Tag: healing

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+)

Every so often a mysterious new molecule grabs the public’s attention – making the rounds of news, magazines, and social media before quickly disappearing into irrelevance soon after emerging.

This disappearing act is often a result of the use of largely unsubstantiated claims about how the newly discovered compound will help you live longer, train harder, regrow your hair, improve your sex life, or all the above.

Unfortunately, because of the regularity with which these unproven, or just plain untrue, claims appear on their newsfeeds, most people have rightfully become cynical. As a result of this cynicism, actually effective compounds like NAD+ are often scoffed at as just the latest trendy topic that will be replaced next week with something new. Wait a minute though, NAD+ is one compound that won’t soon be replaced, and it is only beginning to gain traction in the anti-aging and generally health-minded community. The fact is, NAD is functionally irreplaceable because it is absolutely critical for life to exist.

Why is NAD+ So Important?

NAD’s importance for the existence of life is due to these facts:

  • It takes part in hundreds of metabolic processes.
  • It is both a cofactor for energy production and a source of energy itself.
  • It plays a role in DNA repair.
  • It is crucial for immune system activation, and so much more.

But with everything in health and wellness, it is important to look at all of the facts and determine whether utilizing NAD+ is both practical and applicable for you as an individual. All the lab tests and research in the world mean nothing if you aren’t able to apply the information and tools they provide into your daily life. That is what we are going to do today – help you determine whether increasing your NAD+ levels is practical and applicable to you.

To do this, we will cover:

  1. What NAD+ is.
  2. How to effectively increase your levels through supplementation and/or lifestyle modifications.
  3. What the benefits of increasing your NAD+ levels are.
  4. What the potential dangers of elevating them may be.  

What is NAD+


NAD+ is such an amazingly complex molecule that is involved in a seemingly never-ending list of processes throughout the body – so any attempt to fully examine it will almost certainly be in vain.

You may have already heard something about NAD+ on the news, social media, or even from some friends in the know. Common descriptions of NAD+ don’t even begin to do this amazing compound justice, though. NAD+ is found in every single living cell on earth, working as a cofactor (a molecule that assists enzymes in chemical reactions), and playing an essential role in multiple physiological processes such as DNA repair, energy metabolism, immune activation, and the list goes on. NAD+ is also essential for the activity of sirtuins, a class of enzymes involved in longevity (resveratrol, one of those molecules that periodically makes the rounds in popular media is another potent activator of sirtuins).

But that’s not all, NAD+ is also vital for the activity of the PARP family of DNA-repair enzymes. NAD+ ‘s central role in the process of turning the macronutrients we eat into energy your cells can actually use (known as ATP) is likely why the depletion of NAD+ that happens with age has been associated with the onset and progression of multiple age-related conditions – from metabolic dysfunction to neurodegenerative disease. 

Our body’s require such high quantities of both NAD+ and it’s reduced form NADH, that we have the ability to create both from multiple sources. NAD+ levels can be raised or supported by many foods, and can be directly synthesized in our body from the amino acid tryptophan. Supplementation with nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), nicotinic acid (NA), and nicotinamide riboside (NR), all known collectively as niacin equivalents, has been shown to raise NAD+ levels in certain tissues and organs as well.

Diet and supplementation are not the primary source of NAD+ however, not even close, in fact. Our largest source of this amazing molecule is an internal mechanism known as the NAD+ salvage pathway. When our cells use NAD+, a molecule called nicotinamide is left as a byproduct. Nicotinamide is then converted into NMN, and eventually back into NAD+. Unfortunately, this process of recycling NAD+ is shut off when sufficient amounts of NAD+ are created – presenting a potentially harmful obstacle which we will discuss later on. So now that you have a somewhat better idea of just how important NAD+ is in the body, let’s go over a few highly effective strategies to increase your levels.

How Do I Increase NAD+?

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to increase your NAD+ levels – many of which won’t cost you a dime.

Certain lifestyle practices that are commonly accepted as life-extending, such as intermittent fasting, caloric restriction, and exercise all increase NAD+ levels substantially. Exercise and caloric restriction of any kind are able to raise NAD+ levels because of an energy sensing mechanism within our cells. When our cells use energy, levels of NAD+ within the cell rises. This then activates enzymes like sirtuins which are linked to improved cognitive function, increased mitochondrial biogenesis, improved hormonal function, and reduced inflammation. 

