Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide hydride (NADH) are coenzymes that play essential roles in the body. NAD transfers electrons during redox reactions, and NADH is a reduced form of NAD that can donate its electrons to other molecules. The differences in how NAD and NADH are used in the body depend on the location and cell type. NAD is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. NADH is used by the cells to produce energy. Keep reading to learn more about NAD vs. NADH.
What are the differences between NAD and NADH?
The difference between NAD and NADH is that NAD has two hydrogen atoms, while NADH has three hydrogen atoms. This makes NAD more stable and less reactive than NADH. NAD and NADH are both coenzymes, which are essential for proper functioning enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in the body. Each coenzyme is attached to an enzyme and helps it carry out its specific function. NAD involves many cellular processes, including energy production, DNA repair, and cell signaling. NADH is mainly used to produce energy in the cells.
NAD is a derivative of niacin (vitamin B3). It’s composed of two nucleotides: nicotinamide and adenine. The adenine group is attached to a ribose molecule, which is then attached to nicotinamide. NADH is also made up of two nucleotides: nicotinamide and adenine. However, in this case, the adenine group is attached to a hydrogen molecule (H).
NAD and NADH also play different roles in the body. NAD is mainly involved in energy production, while NADH is also involved in cell signaling and gene expression. The main difference between NAD and NADH is that NAD is a water-soluble molecule, while NADH is a lipid-soluble molecule. This means NAD can easily cross the cell membrane, while NADH is not as easily transported.
NAD is also converted into NADH in the body, so both molecules are necessary for energy production. However, NAD is more readily available than NADH, so it’s typically used as the body’s primary energy source.
How is NAD used in the body?
NAD is used as a coenzyme in redox reactions and in the biosynthesis of fatty acids and porphyrins. NAD is also used in the biosynthesis of steroid hormones and as a substrate for producing glutamate from alpha-ketoglutarate. NAD is essential for energy production, DNA repair, and cell communication. NAD also plays a role in the circadian rhythm, which regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
How is NADH used in the body?
In general, NAD is more prevalent than NADH in cells and is usually found in its oxidized form. In contrast, NADH is more commonplace than NAD in mitochondria, which exists in a reduced form. This difference arises from the different roles mitochondria play in the cell. Mitochondria produce energy by breaking down glucose and other nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This process generates electrons that are transferred to oxygen to create water. The transfer of these electrons produces a proton gradient across the mitochondrial membrane that drives ATP synthesis.
The electron transport chain (ETC), located on the inner mitochondrial membrane, uses this proton gradient to generate ATP. The ETC consists of proteins that transfer electrons from donors like NADH to acceptors like oxygen. When an electron is transferred, it creates a positive charge on the donor molecule and a negative charge on the acceptor molecule. This difference in charge creates an electrochemical potential that can be harnessed to produce ATP.
Mitochondria also produce NADPH as part of the electron transport chain reaction. However, unlike NADH, most of this NADPH exits the mitochondria and enters into other parts of the cell, performing different functions such as DNA repair or lipid synthesis.
Overall, NAD and NADH are essential for the body to function correctly. It’s crucial to balance these molecules to keep the body running smoothly.