The Connection Between NAD and Depression: What You Should Know

Jan 4, 2019

Dr. Ben Connolly, ND

Dr. Ben Connolly, ND


Anyone who’s ever experienced low mood or sadness can understand how much of a damper it can put on your day. But depression is more than just having a “bad day” and the American Psychiatric Association recognizes it as a serious medical illness that negatively impacts how a person feels and lives their life.

The signs and symptoms attributed to depression or major depressive disorder must have a duration of at least two weeks and consist of the following: 

1. Depressed mood or sadness 
2. Loss of interest in activities enjoyed by the person usually 
3. Weight changes- can be increased or decreased owing to the appetite 
4. Insomnia or somnolence 
5. Loss of energy and increased fatigue 
6. Slowed movement and speech 
7. Increased purposeless movement  
8. A feeling of worthlessness or guilt most of the time
9. Difficulty making decisions or focusing  
10. Suicidal ideation 

It has been estimated that one in every 15 adults suffers from depression in a given year, and one out of six people will experience depression at some point in their life. Though it can occur at any age and has been reported in various groups, depression is most prevalent in the late teens to mid-20s and women fall victim to the disease more as compared to males. 

Causes of Depression: 

  1. Genetics: the disease may be expressed by various members of a family 
  1. Environmental Factor: patients exposed to disturbed family backgrounds, abuse etc tend to suffer from the disease more 
  1. Personality: individuals who easily fall prey to guilt and reduced self-esteem suffice for depression quite often 
  1. Biochemistry: reduced levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain contribute to the disease pathology. 



This is an essential molecule in our body that reacts with oxygen in the mitochondria to generate the energy required for the vital daily life activities of the body. Decreased levels of this molecule have been found to give rise to numerous medical conditions notably: depression, anxiety, addictions, pain etc. This deficiency can go unnoticed and can be the reason behind various disturbing conditions the body experiences. NAD is an activated form of vitamin B3, which becomes NADH when combines with oxygen and acts as a coenzyme. Since hydrogen is explosive on its own, it needs a carrier molecule so that it can be safely utilized by the body. NAD provides this safety.   

The nutrients that we eat- carbohydrates, fats, proteins etc. enter the ‘Citric Acid Cycle’ of our body which results in the production of NAD, eventually combining with Hydrogen to give NADH. This energy particle enters the electron transport chain and generates ATP (adenine triphosphate) the ultimate energy source for the body.   

The importance of NAD can be deciphered from the fact that it is vital for the generation of a particle that is utilized by almost every organ in the body. As soon as the energy reserves of the body run out, signs and symptoms affecting the organ appear- example a difficulty focusing, concentrating if the brain is involved since it is the organ that uses the maximum energy generated in the body.  




NAD IV therapy has been seen to effectively manage depression. Apart from the numerous functions it performs, NAD is also required for various enzymatic activations. One such set of enzymes are the Sirtuins. Patients suffering from mood disorders have been discovered to have low levels of these NAD-dependent enzymes. Also, in depressed subjects, changes in the hippocampus lead to reduced functions by the neurons. The hippocampus is the area of the brain primarily engaged in processing emotions. One study reports reduced levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) contributing to depression in patients. The primary mode of treatment for depression includes behavioral therapy and/or prescription of anti-depressants. Such medicines target neurotransmitters in the brain namely dopamine, serotonin etc. Using NAD as an IV therapy for management of depression can help boost the levels of Sirtuins. SIRT 1, a subclass of these enzymes, is responsible for mediating neurotransmitters in the brain that can help reduce anxiety and depression. Other subclasses, including SIRT1, SIRT2, SIRT3 all have a positive impact on the overall brain health as they prevent neuro-degeneration, promote neuronal growth, reduce inflammation and damage in neurons etc.  One subclass also increases levels of BDNF that further enhances neuronal protection and eliminates depression. 



Since depressive disorders are a blind route leading to suicide in the end, they must be attentively addressed. Loss of lives at the hands of a potentially treatable disease is devastating and questionable in a rapidly modernizing era of medicine. NAD therapy with minimum most side effects and numerous health benefits; without any addictive properties and all natural, holistic approach seems promising for the management of such patients.  



  1. What Is Depression? [Internet]. 2018 [cited 17 July 2018]. Available from: 
  1. Timothy J. Legg C. Depression: Tests, symptoms, causes, and treatment [Internet]. Medical News Today. 2018 [cited 17 July 2018]. Available from: 
  1. NAD: The Biological Rocket Fuel that Gives You Energy – MindBody Medicine Center [Internet]. MindBody Medicine Center. 2018 [cited 17 July 2018]. Available from: 
  1. Depression – NAD Therapy [Internet]. NAD Treatment Center – San Diego CA. 2018 [cited 17 July 2018]. Available from: 
  1. NAD Therapy – AddictionCenter [Internet]. AddictionCenter. 2018 [cited 16 July 2018]. Available from: 


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