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March 23, 2023
Living longer has been a goal for humans from the beginning of our existence. We've come a long way in that quest, with the average lifespan in 2023 being around 82 years. But there is a difference between living longer and living better.
Sadly, many people will have chronic illnesses and a decrease in quality of life in their senior years. However, recent research into the anti-aging benefits of certain compounds provides hope for healthy aging. Researchers have focused on a substance called NMN that might hold the secret to a longer, better life.
NMN stands for Nicotinamide mononucleotide. It was first identified in 1963, but it has only been within the past few years that researchers have started to fully understand its tremendous potential. NMN is a precursor to NAD+, a coenzyme involved in many cellular processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and gene expression. If you're interested in learning more, check out our full article on NMN.
This article will delve into the research-backed NMN benefits, explore how it works, and answer the most commonly asked NMN questions.
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In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified age-related diseases as a disease state. This seeming technicality meant that the floodgates were opened on research into age-related diseases. Because of this, there has been a lot of research into NMN benefits over the past few years. Here's an overview of what clinical trials have revealed about the benefits of NMN.
NAD+ has been shown to improve neuronal function in the brain. Therefore, NMN's ability to improve NAD+ levels makes it a potential nootropic supplement to improve cognitive function. It is believed that age-related cognitive decline is partly due to lower levels of NAD+. This is thought to contribute to brain function abnormalities such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Supplementing with NMN may counter some of the age-related effects on the brain. Studies on mice have shown that NMN supplementation may improve cognitive function, memory, and learning ability and limit age-related cognitive decline.
In one study, an in vitro Parkinson's disease model was found to benefit from NMN supplementation in terms of energy metabolism and dopaminergic neuron survival. This shows that NMN might be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative illnesses like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.¹ However, more human trials are needed to quantify just how it improves cognitive function.
The age-related decline in NAD+ levels is believed to contribute to weight gain as we get older. Studies in mice suggest that NMN supplementation may help to reduce age-associated weight gain and increase energy burn by boosting the metabolism.
In one study, it was found that supplementing with NMN may help prevent age-related weight gain in mice by improving the operation of mitochondria within the cells. Mitochondria are the body's energy-producing factories. It was also found that insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance were both improved. These are important factors in preventing weight gain.
Other studies on mice show similar results. More research is required to confirm the weight control effects of NMN on humans.²
According to research, the health of eye cells, particularly the photoreceptor cells that are responsible for vision, is thought to be significantly influenced by NAD+.
Age-related eye illnesses, including macular degeneration and glaucoma, are more likely to develop when NAD+ levels tend to fall, which can also affect eye function. By raising NAD+ levels, NMN may improve ocular function and health while lowering the risk of various disorders.
In one study, NMN supplementation enhanced the structure and performance of the retina in elderly mice. The study also found that supplementing with NMN increased vision and decreased the retina's loss of photoreceptor cells.³
NMN supplementation may help to promote blood vessel health and mitigate some of the impacts of aging. According to research, NAD+ is crucial for the health and functionality of blood arteries, including the endothelial cells that line them and control blood flow.
Age-related changes to the cardiovascular system, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and stroke, are more likely to develop as NAD+ levels decrease with age. This is because these conditions can affect the health of our blood vessels. NMN may assist in supporting blood vessel health and function and lowering the risk of certain disorders by raising NAD+ levels.
One study printed in the journal Circulation found that NMN supplementation improved endothelial function and restored blood vessel health in aged mice. The study also found that NMN supplementation reduced inflammation and free radical damage in the blood vessels, which are important factors in maintaining blood vessel health.
Research into the benefits of NMN supplementation for blood vessel health and offsetting age-related changes to the cardiovascular system is still in its infancy, but they give promise that it could be a safe, effective, and natural way to reduce the risk of age-related cardiovascular disease.⁴
One of the effects of aging is muscle loss, weakening, and a deterioration in muscle function. Some studies show that taking NMN supplements may help to improve muscular performance and fight some of the muscle loss effects of aging.
