If you’re one of the 1.58 million people tuning in to The Kardashians on Hulu, you may have caught the recent episode that featured best friends Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber receiving an NAD+ treatment during an IV drip party in Miami. “I’ve been a hypochondriac my whole life, so I am obsessed with health right now. It’s my number one priority,” says Jenner as she readies herself for the two hour-long treatment. “I’m going to NAD+ for the rest of my life and I’m never going to age,” chimes in Bieber. If you are currently yourself asking, What the heck is NAD+ and do I need it? you’re not alone.
In simple terms, NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a naturally occurring coenzyme that increases metabolism and repairs DNA and cells. Infusions of the chemical compound that add to the body’s naturally existing supply (which decreases as you age) is reported to result in benefits like improved memory and increased energy — more on that later. NAD+ is just one of the few new age infusions offered at buzzy LA healthcare center Next Health, which offers a “medical, data-driven approach empowering you to live healthier and longer,” according to the center’s chief medical officer and nurse practitioner Megan Retterath.
Other offerings on the center’s wellness menu include a variety of cutting-edge vitality treatments, the most popular being ozone therapy, stem cell therapy, and exosomes therapy. Celebrities have been undergoing these exclusive (and pricy) treatments for years to help balance out travel fatigue and fast-paced lifestyles. It hasn’t been until recently that clinics like Next Health have brought these services to the masses.
That said, considering the growing demand and public response, it seems these infusion-focused services could be signaling the direction in which wellness treatments are going and how people are changing how they treat and nourish their bodies from the inside out. “We are in a constant state of stress, both physical and mental, that can take a significant toll on your health and people are becoming increasingly aware,” explains Retterath.
Further proof of this is Next Health’s own growth which has more than tripled in size since launching in 2016 (and now includes a newly launched location inside the Four Seasons Maui). And while luxury infusion treatments (that range in price, anywhere from $300 for the Maui-exclusive Jet Lag Recovery Drip to $12,000 for a stem cells infusion) might not be as nonchalant as getting a facial or a massage, never say never. After all, with the blessings of Jenner and Bieber, it’s safe to say this luxury, science-focused wave of wellness is positioned for global domination.
Keep reading for the 411 on the four buzziest infusion treatments to get on your radar (and in your body).
As mentioned before, an NAD+ infusion is a good option for anyone who feels sluggish and fatigue, or is experiencing brain fog. Think of NAD+ as a “helper molecule” that positively reacts with oxygen in every cell of the body, specifically in the mitochondria, says Retterath. “Mitochondria are responsible for the production of ATP (energy) but unfortunately, the health of our mitochondria decreases with age due to a variety of factors, stress being one of them.”
In fact, according to The National Library of Medicine, one’s NAD+ levels plummet to half that from the day they were born to middle age (between 45 and 65 years old). Hence, we start to feel chronically rundown and fatigued by the go-go-go pace of modern life as we age. “By improving your body’s supply of NAD+, you can enhance your mitochondrial health, which in turn promotes energy levels, repair processes, and overall wellness,'' explains Retterath.
While, in the short run, you can expect to see an increase in energy, focus, mental clarity, and improved mood, it’s the long-term results of monthly NAD+ treatments that take the cake. Numerous studies have demonstrated that boosting NAD+ levels can actually extend lifespan — according to studies in Translational Medicine of Aging, a peer-reviewed medical journal, as well as by the National Library of Medicine. Also of note, boosting your body’s supply of NAD+ is also reported to help improve upon the physical signs of aging “such as the appearance of skin wrinkles and aging spots,” specifies Retterath. No wonder celebrities are hooked.
A single NAD+ treatment will run you $1250 and is roughly 240 minutes long. “There can be a mild discomfort with NAD administration, causing the infusion to drip at a slower rate, however most of our patients tolerate it under two hours,” she shares. Also according to the pro, a “loading dose” of three treatments within seven days is recommended, followed consistently on a monthly basis.
“[Ozone therapy] is ideal for those looking to reduce inflammation and boost immunity,” says Retterath. When you’re feeling less than 100% it's a way of getting oxygen into your bloodstream, fast. (Think of it like those oxygen bars you see in Las Vegas, but much more effective.) This treatment is not new, in fact, it’s been used for over a 100 years to help heal a variety of ailments (like boosting immunity and, yes, even hangovers). And, unlike other treatments on this list, it’s a two-step process.
