When you see nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) advertised as a dietary supplement, it's alongside claims of anti-aging, brain health, and improved longevity. How many of these claims have clinical trials to back them up, and how do NMN supplements work? We have the answers.
What Are NMN Supplements?
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a metabolite that is naturally occurring in the human body and in tiny amounts (less than 2 milligrams per 100 grams) in various foods such as avocados, mushrooms, broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, edamame, tomatoes, shrimp, and raw beef.
Studies have shown that ingesting nicotinamide mononucleotide supplements increases levels of NAD+ in muscle tissue and the liver. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a cofactor found in all living cells that is important in metabolism.
As an NAD+ precursor, NMN supplements may help improve human health in the areas of heart function, eye and bone strength, and energy production, and may even prevent neurological conditions as serious as Alzheimer's disease. Read on to discover the scientific evidence backing up some of these bold claims, including DNA repair and anti-aging stimulation of the sirtuin genes that influence life extension.
The Scientific Evidence Behind NMN Supplements
As NAD boosters and in their own right as a dietary nutrient, NMN supplements have some clinical evidence showing their efficacy.
1. Slows Aging and Physiological Decline
This 2016 animal study found that supplementary NMN helps enhance metabolism, suppress age-related weight gain, improve eye function, boost insulin sensitivity, and prevent age-related changes in gene expression. All of these findings prompted researchers to suggest NMN is an effective anti-aging substance with results that could translate to humans.
2. Delays Stem Cell Deterioration
University studies have found that NMN's ability to boost NAD+ levels helps to delay senescence (cellular aging) in neural stem cells in laboratory settings. This could help restore adult neurogenesis in the areas of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disease therapies.
3. Increases Lifespan
Again these results come from animal models, as natural supplements often do not receive the same funding and attention as patented pharmaceutical drugs do. However, the results of this 2014 study show that NMN supplementation helped to increase the median lifespan in old mice, an effect attributed to NMN's ability to overexpress SIRT2 gene.
4. Rejuvenates the Brain
One more recent study from 2017 reveals that NMN treatment can help reduce brain cell death, brain edema, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation in instances in which it is administered within 30 minutes of intracerebral hemorrhage. The results of the study show that it not only protects the brain from damage but also helps to restore the brain with prolonged (7 days) application.
NR vs. NMN Supplements
The key to NMN supplemental activity is rooted in its role as a NAD precursor, but it's not the only substance that can influence NAD levels and bring about the previously discussed health benefits. Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is another form of vitamin B3 (niacin), an essential human nutrient that helps regulate our blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Here is how NR and NMN differ as NAD+ supplements.
- NR is considered a vitamin while NMN is not, but rather is classified as a derivative of niacin (vitamin B3) and metabolite.
- More human studies have been done with NR over NMN, proving its effectiveness in human subjects in a way that NMN research currently does not, though both are known to be safe for human consumption.
- That being said, only NR has the United States Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) nod of approval as it is on the generally recognized as safe list (GRAS) while NMN is still classified as a new dietary ingredient (NDI), meaning it's still under review.
For some, the amount of research available on NR might lead them to try it first, but of course, when taking any dietary supplement, whatever questions you have regarding your health should be directed to a medical professional more familiar with your circumstances.
Recommended Dosages for NMN Supplements
If you are interested in supplementing with NMN for optimal life and health span, supplement companies like Tru Niagen and Elysium provide instructions on dosage with their products, which should be followed as closely as possible. However, most NMN supplements come with dosage recommendations between 250 and 1500 milligrams per day, with the average usage concentrating on the lower end (below 500 milligrams).
NMN Supplement Side Effects
The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way as they do food and drugs. Be sure to purchase your supplements from reputable distributors with transparent information about where these substances come from and how they are processed to ensure you're getting high-quality products.
While NMN is understood to be safe and nontoxic, a few rare side effects reported by some include nausea, sweating, dizziness, and itchiness. If you experience any of these or other symptoms, discontinue taking NMN immediately.
Be Super with Supplements
We here at AminoCo know the value of natural supplements, which is why we offer a fully balanced essential amino acid supplement for muscle growth, tissue healing, and liver health. If you have a need for natural supplementation, we only encourage you to make sure the science is on your side.