Research has found that both Photobiomodulation and NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) can have profound biological effects on humans. These effects have to do with our cellular metabolism, which is declining with age. The result is the body shutting down more, less energy, faster aging, and a higher risk of infections and illnesses. Science backs PBM and NAD but has been primarily researching the two individually. In this article, three renowned experts from both fields propose an unprecedented approach of combining these two biohacking tools. This combination might be the most ingenious biohack out there!
Once you start to understand how each of these therapies work and the science backing them up, combining them will seem obvious to you. This blog post will be your start to investigate further and, if you should already use NAD+ precursors, open up your regimen to an entirely new level with this powerful, unprecedented combination.
Keep on reading if you want to find out how you can create superhuman mitochondria and supercharge your genetic potential!
Introduction of the experts
For this article, three renowned experts in the field came together to rethink this revolutionary connection and push it further by experiment with it in real life. We want to layout the breeding ground for further investigation.
Naomi Damask is an expert in Nutrigenomics. Having to go through tremendous trauma and health problems in 2011, she set her life purpose to find a solution to live a preventative lifestyle and use nutrition and supplements to change her gene expression. Naomi is the owner and founder of “Oh my Word: Nutrigenomics, Biohacking and more” and is also involved with Lifevantage. Today she’ll help us shine the light on NAD.
Barbara Sekulovska is a Ph.D. student in the field of psychology and inclusive education. Her dissertation lays its focus on burnout and happiness in employees. Within her work, she co-founded one of the top biohacking brands, Luminousred, where she wants to enable humans to live a longer and more fulfilling life. She takes the lead in operative management, customer and partner communications, marketing, and PR.
Thomas Lechner is a Ph.D. student light and sensual perception with the focus on optimizing our surroundings and what we humans take in, to be able to have peak performance and revolutionize longevity research. He is the second co-founder of the biohacking company Luminousred, where he spearheads strategic management, research, and development, finances, and innovation.
Why we want to nourish the cells in our bodies
Let’s start it off with a quote from one of the most outstanding anti-aging researchers, David Sinclair.
“As cloning beautifully proves, our cells retain their youthful digital information even when we are old. To become young again, we just need to find some polish to remove the scratches.”
As research discovered in the recent past, a significant part of rejuvenating our cells and keep them performing at their best performance lies within the mitochondria.
These tiny organelles within our cells are referred to as the powerhouses of our cells’ energy factories. Depending on where you look, some cells of your body house thousands of mitochondria, while others have none. The latest research even found free-floating mitochondria within our blood. 1, 2
These tiny structures take in glucose and oxygen from the food we consume and convert it into chemical energy used within our bodies for endless tasks like repair, rejuvenation, and daily performance. To go into a bit more detail on how that works, ATP is produced inside these mitochondria during the Citric Acid Cycle (the Kreb’s Cycle). NAD+ drives the H+ electron gradient, which pushes the binding of Oxygen to Cytochrome C Oxidase (CCO). The end product of that is the production of ATP if everything goes according to plan. This energy, ATP, is also referred to as the “energy currency of our life.” 3
This cellular respiration process drives all our bodies’ functions and, therefore, is essential for health, well-being, and longevity. Mitochondria play a core role in us humans’ aging process and the onset of degenerative disease. 4 Essentially, aging is the deterioration of function within our cells that is caused by damage within them.
Keeping this process in sync and enabling your mitochondria to perform at their best level is mandatory to extend our health-span. This process was even highlighted as one of the main characteristics of aging by recent scientific development.
When mitochondria are not operating efficiently, they produce less and less chemical energy used by your body, a higher number of free radicals escape, which leads to the inevitable spiral of cell damage and cell death.
