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What Is An NMN Supplement?

by: Claire Nulla
December 28, 2022

NMN has been talked about as a possible treatment for many ailments, including kidney damage, liver scarring, and brain cell loss from diabetes. Or, even as a way to slow the aging process.

But, what exactly is NMN? What does it do? Does it work?

In this article, we discuss many of the potential health benefits of NMN, as well as look at some of the research and studies behind NMN supplements.

What Is NMN?

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a molecule that occurs naturally in small amounts in all life forms. In recent years, scientists have begun researching NMN’s potential benefits, including increased longevity and insulin sensitivity for aging individuals. Additionally, it could reduce the risk of heart failure and protect against metabolic disorders due to altered NAD metabolism.

What Does NMN Do?

NMN is absorbed into cells, and the cells use it to create a vital enzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is one of the most abundant molecules in the body, other than water – life would not survive without this important molecule.

How much NAD+ your body makes depends on, among other substances, the amount of NMN available.

What Does NAD+ Do?

NAD+ binds to enzymes and works to transfer electrons between molecules. It’s an essential part of many critical cell functions in our body. Some of those functions include energy metabolism, immune cell function, and DNA repair.

As our bodies grow older, our DNA is slowly damaged because of environmental factors. One aging theory suggests that DNA damage is one of the main causes of aging. NAD+ is the fuel for the proteins and enzymes used to repair our DNA and increase longevity. But it can’t do this without its precursor, NMN.

The Science Behind NMN

So, if NAD+ is so important, why don’t we take that instead? Tests have shown that oral supplementation of NAD+ is impractical. This is because the digestive system can’t absorb NAD+ efficiently, and it isn’t directly absorbed by the cells. Instead, we can give the body what it needs to increase the production of NAD+.

The precursors the body uses to produce NAD+ include nicotinamide riboside (NR), nicotinic acid (NA), and tryptophan (Trp). NR is a form of vitamin B3 and is used in many other supplements. It has been considered one of the best ways to improve the body’s natural production of NAD+. Researchers are also looking into specific health benefits of increased NAD+ levels through supplementation of NR, like lowering high blood pressure.

However, in recent years, scientists have started thinking that NMN could be even more effective in NAD+ production than NR. This is because NR is a precursor to NMN. So, instead of the body first using NR to make NMN, and then making NAD+, we can skip a step with NMN supplementation.

As research into what nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) can do began relatively recently, scientists have yet to fully study its capabilities. However, some very promising animal trials and human clinical trials have been conducted. For example, one animal study that gave NMN to mice found that it could double life expectancy.

Benefits Of NMN

As NMN supplements are being sold as a food product and not as a heavily regulated therapeutic drug, there aren’t many trials being conducted. Clinical trials are extremely expensive.

However, there have been animal studies as well as some human trials conducted that have proven many potential health benefits in a wide range of areas. Let’s look at what some studies on the benefits of NMN have found so far.

What Are NMN Supplements?

An NMN supplement is a dietary supplement that primarily contains nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). They were created to supplement a healthy diet and increase nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels in the body.

Because it’s a direct precursor to NAD+, NMN supplementation is one of the most effective ways to increase the natural production of NAD+. The supplements typically come in powder or capsule form, but a nasal spray is also available.

Benefits Of NMN Supplements

Scientists have discovered many possible benefits to increasing NAD+ production in the body through taking nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) supplements. Let’s take a look at the benefits of NMN supplements.

NMN Supplements Are Easy To Find

NMN’s popularity over recent years has made it more easily accessible. Manufacturers are increasing the production of NMN supplements, making them cheaper and easier to find.

NMN supplements are a very popular product that can be found in health and vitamin stores, as well as in medical facilities around the country. You can also find them in online shops where you can have them delivered straight to your doorstep.

They come in varying dosage amounts and pieces per bottle or pack, so you can easily gauge how much you need to buy and take.

NMN Supplements Are Affordable

There are many natural sources of NMN. You can find it in certain foods like vegetables, fruits, and some meat. However, it can get quite expensive (and unrealistic) to source NMN through only these natural foods.

For example, edamame contains at the most 1.88 mg of NMN per 100 g. So, to get the recommended daily dose of 250 mg of NMN, you would need to consume around 13 kg of edamame. Another example is avocados, which contain 1.6 mg of NMN per 100 g. To get the daily recommended dose, you would need to consume over 15 kg of avocados per day.

Since the concentration of NMN in natural foods is minimal relative to your daily requirement, it would be more cost-efficient to buy supplements. Of course, it’s still healthy to get NMN through natural means. But, to get that extra boost, it’s best to balance between NMN supplements and having a healthy diet. This way, you get to maintain both your health and your budget.

NMN Supplements Are More Effective Than NAD+ Supplements

The purpose of NMN supplements is to increase NAD+ levels in the body. So, why don’t we take NAD+ supplements instead? There are a few reasons why.

First, NAD+ isn’t easily absorbed in the body, as the NAD molecule is too large to be transported into the cells intact. The only way our bodies can use it is by breaking it down into smaller molecules (NAD precursors), transporting it into the cell, and converting it back into NAD.

This process requires energy. As NMN is one of the most direct precursors to NAD, taking NMN supplements is the most energy-efficient way to increase NAD+ levels.

Second, NAD+ supplements are easily broken down by environmental factors. The molecules are quickly degraded by light or heat and deteriorate in water. When the supplements are manufactured, stored, or shipped, they are likely exposed to one of the three.

NMN supplements don’t break down as NAD+ supplements do, so you’re much more assured of their effectiveness.

Efficacy Of NMN Supplements

As human clinical trials began only recently and are still ongoing, more time is needed to fully understand the benefits of NMN supplementation and how effective it is. That being said, some studies involving different groups of people have shown some interesting results.