It involves first drawing your blood, mixing it with ozone gas, then infusing it back into your bloodstream. (This must be done in a timely manner, as ozone gas only has a 40-minute half life — meaning it’s not viable after that window). Note that ozone gas (O3) is a form of oxygen made up of three molecules, but it’s different from the oxygen we breathe (O2), which is only made up of two. “The extra molecule in ozone allows it to bind to free particles, and other toxic substances that may be present in your body,” says Retterath of how ozone gas works double time.
According to medical research from 2018, when ozone comes into contact with body fluids, it results in the formation of more proteins and red blood cells. This increases oxygen supply in your body. That bump in oxygen results in whole-body healing. “Most people notice an improvement in energy, mental clarity, and a bolstered immune response in removing inflammation from their system,” says Retterath of the service. The 45-minute treatment should be done consistently (every couple of months). You can buy a single session at Next Health for $1200 or a pack of three for $3000.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is the most expensive ticket on this list, likely because, according to California’s Stem Cell Agency, there is no limit to the kinds of conditions that stem cell research can help treat. “Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body; They are special because of their ability to self-renew, duplicate, regenerate, and repair,” writes Dr. Frank Yap in a July 2022 article for One Day MD.
Historically, this remedy has been used in the management of chronic pain and hard-to-heal injuries. While those with, say, spinal cord injuries, Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease (to name a few) have long been recipients, the treatment is quickly becoming more mainstream in terms of treating general wellness. “Most patients have found an improvement in their joint mobility, overall energy levels, and have found this is a great proactive approach in stopping the aging process,” notes Retterath.
“Stem cells have been shown to improve new blood cell formation, alleviate cellular damage due to oxidative stress, and improve patients’ overall vitality and quality of life,” says Retterath. The process of stem cell therapy involves harvesting viable stem cells to infuse into your bloodstream. There are two types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. “We use umbilical cord stem cells, as this is day 0 cells, and adult stem cells have the tendency to lose potency and overall counts, making them potentially less effective than umbilical cord cells,” explains Retterath. How often you undergo the therapy depends on your specific goals, but Next Health recommends anywhere from monthly to quarterly (however some patients do pop in on a weekly basis). Brace yourself, each hour-long session will cost you $12,000 a pop.
Arguably the newest (and least researched) form of emerging regenerative medicine is exosomes therapy. “For patients who are looking for an edge cognitively, aesthetically, and energetically, exosomes are preferred over stem cells,” notes Retterath. She even reveals that many patients report feeling "20 years younger" when the treatment is done with consistency (aka as often as weekly).
Understand that exosomes have similar benefits to stem cells, but they’re not the same in structure or purpose. Stem cells are the body’s master cells and can generate other cells with the purpose of healing an area or condition. Exosomes are cell components created when two cells fuse together. Because exosomes are not full cells, they are not able to replicate which might make them a safer alternative to stem cells, according to the National Library of Medicine. “[Exosomes] are working naturally with the body, to improve its unique chemistry, rather than just replicating into a cell that may not be beneficial to that unique individual,” says Retterath. “It’s specific and a targeted treatment unique to the needs of that individual.”
Retterath further explains that exosomes act as shuttles for important genetic material. “They play an essential role in the cellular communication process.” As noted in the Hindawi Scientific Journal, exosomes actually come in every cell in your body, but it’s stem cell-derived exosomes, specifically, that have demonstrated great ability to provide therapeutic benefits. “Patients may experience a glow to their skin, thickened hair, an improvement in their hormones, and energy levels,” details the Next Health nurse.
Another differentiating factor? “Compared to adult stem cells, exosomes contain nearly three times the amount of growth factors. More growth factors means a better ability to restore and revitalize target cells,” explains Dr. Yap in his article for One Day MD. Exosomes are $4,000 per infusion, and based on the patient's specific goals, Next Health sees patients that do the infusions on a weekly basis. “People look and feel their best when they commit to a consistent regimen — most commonly noted an increase in stamina, libido, skin improvements, better sleep and recovery,” reports Retterath.
It’s important to remember that while there are numerous studies touting the benefits of this emerging branch of infusion wellness, the FDA has issued multiple warnings against unapproved and unproven therapies. Translation: All of these treatments are regulated by the FDA, however they are not FDA approved. “[This means] we can use them, and the FDA has deemed them safe, but we cannot make any medical claims on what benefits they will do for someone who receives them,” explains Retterath. In fact, Next Health does not claim any benefits, their main mission is to explain to customers the science of these treatments, but it’s up to you to do your own research and decide if the services are right for you. Remember to always inquire about any possible side effects or precautions to which you may be susceptible. And, as always, check with your general practitioner before trying any new wellness treatment or infusion.