The ability of sirtuins to reduce inflammation is especially important due to the fact that chronically elevated levels of inflammation may actually deplete NAD+, creating a downward spiral of cellular damage and degradation. Both the loss of NAD+ that comes with age and reduced sirtuin activity has been observed as a fundamental occurrence in the aging process. 

Another effective means of increasing your NAD levels is through supplementation. There are a few important caveats to add when deciding on a supplementation plan for NAD+ however – the first of which is the source.

The group of supplements known as “NAD boosters”, or “niacin equivalents,” have all been shown to effectively raise NAD levels throughout the body to varying degrees in different tissues. Unfortunately, NAD+ itself has poor bioavailability and is quickly broken down into its precursor nicotinamide. This is an important fact to consider because high levels of nicotinamide have actually been shown to inhibit sirtuin activation, potentially eliminating some of the sought-out beneficial effects of increased NAD+ levels. This is just one aspect of an elaborate and confusing relationship between our cells and NAD+ supplementation.

Currently, your best bet is to engage in lifestyle practices that will naturally increase levels of NAD+. Further research is needed to determine whether NAD+ administered through an IV is an effective and reliable means of increasing levels systemically, although more and more research is beginning to suggest that it is likely. Oral supplementation of nicotinamide riboside (NR) has also shown promise at raising NAD+ levels in plasma. Only time and experimentation will tell if supplementation will provide an effective means to raise NAD+ levels throughout the body – for now though, try to incorporate exercise and strategic caloric restriction whenever it is appropriate and safe for you to do so. 

Is NAD+ Safe?

There have recently been some concerns that increasing NAD+ levels may contribute to cancer growth. While this will take far more research to confirm or debunk, this particular finding was found only with a very specific and relatively rare form of cancer. It otherwise is widely believed that increasing NAD+ via supplementation or other strategies is incredibly beneficial and may improve healthspan. Due to its ubiquity in all living cells, it is unlikely that NAD+ has any potentially harmful effects whatsoever. Until more research is done to elucidate this concern however, and to determine how to best supplement with NAD+, look to practices like intermittent fasting, exercise, and generally restricting calories which are all proven to be effective options. NAD+ is far from another trendy health hashtag, but we are nowhere near fully understanding its potential for improving health and longevity. 

PRP Injections: Healing with Platelet Rich Plasma

Healing from injury, disease, or dysfunction is an incredibly complex process – yet we take it for granted as an expected result of unseen biological forces.

Content with standing idly by, most assume that we cannot use the tools we now have available to take proactive and decisive steps to enhance (or in some cases, begin) the healing process. If we are going to try and flip the script and take charge of our healing, it makes sense to start with the center of how the body heals physically  – platelets. 

Your platelets are one the first responders to injury. They are immediately drawn to the site and go to work releasing their granules filled with growth factors and an inflammatory cascade then ensues – kicking off the healing process. Growth factors, proteins, and various other substances released by the granules enable the body to heal, enable us to heal. Harnessing this innate power is easier than you think, and platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP) show incredible promise in the field of regenerative medicine. There is still a lot to find out about this cutting edge technique that has been used to remedy all kinds of cosmetic issues, musculoskeletal injuries, joint dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, and more, but you can bet you should at least consider looking into a treatment if you have any of these issues. Due to a current lack of standardization and consensus in the research, there is no definitive answer as to whether or not you as an individual should try PRP, or whether it will be effective for you and your unique issues. However, based on the incredible safety profile of PRP, it’s simple mechanisms of action, and the potential it has for healing various tissues, we recommend reading on and deciding for yourself. 

How PRP Works

When you break it down to the nuts and bolts, the functional properties of PRP are mainly based on the creation and secretion of the many growth factors that are released by platelets after activation.

