A new study has shown some promising links between ageing and circadian rhythms and how NAD+ plays an important role in preventing the age-related disruption of circadian rhythms. While the study has only been done in mice, it’s interesting to see where this new research might lead.
What is our circadian rhythm?
A circadian rhythm is an automatic process that regulates a cycle of behavioral changes and repeats roughly every 24 hours. The most well-known example of a circadian rhythm is sleeping at night and being awake during the day. But why 24 hours? Well it’s purely down to the earth.
The earth’s rotation period is 23 hours, 59 minutes, 4.1 seconds, or approximately 24 hours. Almost all living things on earth, including cyanobacteria, insects, fish, and mammals, have developed their endogenous clock systems, which are referred to as the “circadian clock” to adjust themselves to the earth’s rotation. In mammals, the circadian clock or rhythm exists in all tissues of the body, including each cell and its role is to regulate many metabolic and homeostatic balances.
What happens if our circadian rhythm is disrupted?
Our circadian rhythms can become disrupted in a number of ways but the main cause is simply ageing. This disruption can cause imbalances within the body, often on a cellular level and can contribute towards the development of many age-related diseases.
Symptoms of disrupted circadian rhythms
One of the main problems associated with a disrupted circadian rhythm is severe sleep issues but other symptoms include:
- Stress & anxiety
- Brain fog
- Poor memory
How NAD+ and our circadian rhythm is linked
Now, this new study suggests a role for NAD+ in resisting age-related circadian rhythm disturbance.
The mice in the study were supplemented with NAD+ for a period of 4 months. Researchers then examined circadian-regulated gene expression in the mouse livers. The results showed that the gene expression patterns of around half of the circadian-regulated liver genes were altered in a beneficial manner when NAD+ levels were increased.
The connection that NAD+ and circadian rhythms have are through sirtuins, of which sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) regulates circadian rhythms. This is because when there is sufficient NAD+ available, the body is able to regulate circadian rhythm properly, but, inevitably, as ageing steadily creeps in and the level of NAD+ production declines, SIRT1 can no longer work with it to regulate circadian rhythm.
So how can NAD+ be used to help people?
While the study mentioned has so far only been conducted using mice, the findings may prove useful in helping older people improve their health and quality of life, which includes sleep quality, via NAD+ therapy.