NMN is considered a new miracle drug in the anti-aging scene. But can this really stop the aging process? The facts in summary.
Smooth skin and full hair until old age – that’s what many people want. Consequently, agents that are intended to slow down the aging process, so-called anti-aging agents, are popular. For some time now, a new “miracle cure” has been giving hope to consumers and scientists alike: nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN for short.
“Radiant skin, more energy and greater performance” – this is how users describe the effect of NMN on the Internet. But is this also scientifically proven?
What is NMN?
NMN is a naturally occurring substance in the body. It is the precursor of an important coenzyme: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+ for short. NAD+, in turn, is involved in numerous reactions in the body, such as:
- the implementation of information stored in DNA
- the cellular response to stress
- DNA repair
- energy metabolism
Due to these functions in the body, many researchers assume that NAD+ plays an important role in human health and longevity. And because NMN is the precursor to NAD+, current research suggests that NMN may also have a beneficial effect on the aging process.
How does NMN work?
Young people have high levels of NAD+. However, this gradually decreases with increasing age. Researchers therefore assume that the reduction of NAD+ is – at least in part – responsible for the consequences of aging, such as DNA damage, cognitive impairment and inflammatory diseases.
Research on NMN has shown that it can increase the concentration of NAD+ in the body, thereby delaying the reduction of NAD+.
Additionally, taking NMN attenuated several age-related complications in several animal studies (mice and rats):
- Improved insulin action
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved energy production in cells
- Improved neuronal function in the brain
In mice, the aging process and typical diseases associated with age were significantly slowed down – diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and heart failure decreased in many mice.
To find out whether NMN is also safe for humans in the long term and achieves the desired anti-aging effect, human clinical studies are needed in addition to animal studies. And here lies the problem. Because so far there are only a few published reports on the effects of NMN in humans. So far, only the following effect has been observed in humans:
- a slight improvement in muscle performance with age
- a slight improvement in insulin sensitivity in muscles in pre-diabetics
- a slight improvement in the protective layer around the chromosomes (telomeres)
Information: Telomeres and aging
Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes in the human genome. They keep the chromosomes intact. Every time a cell divides, a piece of telomeres is lost, so the ends of chromosomes get shorter the more often cells divide and the older we get. Once a certain length is reached, the cells enter a resting phase and no longer divide. These cells can then die or even cause inflammation, which accelerates the aging process and triggers disease.
More human studies are needed for clearer results.
NMN: How much to take and for how long?
But although the effect on humans has not yet been confirmed, there are already many NMN products on the market. The good news is that existing human clinical studies at least indicate that taking NMN orally is generally safe.
The dosage used is in the range of 250 to 1250 milligrams per day. However, there were differences in the duration of use: low concentrations were proven to be safe for a period of up to 12 weeks, while ingestion of high concentrations was tested for only four weeks. The results also showed that NMN is generally well tolerated. No side effects have been observed so far.
What else should you consider when taking NMN?
However, despite these positive results, you should be careful. Because there are still many open questions about the effects of NMN. In particular, more studies are needed to determine how long-term use of NMN affects the body and whether it may interact with other dietary supplements or medications.
If you still want to try NMN, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- NMN should only be supplemented at older ages, when the body’s own NAD+ level has already fallen. It is still unclear how high NAD+ levels affect the body.
- At first, you should plan two to four weeks to test whether you can tolerate the product. As soon as you notice any unpleasant symptoms, you should stop taking it.
- As with all dietary supplements, you should look for a certified seller. Therefore, it is better not to buy the product abroad.
Are there natural sources of NMN?
If you prefer to improve your NMN balance naturally, you can do so through your diet. Because NMN occurs naturally in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including:
- Edamame: about 1.1 milligrams per 100 grams
- avocado: about 1.0 milligrams per 100 grams
- broccoli: about 0.7 milligrams per 100 grams
- Cucumber: about 0.6 milligrams per 100 grams
- Mushrooms: about 0.5 milligrams per 100 grams
- Cabbage: about 0.45 milligrams per 100 grams
- tomato: about 0.2 milligrams per 100 grams
Although the effect of NMN on humans has not yet been confirmed, there are already many nutritional supplements available for purchase. They are often marketed with claims about their effectiveness in laboratory and animal studies. However, the effect on humans has not yet been sufficiently investigated – even if initial studies suggest a slight anti-aging effect. However, taking NMN products is considered safe for a certain period of time. However, if you are taking other dietary supplements or medications, you should speak with your doctor before starting to take NMN.