MAYA FELLER, MS, RD, CDN is a Brooklyn-based registered dietitian who is a nationally recognized expert on nutrition therapy for the management and risk reduction of non-communicable diseases. Maya believes in providing nutrition education from an anti-bias, patient-centered and culturally sensitive approach we appreciate. Dedicated to promoting nutrition education that helps the public to make better supplement and food choices for health and longevity, we turned to Maya for her take on “cellular health”, a wellness topic so all-encompassing, it’s actually easy to overlook…
The human body is made up of trillions of cells, each with its own composition and function. Our cells work together in a complex harmony to carry out various functions. Of the trillions of cells within the human body, there are approximately 200 unique types of cells that have a number of different organelles, the microscopic subunits within cells. Organelles are function-specific while being integral to keeping your cells alive.
You may ask yourself why you should care about the health of your cells. The short answer is, your cells are responsible for every interaction within your body. Brain cells transmit signals throughout the body, muscle cells (myocytes); cardiac, smooth muscle, and skeletal are responsible for the day to day functioning of all parts of your body.
Our bodies can experience stress or damage as a result of external exposures and or internal alteration, that have a direct impact on the health of our cells.
Simply put, aging is a normal but inevitable stress on the body. During the process of aging (senescence) our cells naturally degrade over time.There is also emerging research looking at senescent cells and their production of pro-inflammatory molecules that may further promote cellular decline. Research has also examined age-related changes in mitochondria resulting in an imbalance of energy production and free radicals along with reactive molecules.
On the Environment + Our Health
Each day we are exposed to environmental toxins – some are naturally occurring and others are the result of human production. These toxins may come from pollution, heavy metals, smoke, UV rays, substances like alcohol, drugs and more.
They may appear in our homes in the cleaning agents we use or the coating on our cookware. As we are more exposed to these toxins there is increased free radical production and cellular damage.
Experiencing cellular stress from our environment and our age does not mean you have to slow down as you get older. There are many habits you can adopt from both a lifestyle and health perspective that can make age just a number.
Increase your Phytonutrients
Plants, including vegetables, fruits, ancient grains, nuts, and seeds contain phytonutrients that are a set of compounds found in plants that have a beneficial effect on human health. They are a rich source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that may have a protective effect on our cells reducing free radical damage. They may also increase metabolism and the clearance of toxins. Patterns of eating that include regular consumption of plants in their whole and minimally processed form have been shown to decrease the risk of developing non-communicable diseases as well as improve the management of them, once a diagnosis is received.
Increasing your NAD+
NAD+, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a vital coenzyme found in all living cells. It is critical for metabolism and biological processes, and our cells use NAD+ to perform functions such as eating, sleeping, exercise, and even breathing. A 2020 study in the Journal of Biomolecules examined the importance of NAD+ homeostasis and its potential subsequent impact on the maintenance and regulation of cellular function. Researchers in the study noted that there may be an interplay between NAD+ balance and human disorders.
When cells experience metabolic stressors such as lack of sleep, overeating, and even immune stress, NAD+ levels may decline. Additionally, NAD+ levels may decline by as much as 50% as we age. A 2019 study in the Journal of Diabetologia notes that over the past decade NAD+ has emerged with the potential of combating metabolic disturbances and mitochondrial dysfunction.
The research is telling us that the health of our cells is directly related to the health of our bodies and that NAD+ is integral to mitochondrial function.
There are a number of ways to support NAD+ homeostasis within the body:
One: get plenty of rest. Sleep is a biological need and a time for our body to both rest and rejuvenate.
Two: Moderate exercise every week. Try to achieve a minimum of 150 minutes of active movement per week, a little over 20 minutes a day.
Three: Be mindful of your exposure to toxins and free radicals.
Four: Supplement with a trusted NAD+ precursor – nicotinamide riboside, like Tru Niagen®. Human studies have demonstrated that oral nicotinamide riboside supplementation increases blood levels of NAD+. NIAGEN®, the active ingredient in Tru Niagen®, has been studied in 11 published clinical trials. Additionally, NIAGEN® has achieved global regulatory acceptance in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Australia.
Tru Niagen® has research that found that after 8 weeks of 300mg per day participants saw a 40-50% increase in NAD+. This is great news for those of us looking to support our cellular health.
As with any supplement routine, I always recommend seeking out the advice and counsel of a credentialed and qualified healthcare provider so they can create a plan that is unique to you.This story is brought to you in partnership with Tru Niagen®. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.