NADH and Caregivers

NADH and Caregivers

Carolyn Mercer, B.Sc., N.D.

05 Jan 2021

NADH and Caregivers

We're excited to have Dr. Carolyn Mercer join our team as an educator - we are sure that her articles will bring great insight to everybody who reads them.

About Carolyn

Carolyn Mercer graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Science, studying biology and psychology. At this time she developed an interest in evidence-based research. Since attending the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, she has integrated her past research-based education with a more holistic avenue of healing. As a Naturopathic doctor, Carolyn was trained in several modalities of alternative health including nutrition, botanical medicine, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, bodywork and lifestyle counselling. Carolyn has an interest in treating digestive issues, weight management issues, fertility, and ADHD/autism. She also has an interest in adjunctive naturopathic treatments to support the immune system.

Signs and symptoms of burnout include anxiety, being angry or irritated, depression, not being able to concentrate, and lack of motivation. Physical symptoms include body aches, fatigue, and insomnia.

Depression, anger and irritation can be associated with low neurotransmitter functions such as low tryptophan, low dopamine and norepinephrine. Caregiver burnout is also associated with physical fatigue. Although we cannot always change our circumstances, we can use nutritional support to help support our chemistry.

NADH is a naturally occurring coenzyme which is involved in cellular energy production of ATP, which is the energy source for the cell and the body. Cellular energy is produced by the mitochondria via a process called oxidative phosphorylation (see Figure 1). Depending on the type of tissue, the more NADH a cell needs the more NADH it contains.

NADH can be created in different ways in the body including the breakdown of tryptophan or the use of various forms of B3 including niacin or inositol-hexonicotinate (see Figure 2). Use of tryptophan to produce NADH would obviously take away from the body's use of tryptophan to produce serotonin, which can have an impact on mood and sleep. Fermented foods and fasting or caloric restriction can also aid in the production of NADH.

Supplementing NADH can have 2 effects in the body.

1) It can help with cellular energy by increasing cellular production of ATP.

2) NADH also plays a role in creating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

NADH has been shown to be effective in various types of depression by increasing neurotransmitters such as tryptophan and serotonin and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters that are targeted in depression. A study has shown that taking 10 mg of NADH over a period of 6 months improved symptoms in 93% of participants.

NADH in combination with CoQ10 has also been shown to have decreased perception of fatigue. One study looked at those with chronic fatigue syndrome over an 8-week period. The study showed that a combination of 200 mg of CoQ10 and 20 mg of NADH was shown to reduce levels of fatigue.

Looking at the characteristics of caregiver burnout, supplementing with NADH and B vitamins is definitely something to consider. Always consult with your complementary healthcare provider to assess if these supplements are right for you.


1. Healthline, November 26, 2018: How to care for yourself when you have Caregiver Burnout. (accessed December 20, 2020).

2. W.H. Freeman and company. 2007. Biochemistry, sixth edition, dient-1452A7FD0936C25EA38.png (accessed December 21, 2020).

3. Nadinger, K et al. 2002. "Extracellular metabolisation of NADH by blood cell correlates with intracellular ATP levels," ?Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1573? (2010), he_More_ATP_Energy_in_the_Cell.pdf?498620895204135058 (accessed December 20, 2020).

4. Tryptophan-Niacin-NAD=Antiaging. (accessed December 22, 2020).

5. Healthydoesit,2020: Niacin/Nicotinic Acid/Nicotinamide(B3), (accessed December 21, 2020).

6. Olson, S.D., April 30, 2007. NADH's Possible Benefit for CFS and FMS. (accessed December 21, 2020).

7. Birkmayer, J.G.G., and Birkmayer, W. 1991. "The Coenzyme Nicotinamide adenine dinuleotide (NADH) as biological antidepressive agent experience with 205 patients, "New Trends in Clnical Neuropharmacology Vol V.? (n. 3/4), sant.pdf (accessed December 20, 2020).

8. Castro-Marrero, J et al. 2015. "Does oral coenzyme Q10 plus NADH supplementation improve fatigue and biochemical parameters in chronic fatigue symdrome?," ?Antioxidants & Redox Signaling" 22 (8), (accessed December 21, 2020).

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