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NAD vs NMN: What’s The Difference?

by: Adam Singfield
July 3, 2023

NAD and NMN have received a fair share of attention, notably for their capacity to slow down aging through cellular repair. Research also suggests that NAD and NMN supplements are essential in sustaining our physical and cognitive health.

In this guide, we take a closer look at what NAD and NMN supplements are, how they work, and their health benefits in terms of longevity and gene expression.

What Are NAD & NMN?

NAD and NMN are coenzymes in body cells that help with different cellular activities.

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) is a progenitor of NAD+, an important chemical that provides the power and energy we need to do different tasks. NMN may also be necessary for slowing the aging process.

NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme used in numerous biological pathways that preserve your cells and keep your system alive. A coenzyme is like an enzyme assistant that must be present for a given synthesis to occur. But since the human body cannot directly absorb NAD, several redox reactions occur to transform NAD into a more ingestible NAD+ version.

NAD+ is utilized by crucial proteins and enzymes that play essential roles in mending DNA damage, fueling our cells, and improving our metabolic systems.

But it’s not only about keeping our systems running – NAD+ may also hold the secret to avoiding age-related deterioration.

Our systems inherently become more prone to different illnesses like heart ailments and obesity as we age. This vulnerability also corresponds to the reported drop in NMN and NAD+ levels. A study revealed that, by our late 40s, we’ll have lost nearly half of the NMN quantity we had in our 20s, which is why taking more NMN to replenish our NAD+ levels is essential.

How NAD & NMN Work

Let’s dive a little deeper into how NAD and NMN work.

The NAD+ enzyme is present in every cell in our bodies. It is responsible for converting the nutrients we consume into energy and helps the body function optimally. This is critical since every cell’s viability and survival depend on this little molecule.

As mentioned earlier, as we become older, our NMN and NAD+ levels typically decline. But that doesn’t imply we can’t take action to combat it. NAD supplementation can be an excellent way to sustain proper aging and other vital biological functions. And when combined with an energy-boosting NMN, you get a perfect blueprint for active energy metabolism.

The oxidized version of NAD (NAD+) takes electrons from another molecule – it then becomes NADH because of the new electrons. During circulation in the system, NADH provides those electrons to different molecular cells and reverts to NAD+. These redox reactions (shifting electrons around) improve body enzyme functioning. These enzymes cause tiny chemical interactions in your cells, keeping them healthy and your entire body running optimally.

NMN and NAD+ also ensure that proteins are folded and molded appropriately so that they can fulfill their tasks. For instance, if the insulin transmitter protein has an improper shape, your cells do not get the command to absorb the transfer of glucose from your blood circulation. NAD+ redox reactions fix the protein makeup.

If your NMN and NAD+ concentrations are normal, your cells are shielded from mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage. On the other hand, when scientists set experimental conditions in a research facility that inhibited NAD+, mitochondrial metabolism was disrupted, causing cells to die.

While these settings are not always equivalent to those seen in humans, this control experiment condition is a great place to start examining scientific problems related to excess NAD+ levels.

The Difference Between NAD & NMN

According to research, while NAD and NMN share similar anti-aging properties, there are some differences in terms of their absorption rates, bioavailability, and mental and physical effects. Here’s a breakdown of those differences:

Absorption Rate

NMN has a faster absorption rate into the body than NAD. Research shows that NMN binds with specific proteins that use sodium ion (Na+) to transport it directly across the different tissue and cell membranes. These ions drive a faster uptake into other body organs, including the gut.

Research shows NMN is readily absorbed into the body cells within minutes of consumption, while oral intake of NAD takes up to 12 hours for the NAD+ elements to reflect in the bloodstream. That’s because NAD undergoes a series of redox to form a digestible NAD+.


When ingested as a supplement, NAD has limited bioavailability, so our systems cannot utilize it. Instead of swallowing NAD directly, take a separate NMN supplement. This will trigger and promote natural NAD+ production in the system.

Effect On The Brain

Scientific trials have revealed that NAD has a more powerful impact on the brain and cognitive functioning than NMN. NAD+ powers brain cells and produces energy for better neurotransmission and cell signaling than NMN.


Effect On Physical Health

NMN has a more substantial effect on your physical health than NAD. NMN has a faster energy synthesis and provides a more instant energy boost than NAD. Energy synthesis is the process of creating energy from nutrients. According to studies, NMN has a solid preventative impact against age-related deterioration in energy synthesis and can increase physical activity and improve endurance more effectively than NAD.

In another study on the physical and physiological impact of NMN, the researchers found that NMN supplements effectively reduced age-associated body weight more than NAD. NMN also improves eyesight by preventing retinal degeneration, an effect not linked to NAD supplements.

The Benefits Of Taking NAD Or NMN

It’s imperative to note that most NAD and NMN studies have come from mammalian clinical trials. Nonetheless, a wealth of data demonstrates the critical function of NAD/NMN coenzymes in human health.