If the mitochondrial process of creating energy does not work out, as we get sick, injured, sleep-deprived, or only age, our mitochondria may produce excessive Nitric Oxide that might get stuck in one place and causes problems there. The reasoning behind that lies in the critical enzyme in the Electron Transport Chain, mentioned before, the Cytochrome C Oxidase (CCO). During the Kreb’s Cybele Nitric Oxide competes with oxygen and gets bound to CCO. This connection, in turn, stops the production of ATP and increases oxidative stress. As you can imagine, if this process exaggerates, it can lead to a total stoppage of ATP production and cause Mitochondrial Dysfunction and lead to cellular death. 5
2014 Garth L. Nicolson writes in his paper on Mitochondrial Dysfunction, published in Integrative Medicine:
“Mitochondrial dysfunction, characterized by a loss of efficiency in the electron transport chain and reductions in the synthesis of high-energy molecules, such as adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP), is a characteristic of aging, and essentially, of all chronic diseases. These diseases include neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Friedreich’s ataxia; cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis and other heart and vascular conditions; diabetes and metabolic syndrome; autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and type 1 diabetes; neurobehavioral and psychiatric diseases, such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar and mood disorders; gastrointestinal disorders; fatiguing illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf War illnesses; musculoskeletal diseases, such as fibromyalgia and skeletal muscle hypertrophy/atrophy; cancer and chronic infections.” 6
With this underlying knowledge, we can potentially reverse cellular aging or (in the worst case) mitochondrial dysfunction and use NAD+ precursors and Photobiomodulation.
The three main working mechanisms we need to look at here are:
1) Creating the best base for ATP production through having enough NAD+ accumulating
2) Enabling the mitochondria to use NAD+ efficiently and effectively
3) Protect the mitochondria from dysfunction
And here is where the idea of this whole article comes into play: The science of taking substances like NR, NMN, and others as precursors to create NAD+ and amplify your body’s NAD+ use. Red and near-infrared light excites electrons and helps break up the Nitric Oxide that binds to COO, effectively increasing the bioavailable Nitric Oxide levels and enable your mitochondria to supercharge your ATP production. 7
Sounds too good to be true? That is why we are starting this blog with the first building block in this equation. We’ll look into how we can up our NAD+ levels, no matter your age.
Why NAD is important for our bodies
Let’s look into how NAD+ enables us to set our body up for mitochondrial superpowers and how to keep it up, even as we age.
The medical research in Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD+ has dramatically been increasing in the past years. It is one of the primary building blocks of understanding human aging. NAD is present in every cell of our body, particularly in the mitochondria of our cells, and is essential to the core process that keeps us alive: ATP production.
Scientifically speaking: “NAD+ is a coenzyme for hydride transfer reactions and a substrate for sirtuins and other NAD+-consuming enzymes. NAD+-dependent processes are essential to how our bodies use and metabolize food, gene regulation, advancing DNA repair, protein modification, and the internal `call and response` of cell signaling events. NAD+ is the essential hydride transfer coenzyme for a wide variety of oxidoreductases. It is also the consumed substrate of sirtuins, poly adenosine diphosphate ribose (ADPr) polymerase, mono ADPr transferases, and cyclic ADPr synthases. NAD+ produces its practical effects by targeting multiple pathological pathways, including attenuating mitochondrial disorders, DNA damage, and oxidative stress, by balancing such enzymes as sirtuins, glyceraldehyde- 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and AP endonuclease”. 8
In plain terms, it’s the Bomb!
NAD is essential for our cellular health (the inner working of our cells!). This molecule has many crucial roles. And there is so much to understanding about NAD and its importance.
For starters, NAD coexists in our cells in two forms:
a molecule called NAD
a molecule called NADH.
It’s the ratio of these two forms that are important for controlling the number of other cell signaling pathways. This ratio helps turn nutrients into energy.
What you need to understand is the role of Sirtuins. Now that is the fun stuff! Sirtuins are a type of protein. It’s not like proteins found in meats and bean, but proteins in our cells that help regulate cellular health, metabolic regulations, cardiovascular health, DNA expressions, and healthy aging. Sirtuins got discovered in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the 90’s that researchers uncovered more info on these genes and were quickly nicknamed the “longevity genes.”
Sirtuins are a whole other topic for another blog post!
