Salvage and de Novo - Two Unique Pathways to Make NADH
In biochemistry, the term “de novo” means that one compound like niacin makes a brand new compound like NADH. It is like building a car from scratch. Human cells generally depend on the De novo creation of NAD from the basics.
NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Hydrate) is a compound that is an electron carrier and helps to make energy and is endogenous -naturally occurring in the body. It helps to make energy via the Krebs cycle. NADH has a special role generating ATP (energy) through the oxidation of food molecules.
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is changed to nicotinamide (niacinamide) and then converted to NAD.
The De Novo Pathway
Niacin (nicotinic acid) → Nicotinamide (niacinamide) → NAD
When NAD+ picks up a charged hydrogen molecule and 2 electrons, it makes NADH.
Niacin is made from the basic material L tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid.
The majority of cells in the body depend on de novo creation of NAD from the building blocks available (Rajman L et al, 2016).
The Salvage Pathway
The salvage pathway operates by recycling the nicotinamide produced by enzymes in the body that use NADH. There are 3 vitamins that act as precursors in the salvage pathway. They are nicotinic acid, nicotinamide and nicotinamide riboside. The process takes nicotinic acid from outside of the cell or takes some NAD+ broken down material inside the cell (Sporty J et al, 2008).
Why is this important?
The De novo NADH pathway promotes mitochondrial function and improves health.
The salvage pathway is also important since it generates the major source of NADH in humans. NADH’s availability has been associated with an increase in lifespan when calories are restricted from the diet. NADH has been considered a key factor in cellular metabolism, mitochondrial function, and biological processes of aging (Radenkovic D et al, 2020).
- NAD levels decrease with age and the de novo and the salvage pathway functions are diminished, which causes changes in rate-limiting enzymes and precursors.
Animal research has demonstrated that by elevating NAD levels it generates different benefits to the immune system and improves cardiometabolic health (Rajman L et al, 2016).
NADH is involved in providing the energy for various body systems including cardiovascular. In fact, normal NAD levels help to strengthen the heart, normalize blood pressure and support the blood vessels to be flexible and pliable. Also NADH helps to protect the Central Nervous System neurons and helps brain function (Massudi, 2012; Fricker, 2018).
How do you increase NADH levels?
To help increase NADH levels, one can eat more fish, dairy and mushrooms. There are also NADH supplements on the market such as the precursor, Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). Enzymes in the body are used to make NADH.
As with any dietary supplement, if you have a medical condition and/or take medication it is best to check with your health care provider prior to taking any products.
In summary, de novo and salvage manufacturing of NAD are critically important to the health of the body and helping to increase lifespan. NAD+ is necessary to manufacture energy to all parts of the human body.
This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.