Current remedies for jet lag (phototherapy, melatonin, stimulant, and sedative medications) are limited in efficacy and practicality. The efficacy of a stabilized, sublingual form of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH, ENADAlert®, Menuco Corp.) as a countermeasure for jet lag was examined.
Because NADH increases cellular production of ATP and facilitates dopamine synthesis, it may counteract the effects of jet lag on cognitive functioning and sleepiness.
Thirty-five healthy, employed subjects participated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Training and baseline testing were conducted on the West Coast before subjects flew overnight to the East Coast, where they would experience a 3-hour time difference. Upon arrival, individuals were randomly assigned to receive either 20 mg of sublingual stabilized NADH (n=18) or identical placebo tablets (n=17). All participants completed computer-administered tests (including CogScreen7) to assess changes in cognitive functioning, mood, and sleepiness in the morning and afternoon.
Jet lag resulted in increased sleepiness for over half the participants and deterioration of cognitive functioning for approximately one third. The morning following the flight, subjects experienced lapses of attention in addition to disruptions in working memory, divided attention, and visual perceptual speed. Individuals who received NADH performed significantly better on 5 of 8 cognitive and psychomotor test measures (P<.05) and showed a trend for better performance on the other three measures (P<.10). Subjects also reported less sleepiness compared with those who received placebo. No adverse effects were observed with NADH treatment.
Stabilized NADH significantly reduced jet lag-induced disruptions of cognitive functioning, was easily administered, and was found to have no adverse side effects.