Key Pointers

NAD plays a vital role in depression as

  • The essential molecule in our body reacts with oxygen in the mitochondria to generate the energy required for the vital daily life activities of the body.
  • Decrease of these molecules causes depression.

To qualify as depressed or suffering from major depression, the signs and symptoms must endure for at least two weeks and include the following:

  • Sadness or depression.
  • There might be a decrease in interest in your favourite activities
  • An increase or a decrease in weight due to the appetite
  • Sluggishness or insomnia
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • The slowness of speech and movement
  • Increased activity with little benefit
  • Distress or depression
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Depression or thoughts of suicide

Neurochemistry: certain neurotransmitters are reduced in the brain leading to the disease.


We require this molecule in our body to produce the energy for the daily activities of our body, which is formed when oxygen reacts with it in the mitochondria. A reduction in these levels has been linked to a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, depression, addictions, and pain. The body may experience different disturbing conditions because of this deficiency, which can often go unnoticed. As a coenzyme, NAD, when combined with oxygen, becomes NADH. The body cannot safely utilise hydrogen on its own because it is explosive by nature. This safety is provided by NAD.

Our body produces NAD from carbohydrates, fats, proteins, etc., which then combines with hydrogen to form NADH, through the Citric Acid Cycle. ATP (adenine triphosphate) originates from this energy particle and is the key to our bodies' energy production.   Considering that NAD is vital to the production of a body-wide particle, its importance is evident. The body shows signs and symptoms of depletion of energy reserves as soon as its reserves run low- for instance, difficulties focusing and concentrating if the brain is affected.

The brain uses the most energy. Depression can be effectively treated with the increase of NAD+ available to the brain. It also acts as a co-factor in the activation of several enzymes. The Sirtuins are an example of such enzymes. The enzymes NAD-dependent are low in patients who suffer from mood disorders. Depressed individuals also have reduced functions by their neurons due to changes in the hippocampus. In the human brain, the hippocampus is primarily involved in emotion processing. There is evidence that patients suffering from depression have reduced levels of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Anti-depressants and behavioural therapy are primarily used to treat depression.

Neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are targets for such medicines. Boosting the levels of Sirtuins in the body can help treat depression by increasing NAD+ levels in the body. A subclass of these enzymes, SIRT 1, is involved in the production of neurotransmitters that can help alleviate depression and anxiety. In addition to SIRT1, SIRT2, and SIRT3, the other subclasses possess a positive impact on the overall health of the brain as they prevent neurodegeneration, promote neuron growth, reduce inflammation, and enhance neuronal growth.  BDNF levels are also increased in certain subclasses, which further protect neuronal cells and eliminate depression.


When our brain is deprived of energy for the long run depression is on the way. NAD+ is used as it enhances the neurotransmitter SRIT1 level in the brain. This neurotransmitter ameliorates depressive symptoms and brings the brain back to a healthy balanced state.


  1. Viljoen M, Swanepoel A, Bipath P. Antidepressants may lead to a decrease in niacin and NAD in patients with poor dietary intake. Med Hypotheses. 2015 Mar;84(3):178-82. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2014.12.017. Epub 2014 Dec 30. PMID: 25596911.
  2. Timothy J. Legg C. Depression: Tests, symptoms, causes, and treatment [Internet]. Medical News Today. 2018 [cited 17 July 2018]. Available from:
  3. Dóra E, Gyulai L, Kovách AG. Determinants of brain activation-induced cortical NAD/NADH responses in vivo. Brain Research. 1984 May;299(1):61-72. DOI: 10.1016/0006-8993(84)90788-1.
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