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Posted on: March 15th, 2022

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a bioactive nucleotide derivative of nicotinic acid (niacin). NMN is found primarily in various fruits and vegetables. NMN is used by enzymes in the human body to produce nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a central coenzyme of metabolism.

Research into the reasons for and effect of the depletion of NAD in the body due to aging is gaining interest. NAD depletion has been linked to oxidative stress, less energy produced by mitochondria, cognitive impairment, and some inflammatory conditions. Research has focused on increasing NMN levels in aging bodies, as higher NMN levels result in higher NAD levels.

NMN & Aging

Lower levels of NMN eventually affect aging bodies and the functions certain organs perform. A recent study noted that the progression of lower NMN & NAD counts follows this path:

  1. Higher counts of NAD consuming enzymes due to aging.
  2. NAD production slowed by inflammation and oxidative stress
  3. More rapid depletion of NAD
  4. Downregulation of energy produced by mitochondria
  5. Aging

This process has started research into NMN supplementation to encourage NAD repletion, potentially slowing rapid aging in specific areas of the body. Studies on NMN supplementation, however, have yet to be tested on humans.

Researchers noted “Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which come along with aging, are the causes for reduction and inhibition of NAMPT-mediated NAD+ biosynthesis. The depletion of NAD+ contents along with aging, particularly of nuclear origin, is associated with interruption of mitochondrial regulation of PCG-1α/β-independent pathway of oxidative-phosphorylation as well, causing pseudohypoxia. This incident can be overturned by raising the NAD content.”

Efficacy of NMN as an Anti-Aging Health Agent

Investigating the potential of NMN supplementation as an anti-aging health agent is showing early promise. Primarily, studies have been conducted in animals to this point, and this early-stage research includes:

  • Supporting the management of diabetes induced by age (testing conducted on mice)
  • The potential benefit for vascular dysfunction caused by age (mice)
  • Agent for general anti-aging properties in cells (testing conducted on rats)
  • Potential beneficial effect on Alzheimer’s (mice)
  • Potential for decreasing age-associated physical decline (mice)

The studies in question all focused on NMN supplementation to replete NAD pools in specific areas of the test mice/rats. Testing NMN supplementation in humans, however, may prove to be more difficult, as the ever-increasing quality of life standards involving everything from food to medicine may affect NMN levels (among other changes to the human body).  Therefore, this research is still in its early stage but shows promise that NMN may have health-promoting benefits. 

Preliminary clinical trials have started at various institutions with an emphasis on the safety of longer-term NMN administration. Future studies with human participants will most likely begin with routine NMN supplementation followed by measuring the levels of NMN and NAD.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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