In one study, NMN supplementation improved muscular function and boosted exercise endurance in elderly mice. The study also found that NMN supplementation enhanced muscle mitochondrial function, which is crucial for generating energy and maintaining muscle function.
Another study found that mice that were given NMN had better muscle regeneration and longer lifespans for their muscle stem cells.
Studies like these suggest that NMN supplementation has the potential as a natural and safe way to support muscle tissue as we age.⁵ ⁶
Several clinical trials suggest that NMN supplementation may help to improve the efficiency of cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiation therapy while also minimizing their unfavorable side effects.
In one study, NMN supplementation improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy in treating breast cancer cells. The study also found that NMN supplementation reduced chemotherapy side effects by shielding healthy cells from harm.
Another study found that NMN supplementation enhanced DNA repair and decreased genomic instability in cells that had been exposed to radiation.⁷ ⁸
NMN supplementation shows the potential to reduce some of the negative effects of aging on the heart. These include countering oxidative stress and inflammation.
In one rodent study, NMN was shown to improve endothelial function and restore the health of blood vessels in aging mice, reducing the likelihood of heart disease. The same study saw a reduction in oxidative stress and blood vessel inflammation.
Another rodent study found that NMN supplementation improved heart function and reduced heart damage in mice after a heart attack. Mitochondrial function in the heart was also improved, helping it to function more effectively.⁹
NMN supplementation has been shown in rodent studies to reverse some of the age-related effects of aging on energy levels. In one study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, NMN supplements were seen to improve mitochondrial functioning in aging mice. Interestingly, the study also showed that a protein that is involved in energy production, SIRT3, also increased with NMN supplementation.
In another study, the energy metabolism of mice in a high-fat diet was increased with NMN. In that study, another protein involved in energy production, PGC-1α, was also increased as a result of taking an NMN supplement. These findings suggest that NMN supplementation enhances energy metabolism¹⁰. The increased energy that results may promote greater physical activity and resultant increased calorie burn.
There is little information available about how NMN supplementation affects human fertility. Yet, some early animal research indicates that NMN might be advantageous for fertility.
In one study, NMN supplementation increased the quality and fertility of oocytes (egg cells) in old female mice, according to the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. The study also discovered that NMN supplementation boosted the activity of a protein called SIRT1, which is responsible for controlling cellular procedures connected to aging and fertility.¹¹
In another study, NMN supplementation enhanced the quality and motility of sperm in aged male mice. The study also discovered that NMN supplementation raised testicular levels of NAD+, which is crucial for preserving normal sperm function.¹²
NMN helps to repair DNA by increasing the activity of the enzyme PARP-1 (Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1). PARP-1 is an essential enzyme that is crucial for DNA repair, especially in the wake of oxidative stress-induced adverse effects on DNA.
When DNA is harmed, PARP-1 is triggered and repairs the damage with NAD+. However, DNA repair is lessened if the cell's level of NAD+ is low enough to prevent PARP-1 from performing as it should.
In one study, researchers subjected cells to various forms of DNA damage before treating them with NMN. They discovered that NMN could boost PARP1 activity, which accelerated DNA repair and enhanced cell viability. The study also showed that giving mice extra NMN improved their bodies' reactions to DNA damage across a variety of organs.
The results of this study suggest that NMN may have therapeutic promise in conditions like cancer and aging linked to DNA damage.¹³
There are four key ways that NMN supplementation may benefit organ function:
Insulin sensitivity is important to balance out blood sugar levels. Taking an NMN supplement may improve insulin sensitivity by improving the functioning of mitochondria. This boosts energy metabolism allowing the body to convert more glucose into energy and lessening the likelihood of insulin resistance.
NMN also promotes the activity of a protein called SIRT1. This, in turn, increases the absorption of glucose into muscle cells. This helps to regulate the expression of the genes involved in glucose metabolism.¹⁴
Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. NMN supplementation has been shown to increase collagen production in the skin, leading to improved skin firmness and elasticity.
