Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a molecule that has gained a lot of well-deserved attention in recent years as a potential anti-aging supplement, both in the scientific community as well as among the general public. This is because NMN has been shown to activate another molecule already present in your body, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a compound that plays a critical role in energy metabolism as well as the aging process. Let’s get a closer look at the science behind NMN, why it is considered to be a scientifically reliable and stable NAD+ activator, and why it’s so important to have adequate levels of this molecule available to you as you age.
First, it's important to understand what NAD+ is and why it's important. NAD+ is a coenzyme found in all living cells in your body and is involved in a wide range of metabolic reactions. You can think of coenzymes as helper molecules that work to assist your cells in performing a variety of important functions. One of the most important roles of NAD+ is in your cells' energy metabolism, which is the process of turning the food you eat into energy that your cells can use. NAD+ works with enzymes inside your cells to help break down your food and turn it into energy.
One of the ways NAD+ functions to produce energy is by acting as a transporter molecule, a shuttle of sorts, transporting high energy electrons to the mitochondria in your cells. Your mitochondria are tiny intracellular organelles that are often referred to as the powerhouses of the cell. Once transported, these electrons are then used to produce energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for the cell.
This process is essential for keeping your body running smoothly, as without enough NAD+ your cells can't produce enough energy which can lead to fatigue and many other problems.
NAD+ also has another important role, that of a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your cells from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals, which are byproducts of normal metabolism or that can also come from exposure to such things as X-rays, cigarette smoking, air pollution, industrial chemicals and ozone.
NMN - Precursor To NAD+
Here is where NMN comes in. NMN is a precursor to NAD+, which means that it can be converted into NAD+ in the body. This is important because, as you age, your body produces less NAD+, which can lead to a decline in energy metabolism and an increased risk of age-related diseases. Once you reach middle age, you have approximately half of the NAD+ levels you had when you were younger. In fact, aging itself has been described by some scientists as a cascading breakdown that is triggered by the decrease in the body’s NAD+ production, leading to problems in susceptible tissues and organs.
NMN has also been shown to have anti-aging effects in animal studies. For example, studies have shown that supplementing with NMN can extend the lifespan of mice and improve their overall health compared to mice that did not receive the supplement. Additionally, these mice had better physical condition, including improved muscle strength, better cardiovascular function and enhanced endurance. Another study found that mice given NMN had a reduction in age-related diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. These studies on mice demonstrate the potential of NMN as a supplement to improve human health-span and extend lifespan.
What’s important to understand about one of these studies in particular, published in Cell Metabolism and referenced below, is that the cohort of mice fed the NMN didn’t just get the compound for a couple of weeks, but ingested it over the course of many months, nearly their entire lifespan. Not only did the researchers observe a decrease in markers of normal aging in these mice, but there were no negative side effects. This is a very powerful safety signal. These mice showed improved insulin sensitivity and blood lipid profiles, increased physical activity, enhancement of energy metabolism, and the suppression of age-associated weight gain, among other positive findings.
Additionally, NMN has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in the body, which are both important for maintaining good health as you age. Insulin sensitivity refers to how well your body responds to insulin, a hormone produced in your pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin sensitivity decreases as you age and can lead to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition where your body doesn't produce enough insulin or more commonly, doesn't use it effectively. NMN has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in animal studies, which means that it could potentially help to prevent type 2 diabetes or improve the symptoms in those who have it.
Inflammation is your body's response to injury or infection and is a normal process. However, chronic inflammation, a type of long-term low-grade inflammation, is associated with many age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. One study found that mice supplemented with NMN had a reduction in inflammation markers in their blood, which indicates a decrease in overall inflammation in the body. Because NMN has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, this holds great promise for preventing these age-related diseases.
NMN - A Naturally Occurring Molecule
Another reason why NMN is considered to be a scientifically reliable and stable NAD+ activator is that it is a naturally occurring molecule. NMN is found in small amounts in some foods, such as avocados, broccoli, cabbage and edamame (immature soybeans in the pod) and it is also produced by your body in small amounts as well. This means that it is less likely to cause negative side effects than a totally foreign compound, as it is already present in the body.
NMN is also considered to be a stable NAD+ activator. One study showed that approximately 93 to 99 percent of NMN dissolved in drinking water at room temperature remained intact for a week to 10 days. NMN is also very rapidly absorbed in the gut and it quickly elevates blood levels.
Benefits Of NMN Supplementation
Supplementing with oral NMN can help to increase NAD+ levels and support energy metabolism, as research has shown that NMN is not only rapidly absorbed but is efficiently converted to NAD+ in the body. Studies demonstrate that NMN can improve energy metabolism in cells, including the cells of the liver and pancreas, by activating NAD+-dependent enzymes. Supplementation with NMN has been clearly shown to increase the biosynthesis of NAD+ resulting in improved insulin secretion and action, and improvement in the function of mitochondria, improved neuronal (nerve cell) function, and a decrease in age-related adipose (fat) tissue inflammation, among other positive effects.
NMN is a scientifically reliable and stable NAD+ activator that has been shown to improve energy metabolism, extend lifespan, and reduce inflammation. NMN is a naturally occurring molecule and has been shown to be extremely safe in animal studies. Undoubtedly, future research will uncover an even more complete understanding of NMN’s powerful anti-aging benefits in humans. There is more than enough scientific evidence to recommend NMN as a potent supplement for supporting overall health and wellness as you age.
You can find complete information on our NMN supplements here. Taken every day, NMN supplementation will increase your levels of this powerful NAD+ activator and ensure you have the very best protection against the effects of the aging process.
1. Shade C. The Science Behind NMN-A Stable, Reliable NAD+Activator and Anti-Aging Molecule. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2020 Feb;19(1):12-14. PMID: 32549859; PMCID: PMC7238909.
2. Mills KF, Yoshida S, Stein LR, Grozio A, Kubota S, Sasaki Y, Redpath P, Migaud ME, Apte RS, Uchida K, Yoshino J, Imai SI. Long-Term Administration of Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Mitigates Age-Associated Physiological Decline in Mice. Cell Metab. 2016 Dec 13;24(6):795-806. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Oct 27. PMID: 28068222; PMCID: PMC5668137..
3. Imai S. The NAD World 2.0: the importance of the inter-tissue communication mediated by NAMPT/NAD+/SIRT1 in mammalian aging and longevity control. NPJ Syst Biol Appl. 2016. August 18;2:16018.
4. Schultz MB, Sinclair DA. Why NAD(+) Declines during Aging: It's Destroyed. Cell Metab. 2016 Jun 14;23(6):965-966. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.05.022. PMID: 27304496; PMCID: PMC5088772.