Many of the body’s critical functions would not be activated without NMN and NAD+. According to research, these coenzymes are required in metabolic activities such as oxidation, glycolysis, and mitochondrial oxidative process of creating large quantities of ATP energy.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the various health benefits of taking NAD and NMN.

Healthier Aging

Sirtuin proteins, which control biochemical processes, safeguard your cells from mitochondrial dysfunction and aging. As per research, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is used by your cells to activate sirtuin proteins essential for preserving telomeres‘ duration.

Telomeres are DNA strand tip coverings that prevent our chromosomes from unwinding. Long telomeres have been related to a longer life span. And because many people desire prolonged telomeres and the vitality that comes with them, they need to have a lot of NAD+ to retain them operating correctly.

The problem is that your NAD+ levels decrease as you age. One explanation is that a molecule called CD-38 degrades NAD+. In small amounts, this is beneficial, as it prevents NAD+ from being too high and disrupting your sleep-wake and appetite cycles.

Studies revealed that people’s CD-38 levels rose as they aged, destroying even more NAD+. The equilibrium eventually shifts, with far too much CD-38 but insufficient NAD+. Because of this, taking NAD supplements and foods rich in this coenzyme is vital.

Reduced Age-Related Obesity And Diabetes Risks

Higher NMN levels boost the metabolic rate of the body. This improves the body’s capacity to convert food into fuel and, by extension, reduces the risk of being overweight. But this should be done with an exercise regime and a nutritious diet.

NMN lowers diabetes risks by increasing insulin sensitivity in the body allowing more blood glucose metabolism.

Reduced Age-Related Cardiovascular Disease

Because the heart is a non-stop operating organ, it needs more NMN to generate adequate energy to pump blood to other body parts. The heart pumps more blood with sufficient power by contracting the muscles and valves. These contractions are a healthy exercise for the heart and blood vessels.

Increased Muscular Endurance

Our bones and musculature require glucose and oxygen to work optimally. A recent study on novice runners discovered that oral NMN administration improves human muscle fitness. Researchers believe this is related to increased oxygen usage and glucose tolerance in skeletal muscle.

Another study found that taking 240 mg of NMN orally every day for 16 weeks improved skeletal muscle function in males over 60. In elderly males, oral administration enhanced walking speed and handgrip strength. Another clinical trial found that taking 200 mg of NMN molecule orally every day for 12 weeks improved the morphology of older women’s muscles.

Better Sleep And Dietary Patterns

Another benefit linked to healthy aging is having better sleep and dietary patterns. Scientists have discovered that NAD+ metabolism affects sleeping patterns and dietary practices. Your sleep-wake rhythm or circadian cycle is determined mainly by time (either night or day), influencing when you feel awake, hungry, or tired.

A normal circadian rhythm is interrelated with sirtuins proteins and NAD+. Sirtuins rely on NAD+ to function correctly, so when NAD+ is accessible, circadian rhythm is normal.

Your circadian cycle is thrown off if either sirtuins or NAD+ are altered, with levels too low or too high. Researchers proved this by interrupting the circadian rhythm in mice by inhibiting a particular sirtuin that relies on NAD+ to function. When the mice were given too much NAD+, their behavior and sleep habits were erratic due to a disturbance in the optimal NAD+ and sirtuin levels.

Furthermore, research shows that the circadian rhythm controls the secretion of hunger hormones, meaning it can control when you eat and how much. In another mouse experiment, NAD+ was found to affect hunger and, by extension, overall body mass and BMI.

Efficient DNA Repair

As we age, most of our DNA strands and makeup degenerate. NAD+ helps repair DNA that daily stressors and intense activities have degraded.

Research shows that supplementing NAD+ extends longevity in animal models by improving DNA repair efficiency. It applies a negative charge to damaged DNA areas, making the repair process more straightforward.

Who Should Take NAD Or NMN?

Anyone with low energy levels, severe exhaustion, and a hazy brain may benefit from NAD or NMN. Taking NMN will replenish your body’s NAD+ levels and can significantly alleviate these effects while providing other advantages. People suffering from the adverse aging process and those suffering from certain age-associated weight gain are also great candidates for NAD and NMN supplementation.

Nevertheless, these supplements can also benefit healthy adults. For example, for athletes who wish to give their bodies an extra NAD+ kick, research shows that NMN compounds can help with endurance and fitness and shorten recovery time – especially after intense HIIT exercises (High-Intensity Interval Training).

People who suffer from these chronic diseases can also take NAD+ and NMN:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension
  • Mitochondrial disease
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

You don’t have to wait until you start suffering age-related disorders or diseases to benefit from NAD+ treatment. You can take NMN supplementation to help slow the process of aging and lessen the incidence of age-related medical issues.

Evidence also demonstrates that NAD and NMN may be useful for people struggling with drug abuse and addictions. For one, it can help rebuild brain cells destroyed by substance abuse. Plus, it can renew opiate receptors to minimize urges and adverse effects during the withdrawal stages.

It’s crucial to stress that the NAD and NMNs are not a silver bullet treatment for addictions, but they can rebuild cells destroyed by substance usage.