The protein collagen is primarily responsible for giving structure and elasticity to our skin. NMN has been shown to increase collagen production, leading to greater elasticity and skin firmness.
NMN may also help to protect the skin against UV damage. It does this by improving DNA repair and reducing skin inflammation. This supplement may also improve skin hydration, helping to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.
Finally, NMN supplementation may boost antioxidant ability, protecting the skin from free radical damage. In one study, the researchers subjected cells to various forms of DNA damage before treating them with NMN. They discovered that NMN could boost PARP1 activity, which accelerated DNA repair and enhanced cell viability. The study also showed that giving mice extra NMN improved their bodies' reactions to DNA damage across a variety of organs.
The results of this study imply that NMN may have therapeutic promise in conditions like cancer and aging linked to DNA damage.¹⁵
Research is ongoing regarding how much NMN is the ideal dosage. A 2020 human trial out of Japan used a daily dosage of up to 500 mg administered orally. This was seen to be safe and effective. Other studies on humans have used dosages between 250 and 500 mg daily.
Some studies have used a dosage as high as 1 gram with no ill effects. A prominent advocate of NMN supplementation, Dr. David Sinclair, said on the Joe Rogan podcast that he personally takes 1 gram per day, along with resveratrol.¹⁶
One of the most recent studies done on NMN was the largest and most comprehensive to date. The raw data was reviewed by Dr. Andrew Salzman, and he found out of a 300mg, 600mg, and 900mg dose, the 900mg had the greatest improvement, without showing any signs of toxicity.¹⁷ Below is the best NMN supplement on the market that's directly endorsed by Dr. Salzman.
NMN has a low number of documented side effects and is usually regarded as safe. As with any dietary supplement or drug, however, there is always a chance for negative side effects, especially if taken in large amounts or in conjunction with other dietary supplements or medications.
NMN supplementation has been linked to the following adverse effects:
There is some research that suggests that combining NMN with resveratrol will boost the effects of each supplement. They have both been shown to boost energy levels, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
However, before beginning any new supplements, especially if you want to take several supplements at once, it is crucial to see your healthcare professional. Your doctor can assist you in figuring out the best dosages and any interactions or hazards involved in taking NMN and resveratrol simultaneously.
The following groups should not take NMN without first consulting their healthcare professional:
Yes, NMN really does work. There is a solid body of research, some of it referenced here, to support the claimed benefits of taking an NMN supplement. These benefits, which include promoting weight loss, improving brain health, and boosting energy levels, all result from NMN's ability to increase its natural production of the coenzyme NAD+.
NMN can take different amounts of time to start working depending on the person's age, health status, and the amount and length of time they take NMN supplements.
While there is no clear-cut answer, some research suggests that the effects of NMN supplementation may be felt within a few days or weeks of beginning. For example, a 2019 study reported in the journal Cell Reports indicated that older mice fed NMN for four weeks had better muscular function and insulin sensitivity than control animals.¹⁸
NMN may help you to look younger as a result of its ability to improve skin health. NMN promotes the body's production of the protein collagen, which helps improve skin elasticity and firmness. Other benefits of taking NMN, such as its ability to boost energy production, reduce inflammation and enhance DNA repair, may also contribute to a more youthful appearance.
Yes, it is ok to take an NMN supplement every day. However, there are no specific dosage guidelines for NMN supplementation to date. Clinical trials on humans have used daily dosages of between 250 mg and 1 gram. As mentioned earlier, Dr. David Sinclair, a leading NMN researcher and proponent, personally takes 1 gram of NMN in supplement form daily.
As you may have noticed in the cited studies, the majority of research into the benefits of NMN supplementation has been in animal studies. Over the past few years, some human clinical trials have been performed. More human research is needed to quantify the benefits in humans of effects that have been so far only seen in animals. Human studies will also help us to more clearly identify the ideal dosage and long-term safety of the supplement.
While future studies will clarify the situation, there is, in our estimation, enough research to state that NMN has an impressive number of age-reducing benefits in humans. If you're interested in taking NMN, check out our full list of the best NMN supplements on the market.
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