crucial to become NADH, which is the molecule that is used by the body to bring what is needed to the cells.

So we need NAD+ to make the NADH.

Infographic explaining how NADH works in the bodyThe NAD to NADH pathway explained

Here’s the science...

NAD+ and NADH are really the same molecule but undergone a transformation.

In the body, it starts as NAD. NAD is a key component in the energy-making process by the mitochondria of our cells, each living cell’s powerhouse.

A low NAD to NADH ratio has been linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and accelerated aging.

NAD is first introduced in this energy cycle as NAD+.

This acts like a car ready to pick up a passenger. It comes along and picks up a hydrogen molecule with two charged electrons … making it NADH.

NADH’s primary purpose is to bring these charged electrons to the mitochondrial enzymes needed for the energy-making process (the plus sign is removed because negatively charged hydrogen molecule cancels the positively charged NAD+ molecule).

Once NADH gets to the enzyme, it drops off the electrons (expels the hydrogen atom) and becomes NAD+ again.

Now NAD+ is back to being that car ready to pick up a new passenger.

KEY LEARNING: Generating more NAD+ will generate more NADH. However, NAD+ is really what your cells are building when you use an NAD+ Booster, and now you can see why that specific molecule is what your body needs.




Long story short on NAD+, NADH, and NAD

Whenever you see the term NAD, what that’s really encompassing is a process and not just one definitive molecule. NAD is found as two different molecular structures: NAD+ and NADH.

You might see the terms NAD, NAD+, and NADH used interchangeably online and on store shelves. “NAD” is a collective term that defines the different forms NAD takes on its molecular journey.

NAD+ and NADH are just two versions of the same compound, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. NAD+ represents the oxidized form of NAD, meaning it has lost an electron. Gaining and losing an electron like this is called a redox reaction. NADH represents the reduced form of NAD, meaning it has regained the lost electron and is ready to transport it to a different molecule.

Generating more NAD+ will naturally generate more NADH.

To keep your cells healthy and to benefit from longer cellular vitality, taking a supplement to boost NAD+ is ideal.

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