Platelets (or more technically, thrombocytes) are the body’s first response to injury and they quickly arrive at the site of damaged tissue to begin their work clotting blood and releasing various growth factors and other substances needed for repair. Some of the major growth factors released by the granules within platelets include:

After a patient’s own blood is drawn, it is placed in a centrifuge and spun to separate the blood from the plasma and its constituents, then the concentrated plasma is then reinjected into the targeted tissues. This process creates a concentration of platelets up to 10x what is normally found in whole blood and with all this growth-factor power concentrated into one specific area in the body, the healing process is able to be kickstarted or enhanced greatly. 

It is important to note that a greater concentration of platelets does not necessarily mean better results!

Based on this incredibly straightforward (and yet, also complex) mechanism of action, it is easy to see why PRP may have the potential to change the way chronic pain, joint disintegration, wrinkles, erectile dysfunction, and many more disorders will be treated in the near future. Mechanisms aren’t the only impressive feature of PRP. In fact, there is plenty of clinical application for both musculoskeletal pathologies, as well as aesthetic use of PRP injections.

PRP may be instrumental in dealing with an incredibly pressing issue – one that impacts an estimated 50% of American adults. 

Musculoskeletal Restoration

PRP has been used extensively for the treatment of many musculoskeletal disorders but results have varied depending upon the individual and their specific issues. Research has concluded that PRP treatment can improve healing in soft tissues and bone – showing the most promise for afflictions like:

  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • MCL injuries

Unfortunately, there currently exists a lack of standardization amongst research techniques, effectively hindering any consensus from developing regarding the efficacy of PRP treatment. That hasn’t stopped those at the forefront of regenerative medicine from restoring tendons, ligaments, and joints at a fundamental level by releasing the potent growth factors available within PRP. To ensure the successful application of PRP for treating musculoskeletal dysfunction or degradation, a skilled practitioner will often utilize an ultrasound to guide the procedure. This technical prowess, as well as a thorough screening process to verify that PRP will be effective for an individual, is key to the successful application of a platelet-rich plasma treatment. 

As PRP treatment advances and becomes more widely utilized, more and more benefits have begun to emerge – many of which are entirely backed by research and have been proven effective by actual application.

PRP & Aesthetic Rejuvenation

PRP and Aesthetics

Taking into consideration the fact that the term rejuvenation can be used as a vague and generic defining characteristic, let’s start by clearly explaining exactly what we mean by it.

Rejuvenation is “the action or process of making someone or something look or feel better, younger, or more vital”. In this sense, PRP absolutely does rejuvenate tissues – allowing them to heal, and objectively improve based on a wide array of parameters. 

It is widely known that the stimulative effects of PRP on fibroblasts (cells that create collagen and other connective tissues), as well as its ability to promote the secretion of hyaluronic acid and Type I procollagen are just a few of the mechanisms by which these treatments are able to vastly improve both the appearance and health of skin. PRP has even been used to enhance sexual function in both men and women. Basically, there are few tissues found thus far that won’t respond favorably to the skillful application of PRP. Luckily, there is plenty of objective research supporting it’s aesthetic efficacy. 

In a systematic review of the cosmetic applications of PRP by Motosko, et. al., they concluded that platelet-rich plasma injections can reliably result in:

  • Improved skin texture
  • Color homogeneity
  • Increased firmness/elasticity
  • Increased volume
  • Enhanced dermal thickness
  • Reduced solar elastosis (sun damage)
  • Decreased wrinkles
  • Reduced severity of nasolabial folds
  • Minimized acne scars
  • Alleviated erythema
  • And last but not least, satisfied patients

Overall, the majority of studies fully support the use of PRP as a beneficial treatment for facial aesthetics. It is also important to note, in most studies that have a wide age group, there is no significant difference found in positive response rates between those of younger age, and subjects of an advanced age. This highlights the fundamental power PRP has to work with our bodies, not against them like many modern approaches to “healing” tend to do. Our need to try any means of augmenting the healing process becomes increasingly dire as we age, due to our growing inability to complete the complex processes involved in restoring our bodies. You can certainly say that the research behind PRP is promising, but it is no less rife with disagreements. 

