NADH for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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NADH, or reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is made in your body from niacin, a B vitamin. It's contained in all living cells.

NADH is a somewhat common supplement for people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). It's use, especially in FMS, is based more on anecdotal evidence and hypothetical matches between the supplement's known functions and the conditions' known deficiencies and symptoms.

  • As a coenzyme, NADH helps enzymes in your body break down food and convert it to energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Studies show that sometimes have low levels of ATP.
  • Research also shows that NADH can stimulate brain function, which may help alleviate the cognitive dysfunction associated with FMS and ME/CFS.
  • NADH may reduce the fatigue of chronic disease by restoring function of the mitochondria (tiny structures that power your cells.) Fatigue is a major symptom of both FMS and ME/CFS and both conditions are believed to involve mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • NADH is believed to be an antioxidant, which may help with oxidative and nitrosative stress linked the these conditions.
  • NADH may help your brain create neurotransmitters that may be deficient in these conditions (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.)

We have no research on it for FMS. Limited research shows that NADH may be an effective treatment for ME/CFS and also depression, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

However, more study is needed before we can say how effective a treatment it is for any illnesses.

NADH for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Two recent studies looked at supplementation with NADH plus coenzyme Q10 in people with ME/CFS. One published in 2015 suggested a significant reduction in fatigue versus placebo.

The other, published in 2016, appeared to show reduced maximum heart rate during exercise. That could mean that it would help with post-exertional malaise, which is a defining symptom of the disease.

A 2011 review of available literature named NADH and magnesium as the only two supplements that had been shown to improve ME/CFS in studies.

Earlier research suggested improvement in anxiety and maximum heart rate after a stress test.

NADH Dosage

NADH supplements are widely available and don't require a prescription.

A safe, effective dosage for FMS and ME/CFS has not yet been established. The recommended dosage is typically 5 mg to 10 mg a day. It should be taken 30 minutes before a meal on an empty stomach.

In Parkinson's disease studies, the most effective dose was identified as 25 mg to 50 mg per day.

NADH in Your Diet

It's easy to get more NADH through your diet. We don't know, though, whether dietary NADH is used as efficiently as the supplement form or what your body produces on its own.

Sources of dietary NADH include:

  • fish
  • poultry
  • beef
  • yeast-containing products

You can add NADH to your diet by eating more meat, fish, and poultry. It's also available in supplements.

Side Effects of NADH

Side effects of NADH are rare, especially at low levels. Higher doses are associated with:

  • feeling overstimulated
  • insomnia
  • anxiety

While NADH supplementation appears quite safe, you should still watch for negative side effects.

Is NADH Right for You?

If you think you might benefit from NADH, be sure to talk to your doctor about it. It's also a good idea to bring it up with your pharmacist, who's an expert on how different treatments may interact in your body.

Sources:

Alegre J, Roses JM, Javierre C, et al. Nictinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Revista clinica espanola. 2010 Jun;210(6):284-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rce.2009.09.015. Article in Spanish; abstract referenced.

Alraek T, Lee MS, Choi TY, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2011 Oct 7;11:87. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-87.

Castro-Marrero J, Cordero MD, Segundo MJ, et al. Does oral coenzyme Q10 plus NADH supplementation improve fatigue and biochemical parameters in chronic fatigue syndrome? 2015 Mar 10;22(8):679-85. doi: 10.1089/ars.2014.6181.

Castro-Marrero J, Saez-Francas N, Segundo MJ, et al. Effect of coenzyme Q10 plus nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide supplementation on maximu heart rate after exercise testing in chronic fatigue syndrome - a randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland). 2016 Aug;35(4):826-34. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.07.010.

Mikirova N, Casciari J, Hunninghake R. The assessment of the energy metabolism in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome by serum fluorescence emission. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 2012 Jan-Feb;18(1):36-40.

Nicolson GL. Mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic disease: treatment with natural supplements. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 2014 Winter;20 Suppl 1:18-25.

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