NMN insulin diabetesEffects Of NMN Supplements On Diabetes And Obesity

A study was done on obese mice that were being fed a high-fat diet. It found that systemic administration of NMN increased the concentration of NAD+ in the tissue of the mice. It also improved insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and β-cell function.

When NMN was given to the mice long-term, it improved insulin resistance. The test results were more positive when tested on female mice.

Study

The positive results of the animal tests led to scientists wondering if the same effects would show up in humans. The clinical trial group consisted of 25 postmenopausal, prediabetic women who were obese or overweight, of which 12 were given a placebo and 13 were given NMN.

Scientists wanted to know the effects of NMN supplementation on the global gene expression profile as well as on body composition, skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, insulin signaling, and muscle NAD+ content.

Results

After the trial, scientists could confirm that muscle insulin signaling and muscle insulin sensitivity increased after taking NMN over 10 weeks. The increase in muscle insulin sensitivity seen was similar to the effect of losing 10% weight.

So, NMN supplementation could help obese and diabetic people regain important body functions similar to that of more healthy adults.

Effects Of NMN Supplements On Cardiovascular Fitness

Recent studies done on mice indicated that a combination of exercise and NMN supplementation had synergistic effects. This means that NMN greatly improved the effects of fitness exercises.

Study

The trial group consisted of 48 middle-aged people from the recreationally trained Guangzhou Pearl River running team. The participants were divided into four groups, a low dosage, a medium dosage, a high dosage, and a placebo group. Each group consisted of 10 males and 2 females who would train five to six times a week for 40 minutes to an hour.

Scientists wanted to discover the effects that a combination of exercise and NMN would have on healthy amateur runners.

Results

The results of the trial showed that oxygen uptake, the percentages of maximum oxygen uptake, and power output at various running speeds increased in groups that took a medium to a high dosage of NMN. The study concluded that aerobic capacity in humans during training increases with an intake of NMN supplements, likely due to better utilization of oxygen in skeletal muscle.

Effects Of NMN Supplements On Fatigue And Sleep Quality

Poor sleep quality and fatigue in older adults can lead to decreased quality of life, age-associated physiological decline, and an increased mortality rate.

Scientists have long been searching for ways to increase the quality of health and life for older adults. As NMN supplements have many possible benefits for older adults, a study was conducted to see if NMN could improve sleep quality and reduce physical or mental fatigue in aging individuals.

Study

The study was conducted in Japan and evaluated 108 participants over 65 years old. They were divided into four groups. One group would take NMN in the morning, one in the afternoon, and the other two were placebo groups.

Their sleep quality was evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Fatigue levels were evaluated using the Jikaku-sho shirabe questionnaire, which rates fatigue on a scale of 1 to 5.

Results

The conclusion of the 12-week study showed that taking NMN in the afternoon was more effective than taking it in the morning. Taking NMN in the afternoon improved sleep quality for the participants due to fewer sleep disturbances. Additionally, NMN supplementation was found to significantly decrease drowsiness, total fatigue, and mental dullness in the human body.

Taking NMN Supplements

Understanding how to take NMN to supplement your diet is important. Consider doing research on your own health or consulting a dietician. When deciding to take NMN supplements, make sure you look into the following:

Dosage

The correct dosage of NMN supplements is still being determined by ongoing trials and studies. When quality NMN supplements are manufactured, they go through a long process of testing. This extensive testing means that manufacturers of the supplements have determined the ideal dosages for their specific product.

When buying NMN supplements, be sure to stick to the recommended doses mentioned on the product.

Side Effects

A human trial was conducted using a group of ten healthy Japanese men. The purpose of the trial was to find out if there was any danger in taking NMN supplements.

The dosages given to the men were 100 mg, 200 mg, and 500 mg per day. The results seemed promising and no evidence was found to suggest that NMN supplements might be harmful.

However, it’s important to remember that long-term studies aren’t yet possible as NMN supplements have not been on the market for an extended period. They also have yet to be approved by the FDA.

As there’s limited information on potential side effects, further research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of NMN supplements. Before taking any dietary supplements, be sure to contact your doctor and discuss whether or not you should take them.

How To Naturally Increase NMN

NMN is naturally found in particular food types that are commonly found in most local groceries. They’re typically found in foods like cow’s milk, certain types of leafy vegetables, as well as in beef and shrimp.

Here are specific food items that are rich in NMN.

  • Avocados: Up to 1.6 mg per 100 g
  • Broccoli: Up to 1.12 mg per 100 g
  • Cabbage: Up to 0.9 mg per 100 g
  • Tomatoes: Up to 0.3 mg per 100 g
  • Raw beef: Up to 0.42 mg per 100 g

The amounts of NMN found in these foods are quite low. The dose of NMN for an average person would be around 250 mg to 500 mg per day, which would require eating quite a lot of food.

Therefore, NMN supplements are the best way to increase the NAD+ levels in your body. Additionally, more research is needed to discover how eating foods that contain NMN may increase NAD+ levels.

Conclusion

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) takes part in many vital functions in our body, including cognitive function, heart health, metabolism, and energy production. NMN supplements have gained popularity worldwide for their possible anti-aging properties due to NMN’s DNA repair capabilities. Other possible benefits may include improved heart and brain function, or a reduced risk of diabetes.

Though there is still limited information on the full effects of NMN and its side effects, the many health benefits found in animal trials using NMN have led to human clinical trials. The research so far has had promising results. Those results include an improved aerobic fitness capacity, increased insulin sensitivity, higher quality of sleep, and lowered fatigue.

As there are many NMN supplements on the market, we recommend taking care when choosing which supplement you purchase. It’s important to remember that NMN supplements are not yet FDA-approved. Additionally, always consult your physician before trying any dietary supplements.

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