No Standard Opinion

Without a doubt, the largest obstacle to PRP being entirely proven effective (or disproven), is a lack of standardization within the research. Methods of concentrating platelets can vary greatly, resulting in subjects essentially receiving different doses in different studies. Also, there exists great individual differences in platelet numbers on any given day, which means those disparities will need to be controlled for in future research. This field is evolving rapidly and a more evolved understanding of the complex interaction between the immune system and signals from injured tissues has been accompanied by an increase in the use of PRP therapy to help heal musculoskeletal injuries, kickstart the rejuvenation of skin, improve sexual function, and a whole lot more.

Other Healing Compounds

There are a few other items that are strong contenders with PRP for healing properties on the body. Thymosin Beta 4 (TB-500), and BPC-157 (Body Protection Compound) are two promising compounds that have proven to have some potential. Currently, you can buy bpc-157 injections through online telewellness providers, whereas TB-500 isn’t as accessible, unless purchased through less trusted sources with possible legality issues. Some peptides are likely to assist in the healing process as well. You can buy sermorelin injections, cjc-1295, and ipamorelin online, also through telewellness providers. Each of these items help to increase HGH levels in the body, which is essential to cell health.

Body Protection Compound 157 (BPC-157)

Half of the population of American adults live with some sort of musculoskeletal injury¹.

Put more simply, this means that half of us experience chronic pain or dysfunction in our joints, muscles, or bones.

To varying degrees, these injuries can be quite debilitating and are notoriously difficult to fully heal from. Joint structures, ligaments, and tendons are categorically known to be hypovascular – meaning they have relatively few blood vessels compared to other tissues in the body. This lack of blood supply typically results in a prolonged healing process and an increased potential for reinjury in the future. Currently, the standard of care for musculoskeletal injuries involves the use of corticosteroids. Despite their destructive effects on tissues and organs, corticosteroids remain the primary (and controversial) treatment for such injuries due to a general lack of other viable options. Short of surgical interventions, (musculoskeletal-related surgeries absolutely dominate the list of top surgeries performed each year) there just aren’t many options for managing pain from such issues, let alone healing them. Fortunately, our body’s may have provided us with exactly that, an option – the promising compound called BPC-157.

BPC-157 Has Been Around

You might be surprised to find out that BPC-157 has been making the rounds in the scientific research community for quite some time. It was first introduced and overviewed in the Journal of Physiology by Sikirić et al. back in 1993². BPC-157 is a fifteen amino acid fragment of a protein (a peptide) found in human gastric juice. Luckily, it’s ability to regenerate tissue isn’t limited to our stomachs, however. In fact, BPC-157 has been found to promote increased healing and repair in nearly every kind of tissue in which it has been studied thus far.

Our primary focus today will be its proven effects on musculoskeletal repair, it’s potential mechanisms of action, what to do before trying BPC-157, and where you can find reliable, quality sources of this body protecting compound – we will also briefly touch on some potentially promising benefits and effects of BPC-157 across the body.

How Does BPC Work?

It is well known in the research that BPC-157 circulates throughout the entire body, whether it is taken orally or injected subcutaneously.

It has also been shown that BPC is specifically attracted to signalling molecules produced by injured tissues, yet the exact mechanism with which it heals the tissues is not known for certain, and likely varies depending on the particular tissue(s), as well as the nature of the injury.

Although the mechanisms of action are not fully understood, the scientific literature has identified some potential sources of this compound’s healing power, including its effect on nitric oxide, the FAK-paxillin pathway (focal adhesion kinase – an enzyme present in injured tissues), increased VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) activity, and the upregulation of growth hormone receptors in injured tissues. VEGF specifically is responsible for angiogenesis, or the creation of new blood vessels and is the most likely mechanism through which BPC-157 is able to promote the healing of joint structures, tendons, and ligaments. Additionally, most joint structures, ligaments, and tendons are composed primarily of different kinds of collagen, and their healing capacity can benefit from increases in collagen production stimulated by BPC-157. Like we mentioned already, these structures have a relatively slow healing process – once healed, they may still lack the structural integrity they had prior.

How Can BPC-157 Be Administered?

BPC-157 and Healing

BPC-157 has traditionally been administered via an injection as near as possible to the location of injury. Unfortunately, injected medications typically have a much lower rate of patient compliance when compared to easier administration routes such as oral delivery. One of the biggest obstacles to developing an orally administered version of any treatment happens to be the volatile and acidic environment within the stomach.