The benefits of activating NAD are a laundry list:
- promotes stem cell renewal
- restores circadian rhythm
- DNA repair
- cancer (p53 gene)
- help breaks addictions
- supports healthy inflammation response
- improves mental focus and concentration
- boost physical and psychological energy (ATP/mitochondria production).
There is a reason why this is such a hot topic right now in the wellness space .”
To recap, NAD activates specific proteins in your cells; these proteins are responsible for cellular detoxification, among other critical biological processes.
Fortunately, by increasing intracellular levels of NAD+, age-related mitochondrial dysfunction can be reversed. NAD+ fights aging by activating key anti-aging enzymes called sirtuins, specifically SIRT1 and SIRT3. Sirtuins contribute to longevity by favorably controlling gene expression!
In current medicine, there are mainly three ways of directly upping ones NAD+ levels within your body:
1) Directly inject the substance
2) Take NAD+ precursors (like NR or NMN). A precursor is something that has to be present, so the body (in these cases the liver) can convert it to NAD+.
3) Activate the NAD gene and sirtuin activity within our bodies by targeting the enzymes NAMPT and NMNAT1 that catalyze the rate-limiting steps in the biosynthesis/formation of NAD+. This activation allows for the conversion of nicotinamide to NMN and the construction of NAD+.
A few NAD+ precursors currently know, but the research in the field is still in its early stages. So far, there is no concrete definition of the optimal way to make the substances to gain long term effectiveness. Furthermore, the process of injecting NAD, as you can imagine, is cumbersome, expensive and can be hard to achieve for a lot of people. That is why Naomi Damask, an expert on Sirtuins and NAD, focusses on this third option by activating the NAD genes themselves to allow for a better and more plentiful NAD+ production. 9
To give you a better insight into the impact of this substance in real-world application, here are her insights:
What did you feel when you took the NAD Synergizer?
One simple word – ENERGIZED! And not that jittery feeling more of a sense of clarity. For example, I felt like I could see things more clearly. I thought this was just me, but I asked one of my friends who’s a cardiologist nurse her feelings. She expressed that she felt like she could see better. It’s also a piece of mind knowing that I am doing all the best things for my cells to operate functionally. As we age, our cells start to breakdown. We have to help support them. This fact is why the anti-aging focus is essential in wellness.
How are you using it?
I take it with a stack of other vital activators. It’s the trifecta in my cellular health. They are studying the results right now because they notice improvements in different pathways when NAD is taking with other cellular signaling products. I love using activators because it’s a simple function in optimizing your body’s gene expressions and healing. One of my easiest and simple biohacking tool!
Was there a time when you stopped using it?
Yes, when I first started, I had jumped in with both feet. It was too much for me, so I slowly adjusted and found what was best for my body in the amount of NAD and worked myself up to the right dose. I recently had to stop taking everything prior to surgery, but other than that, I will always be taking NAD and my other activators.
How do you combine NAD in your daily life?
I love that I am taking the best “pill” form NAD on the market. There are so many different forms out there right now – IV, patches, sprays. I love the NAD that I am taking because it is specifically formulated to target NAD and is proven to double sirtuin activity in 24 hours – supporting increased health, focus, energy, mental clarity, and mode. What more could a mom and breast cancer thriver want?!
