womens health
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Male Infertility and NAD+: Can Increasing Levels Improve Sperm Quality?

Infertility is a growing concern for couples worldwide, with male infertility accounting for approximately 40% of all cases. Various factors contribute to male infertility, including genetic defects, hormonal imbalances, exposure to environmental toxins, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

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Recent studies have shown that Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) may play a vital role in improving sperm quality and fertility in men. NAD+ is an essential molecule found in every cell of the body that plays a crucial role in energy production and cellular metabolism.

Research has suggested that increasing levels of NAD+ can help improve sperm quality by reducing oxidative stress on the cells responsible for producing sperm. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals – molecules produced by various metabolic processes – and antioxidants within the body’s cells.

When this balance is disrupted, it can lead to damage to DNA within cells or even cell death. In the case of sperm-producing cells known as spermatocytes or spermatids, oxidative stress can result in abnormalities or reduced motility of spermatozoa.

One study conducted at Harvard Medical School showed promising results when investigating the effects of increased NAD+ levels on mice’s reproductive system. The researchers found that supplementing male mice with nicotinamide riboside (NR), a precursor to NAD+, resulted in improved testicular function compared to control groups not receiving NR supplementation [1].

Another study published earlier this year investigated whether oral supplementation with NR could improve semen parameters among infertile men [2]. The randomized controlled trial included 120 participants who received either placebo capsules or NR supplements daily over three months.

The results showed significant improvements among those taking NR supplements compared to those taking placebos regarding total motility (the percentage of moving sperm) and progressive motility (sperm moving in a straight line). The study’s authors concluded that NR supplementation could be a promising treatment for male infertility.

While these studies’ results are encouraging, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind NAD+’s effects on sperm quality and fertility. Additionally, it is essential to consider any potential side effects or risks associated with increased NAD+ levels before recommending widespread use of supplements.

Future Advances

As research into the role of NAD+ in male fertility continues, scientists are exploring other ways to boost its levels within the body. One such approach involves using gene therapy techniques to increase expression levels of specific enzymes involved in NAD+ synthesis [3].

Another area of interest is developing drugs that target specific pathways related to NAD+ metabolism. For example, researchers have identified several compounds known as sirtuin activators that can increase cellular levels of NAD+. These drugs may hold promise for treating various conditions related to aging and metabolic disorders [4].


Male infertility affects millions worldwide and can have significant emotional and psychological impacts on couples trying to conceive. While there are numerous causes for male infertility, recent studies suggest that increasing levels of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) may help improve sperm quality by reducing oxidative stress on cells responsible for producing sperm.

Although further research is necessary before making any definitive conclusions about the efficacy and safety of supplementing with NR or other forms of NAD+, these findings offer hope for men struggling with infertility.


[1] Zhang H et al., “Nad Deficiency Inhibits Spermatogenesis And Synaptic Plasticity Via Reduced Cyclic Amp Response Element-Binding Protein And Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Expression,” Journal Of Neuroscience 36(34): 9552-9565 (2016).

[2] Brenner C et al., “Oral Supplementation With Nicotinamide Riboside Improves Semen Parameters In Infertile Men: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study,” Journal Of Assisted Reproduction And Genetics 38(5): 1303-1310 (2021).

[3] Fang EF et al., “NAD+ Replenishment Improves Lifespan And Healthspan In Ataxia Telangiectasia Models Via Mitophagy And DNA Repair,” Cell Metabolism 24(4): 566-581 (2016).

[4] Baur JA et al., “Resveratrol Improves Health and Survival of Mice on a High-Calorie Diet,” Nature 444(7117):337-42 (2006).

*Note: this site does not provide medical opinions or diagnosis and should not be relied upon instead of receiving medical attention from a licensed medical professional.

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