The Best Way To Take NAD Or NMN

The best way to take NAD or NMN is through oral consumption. Taking these supplements orally boosts their absorption rate into the cells.

If you have powdered products, mix them with water or add them to your food.

NAD & NMN Dosage Recommendations

There is currently no agreement on the standard dose of NMN and NAD. To date, several studies have focused on modest dosages. Longevity specialists, on the other hand, believe that heavier dosages are more advantageous.

Recent research looked into different NMN dosages and their impact. The researchers administered 300 mg, 600 mg, and 900 mg to three groups. After twelve weeks, the group that was administered 900 mg dosage showed more physical and mental strength.

Another experiment used NMN doses of 300, 600, and 1,200 mg per day. They discovered that the medium and high groups, which averaged 900 mg per day, saw the biggest impact.

A Japanese research team conducted a preclinical studies investigation to assess the safety of oral doses of NMN up to 500 mg and discovered no huge changes in physiological parameters such as pulse rate or blood pressure. The findings of this study support the notion that a single NMN dosage of up to 500 mg is safe and well-tolerated.

Drawing on their research, most NMN and NAD supplement manufacturers have different dosage recommendations. Some will propose a higher dosage, while others recommend a lower dosage.

Most NMN and NAD dosage range from 100 to 600 mg. The number of pills you’ll take largely depends on the company’s ingredient blend, which often incorporates a triad of antioxidants for increased sirtuin activation.

You’ll find some companies recommend taking 1 to 4 pills of the NMN supplements depending on the mg amount per pill. To avoid confusion, read the manufacturer label for its recommendation.

How To Increase NAD & NMN Levels

You don’t have to deal with the issues that come with low NAD+ levels as you age. Here are some natural methods to take and increase your NAD levels:

Eat More NAD+ Rich Foods

Eat more foods containing NMN, which will assist your body in producing NAD+ naturally. Foods like avocado, peanuts, and liver contain healthy levels of:

  • Tryptophan
  • Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Vitamin B3 variations

While these can be obtained through supplements, it’s more accessible to source from whole foods.

Take NAD+ Multivitamin Pills

These are available in pill form and are simple to purchase. Nicotinamide riboside supplements, such as niagen, are transformed into NAD+ – raising its levels in your system.

Start A Keto Diet

Research reveals that following the keto diet causes your system to undergo ketosis, a condition in which it burns fat for energy rather than glucose. This also raises the NAD+ to NADH ratio.

You want more NAD+ since it shields cells against oxidative damage. This damage is caused by an imbalance in your body’s free electrons and antioxidants. More oxidative damage adds to aging.

Use More Oxaloacetate

A greater NAD+ to NADH ratio allows you to produce more energy and improves cell function. According to animal research, oxaloacetate may trigger the lifespan pathway similarly to dieting. The researchers found that the oxaloacetate compound was broken down into malate, which then increased the NAD+ to NADH ratio. This increased the amount of NAD+ accessible to these roundworms.

Oxalate pills are also great for generating clean energy as they are highly digestible.

Introduce Intermittent Fasting To Your Routine

Research suggests that intermittent fasting can improve NAD+ levels. Though calorie-restricted diets and fasting periods can help, they aren’t long-term solutions to increasing NAD levels naturally.


Taking NMN and NAD supplements daily is the best way to stay more active in your senior years. And because our NMN and NAD levels deteriorate as we age, it’s beneficial to replenish them by taking supplements or eating foods rich in NMN and NAD.

Orally administered NMN supplements help keep aging at bay, reduce age-associated physiological decline as well as minimize extreme fatigue and mental fogginess.


Can I take NAD/NMN alone?

Yes, you can take NAD/NMN alone. However, if you want to reap maximum benefits, consider incorporating extra supplements such as:

  • Vitamin B3
  • Nicotinamide riboside
  • Niacin

Your benefits may also be compounded with a healthy organic diet combined with a regular exercise regimen.

Which compounds work optimally with NMN?

NMN works optimally with compounds like fitesin, vitamin C, and glycine. Many of these are combined in the NMN and NAD supplements ingredient blend. For example, we know that NMN triggers sirtuins activities in the body. Fitesin compounds also help to boost the same sirtuins proteins.

What’s the safest way to store my NAD and NMN pills?

The safest way to store your NAD and NMN pills is by keeping them in a cool, dry place.

Do I have to melt my NMN before swallowing?

No, you don’t have to melt NMN before swallowing. Most of these pills are easily absorbed in the body when taken orally. Some people also inject it into their system, though research shows that injecting buffers the absorption rate.

Is the NAD pill bioavailable?

Yes, the NAD pill is bioavailable and best absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract when taken orally.

What’s the best pure NMN product?

The best pure NMN product is liposomal formulations since they provide the best absorption. But if you’re battling neuro-degeneration or want to enhance cognitive function, then an intranasal spray is ideal. Lastly, if you want something less costly, go for standard NMN powders that you can take sublingually.

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