In an article in Cell Metabolism, Carles Cantó, Keir Menzies, and Johan Auwerx try to give a big picture of the NAD+ metabolism and energy control of energy homeostasis:
“The association between metabolism, health, and lifespan have long been proposed based on similarities between metabolic dysfunction and disease (e.g., obesity, diabetes, neurodegeneration, cancer) and the aging process. Only recently have these processes been linked so tightly by multiple proteins, including the sirtuins and PARPs, all of which are tightly controlled by the regulation and subcellular balance of the metabolite NAD+. As such, we have never been so close to solving the ancient question of how we age and what we can do to slow this process, while simultaneously not compromising on our quality of life.” 5
Research of Carles Cantó, Keir Menzies, and Johan Auwerx:
“Despite these insights, several aspects of NAD+ metabolism remain obscure. On one side, the complex detection and quantification of NAD+ metabolites and fluxes have not yet allowed us to obtain a clear picture of how different NAD+ precursors are metabolized to feed cells and tissues. We also speculate that additional proteins controlling the supply or salvage of NAD+, along with proteins that are controlled by NAD+levels, will be identified. Furthermore, the potential preventive and therapeutic use of NAD+ boosting strategies requires an assessment of the bioavailability and effectiveness of various precursor doses in human therapy. In addition, new NAD+ boosters are welcomed since the side effects of niacin generally lead to poor compliance, despite its known efficacy in a myriad of diseases”. 5
The NAD+ levels within our body act as a snapshot in time of our current potential of physiological resilience. The more NAD+ we have in our cells and mitochondria, the more potential we have to create chemical energy that can be used by our body.
The key takeaway here is that NAD+ is a crucial building block of cellular respiration and vital for an array of processes within our organism. Starting at growth, healing, and physical resilience and covering areas of wellbeing and health like vascular health, slowing of aging, cognitive health, neuroplasticity, youthful hormonal levels, insulin regulation, metabolism, and potentially even reversing of aging and Alzheimer.
The science behind Photobiomodulation
But a building block is nothing unless you can use it, and that is where Photobiomodulation comes into play. Let’s hop on it.
So far, we found out that one of the critical processes within your body is the processing of energy, taken in from food to chemical energy used throughout your body. For that, we need NAD+ as one of the main blocks to produce an ample amount of energy. But for cellular respiration to work, especially as we age, we also need to take care of the cellular process itself and its efficiency.
If our mitochondria are slowing down or not functioning at all anymore, NAD+ merely is piling up, and even directly injecting the good stuff in your body won’t do the trick.
As we discussed earlier, mitochondrial decline/dysfunction is a big topic, especially as we age, and science has not found the holy grail yet to exclude it altogether. But one thing that comes darn close is the usage of light to power our cells and upregulate our mitochondria. This fact may sound way spirituals or like a sci-fi vision – but it is already a reality and no way a form of wooh-wooh. This stuff is scientifically proven!
The use of light therapy goes back over 10,000 years. It was common knowledge that being exposed to the sun each day benefits health and wellbeing. The ancient Egyptians called it heliotherapy; the ancient Greeks used frequent sunlight exposure for depressed people. Today, you can use red-light therapy to boost your cellular energy production and profit from a broad range of health benefits.
For more than 50 years, NASA and other companies and scientists have researched specific wavelengths of (sun)light. They found that particularly the red and near-infrared wavelengths between 600 and 900 nanometers (nm) are very beneficial for us. 10
The treatment with red and or near-infrared light is called Photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in the scientific literature. Most wavelengths of light (UV, blue, green, infrared) cannot penetrate through your skin at all and get absorbed by your outer skin layers. Your skin and body have an optical window open to these red and near-infrared wavelengths that can reach through your skin and directly target your cells.
Furthermore, different to other wavelengths, such as UV or blue light, you are less likely to harm yourself when you get too much of it. Red-light therapy makes use of these beneficial wavelengths. The difference between red (in the 600nm range) and near-infrared light (in the 800nm range) is their ability to penetrate the skin.
Today, over 4,000 studies are highlighting diverse therapeutic effects from 11
- skin health
- hormonal health
- improved circulation and immunity
- reduction of pain and inflammation.
Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation – Michael R. Hamblin 16
How do you use the red-light therapy?
I am new to red light therapy. Not the concept of PBM, but actually owning my own RLT. I took the time to research companies and really wanted to invest in a line that wasn’t just “marketing.” I have been using the red light in the morning to heal my latest surgery on my chest. And I love using it in the evening for the benefits of sleep.
Red Light Therapy was first tested in the early 1990s when scientists discovered that intense red light from light-emitting diodes improves photosynthesis and aids plant growth. Over the years, experts have found that the same function can be replicated in skin cells. They found that red light particles, when absorbed in the mitochondria- the powerhouse of the cells- improves the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which serves as an energy source for cellular activities, including skin repair and rejuvenation.