Fortunately, BPC-157 is stable in this kind of environment – likely thanks to the fact that it was discovered in gastric juice. Yet another unique quality of this peptide is that it can be administered through various routes and still remain effective. Researchers have tested BPC-157 administration orally via tablets and dissolved in drinking water, applied topically via transdermal patches and creams, rectally, and through intraperitoneal (abdominal) injections. In fact, every route of administration tested thus far has yielded positive healing outcomes.

What Else Does BPC Help?

This intriguing peptide also has many potential benefits outside of helping musculoskeletal repair and recovery. It is currently being researched for potential positive effects it may have on neurological disorders and inflammation, and it has profound evidence for healing gut issues like lesions caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This is especially interesting because NSAIDs are one of the primary medications utilized for chronic joint pain and other such ailments. The entire class of medications known as NSAIDs are proving to have more and more side effects with their prolonged usage by the population as a whole. If BPC-157 does indeed prove effective for not only healing the issues that were once treated with NSAIDs and corticosteroids, but also reversing or healing damage caused by them, it would be an obviously vast improvement over these outdated practices.

One commonly prescribed corticosteroid named 6alpha-methylprednisolone is incredibly effective at reducing inflammation and pain, but it comes with a whole host of unwanted side effects including the delayed healing of injured tissue. One study looking at the co-administration of BPC and 6alpha-methylprednisolone had astounding results: BPC-157 produced faster muscle healing and full function restoration and also improved muscle healing – despite systemic corticosteroid treatment when given intraperitoneally or locally. Positive results were demonstrated functionally, macroscopically, and histologically at all investigated time intervals³.

Before You Give BPC a Try

Due to its unique status somewhere between a nutritional supplement and a pharmaceutical drug, BPC-157 has not yet been extensively studied in humans.

However, in the human trials that have already been done, as well as in clinical application that has already taken place, there have been essentially no reported adverse events. Those that have been reported come through anecdote primarily, and consist of digestive issues and nausea. Before you purchase BPC-157 for musculoskeletal injuries and dysfunction you should assess potential nutritional deficiencies as well as possible behavioral/lifestyle issues that may be at the root of your joint, bone, or muscle pain.

Consistent and prolonged sitting, poor exercise form, inactivity, fatty acid deficiency, and other factors may be contributing to your chronic pain or discomfort and addressing them will help ensure BPC-157 is able to have a positive effect. More research is certainly needed for BPC-157 to replace surgeries and pain medication as the standard of care for musculoskeletal injuries – however, it is certainly the most promising compound available for this purpose. It’s lack of adverse events, as well as the fact that it has no known toxicity levels should be encouraging enough for those in suffering to give it a try. Keep in mind, even surgery is not able to promise a solution to the chronic pain that is being experienced by 50% of American adults, and the side effect profiles of NSAIDs and corticosteroids demands an alternative treatment be developed.

Where To Buy BPC

There are a variety of websites out there that are all racing to provide customers with BPC-157 and other peptides at the lowest cost possible. This inevitably results in companies cutting corners and providing products that are either diluted or that actually contain none of the advertised compounds. Your best bet is to visit a wellness or anti-aging clinic that sources their peptides from a compounding pharmacy that has an excellent track record as well as client testimonials to back it up. Another fantastic option is to buy BPC-157 injections through a clinic that provides telemedicine and allows you to speak to a licensed medical professional, receive a prescription, and order products all in the same place. There are few compounds that show as much promise as BPC-157 and it is likely to improve the quality of life for countless people suffering from joint and muscle pain in the coming years. 

¹ “One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition.” Science Daily,  March 1, 2016, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160301114116.htm

² Sikirić, P. et al. “A new gastric juice peptide, BPC. An overview of the stomach-stress-organoprotection hypothesis and beneficial effects of BPC.” Journal of Physiology-Paris, Volume 87, Issue 5, 1993, Pages 313-327

³ Pevec, Danira, et al. “Impact of pentadecapeptide BPC 157 on muscle healing impaired by systemic corticosteroid application.” Med Sci Monit, 2010; 16(3): BR81-88

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