Red light therapy works by strengthening the mitochondria and improving the biochemical synthesis of ATP. Increased production of these energy molecules brings the cells back to life and provides the energy needed for cell synthesis and replication, repair of damaged cells, and other mitochondrial functions.
With increased exposure to red light, the mitochondria increase its ATP synthesis, resulting in increased cellular activity.
These effects are based on activation of the mitochondrial enzyme cytochrome c oxidase targeted by exactly these wavelengths of light, improving mitochondrial respiration and oxygen consumption.
In detail, Photobiomodulation helps the cellular respiration process to run much more efficiently and effectively by breaking up the biggest roadblock to producing ATP: nitric oxide bonds. When your body’s mitochondria absorb light in the form of bioactive red and near-infrared wavelengths, this leads to Nitric Oxide bound to Cytochrome C Oxidase. Like this, bioavailable nitric oxide levels are effectively increasing. 7, 12
This working mechanism not only might enable a reverse of Mitochondrial Decline/Dysfunction in some cases, but this way, protons can move through the cellular respiration much more quickly and efficiently, resulting in a tremendously improved ATP production.
Here, the smart thing is that by targeting Cytochrome C Oxidase through light, this process does not affect overlock directly or exhaust your body (especially important in aging). It allows the mitochondria to run their operations smoother and more effectively, giving you the edge over aging.
Check it out now and supercharge your mitochondria!
As you can imagine, now comes the fun part. As NAD+ levels have already been elevated by upregulating your NAD genes or adding NAD+ precursors, cellular respiration can go in full drive when adding Photobiomodulation. This set-up allows our body to perform at unimagined levels and kickstart our energy levels and anti-aging capabilities.
By upping your NAD+ levels through gene activation or precursors, you can go full force with Photobiomodulation and drive your ATP production to superhuman levels.
To ideally use the combination of NAD+ and Photobiomodulation, make use of the optimal treatment windows and half time of NAD+ precursors and gene activation. Dosage is the trickiest part, so we want to dedicate this last chapter to finding the optimal NAD+PBM regimen.
Our regimen to combining NAD and PBM
First, we want to understand what not to do to maximize the effects. The interesting fact that science has discovered so far is that with both NAD+ creation through precursors AND cellular activation through Photobiomodulation, homeostasis’s effect kicks in. Our body’s mechanism keeps our internal systems in balance by adjusting bodily processes up or down.
The response to too much forced NAD+ or too much cellular activation through Photobiomodulation signals your body to tame down its internal mechanism to trigger these processes.
We see that when our bodies receive too much NAD+ too quickly (e.g., 500-1000mg over a short time), our body’s balancer triggers and reduces NAD+ levels within our body. Something similar happens when our cells receive too much energy through Photobiomodulation in a short period. In this case, a mechanism called biphasic dose-response kicks in, that neglects the desired effects.
So, the first clue in finding our optimal combined treatment regimen is to understand that you have to hit a specific therapeutic window with NAD+ and Photobiomodulation.
In creating NAD+, a very safe and tested mechanism is through the activation of the already mentioned NAD gene. This creation taps into the first layers and allows your body to adapt without running into a high risk of shutting down due to too high NAD+ levels. When supplementing with NAD+ precursors such as NR or NMW, the important thing here is to keep the dosage low and steady.
Meaning, only take small doses of 125mg at a time and use it a few times daily.
For direct NAD+ injections, good clinics recommend a prolonged period of injection for 8+ hours at a time to be able to inject more significant doses by slowly dispensing NAD+ into your bloodstream without having homeostatic effects kicking in. 13, 14, 15
Now, for Photobiomodulation, the situation is almost similar, and one should be aware of using these wavelengths of light too intensely for a prolonged time. The good thing here is that science suggests that homeostatic effects seem to dissipate relatively quickly, and the worst thing you can have with lower doses of at-home devices is not affected.
The suggestion with Photobiomodulation is to use devices with LEDs as their light creation mechanism and refrain from using lasers. Recent science has shown that LEDs can have the same biomechanical effects as lasers but lower cost and lower risks.
Furthermore, when wanting to achieve the most significant mitochondrial effects, it is ideal to irradiate your skin as much as possible. This way, you can bear a lower intensity and get as many mitochondria activated within your body as possible.
With modern panel devices like the Luminousred, you cannot only target the mitochondria within your tissue but also reach mitochondria in your blood that dissipates the effects throughout your whole body.
An ideal dosage threshold of 6-15 joule at your cells is usually reached by having a Photobiomodulation session of 10-20 minutes with a modern high-powered device. 7, 11, 12
What was the single most impressive thing you’ve experienced when you added RLT to your NAD regime?
How great I feel overall. The first time I used the light, it was this “tingle” feeling of feeling alive. And I also love knowing that I am doing everything to help heal my cells.
Our ideal treatment regimen to start with is as follows. According to science, the main effect of NAD+ promoting activities like NAD+ precursors kicks in at around 4 hours after taking them.
For the ideal combined response:
- Take 125mg NAD+ precursor or the suggested amount of NAD gene activator with food in the morning.
- Around 4 hours later, get your Photobiomodulation session, preferably with red and near-infrared light for about 10-20 minutes.
- In the evening, take 125mg NAD+ precursor with food again to reach your target of about 250mg daily.
If you are in for the extra punch, some renowned experts in the field like to finish off their day by having one last Photobiomodulation session with near-infrared alone before going to bet. Make sure to target your forehead to optimally prime your body and mind for the best sleep you’ve ever had.
If you are in for the extra punch, some renowned experts in the field like to finish off their day by having one last photobiomodulation session with near-infrared alone before going to bet. Make sure to target your forehead to optimally prime your body and mind for the best sleep you’ve ever had.
To summarize this article in the simplest terms, by combining these latest insights into scientific research, we are throwing everything that’s good for us together and create the ultimate biohack for health, youthfulness, and longevity.
But our true purpose goes far deeper than that. We are hell-bent on disrupting the status quo of taking your destiny in your own hands. We are proposing measures, that are both immensely powerful in the first experimental stages and some of the safest procedures you can do in the biohacking space.
Every revolution needs a rallying cry. And this is ours. But we are nothing unless you make it your own. That is why we release this information free of charge for now. We will most likely lock down the blog in the upcoming weeks because of the immense traffic we already experience.
To allow the first 20 people that are with us on this journey to be able to onboard the procedures smoothly, Thomas and Babsi consented to give a $30 discount on every Luminousred.com device you buy (will only work for the first 20 purchases) and Naomi was ok with sharing her private link to her NAD gene activation tribe.
Take your chance now and join our movement of liberation, where we together shape the future. Cheers to the next 100+ years on this planet.
Sources and References:
 Focusing on mitochondrial form and function. Jun. 2018
 The role of mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics in ageing and disease. Jul. 2013
 Cellular and molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial function. Dec. 2012
 Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Aging and Diseases of Aging. Jun. 2019
 NAD+ metabolism and the control of energy homeostasis – a balancing act between mitochondria and the nucleus. Jun 2015
 Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: Treatment With Natural Supplements. Aug 2014
 Proposed Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation or Low-Level Light Therapy. May 2017
 Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Feb 2018
 The NAD+ precursor Nicotinamide Riboside Chlorideenhances oxidative metabolism and protects against high-fat diet induced obesity. Jun 2012
 LED Lights Used in Plant Growth Experiments for Deep Space Missions
 Luminousred Photobiomodulation research database. Powered by Vladimir Heiskanen. Jan 2020
 Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation. Oct 2017
 Effective treatment of mitochondrial myopathy by nicotinamide riboside, a vitamin B3. Jun 2014
 Safety assessment of nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3. Jan 2016
 NAD+ and Vitamin B3: From Metabolism to Therapies. Mar 2008
 Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation. Oct 2017