What if I told you that there was a supplement you could take to reverse symptoms of chronic disease, combat signs of aging, and increase your vitality well into your golden years? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, in this case, the health benefits of the supplement in question, nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), entirely live up to the hype! NMN is a derivative of the B-vitamin niacin that dramatically improves health and longevity by serving as a precursor to NAD+, a compound that plays a crucial role in energy production, metabolism, and gene expression in the body.
The Biochemistry of NMN
To understand how NMN benefits the body, it helps to first have some background knowledge of the biochemistry of this potent compound.
NMN is a compound derived from ribose, a sugar, and nicotinamide, also known as vitamin B3. The human body has enzymes that use NMN to generate another compound, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide comes in two forms: An oxidized form (NAD+) which accepts electrons from other molecules and a reduced form (NADH) that donates electrons to other molecules. From here on I will refer to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide as NAD+, but remember that it does come in these two forms.
NAD+ has two crucial, primary functions in the body:
NAD+ participates in redox reactions. Redox reactions are those that involve a transfer of electrons from one reaction or molecule to another. The most well-known redox reaction in the body is cellular energy production, which includes glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and mitochondrial respiration. NAD+ serves a vital role in each of these components of energy production.
NAD+ is a substrate for enzymes that add or remove chemical groups from proteins. For example, NAD+ functions as a cofactor for sirtuins, proteins that regulate DNA transcription, apoptosis, inflammation, and mitochondrial biogenesis and assist in the function of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, a group of proteins that regulate DNA repair and genomic stability.
Low NAD+ Leads to Disease and Aging
Research has found that NAD+ levels decrease in aging and certain chronic disease states. The loss of NAD+ limits redox reactions and deprives enzymes of the substrate they need to function correctly; this ultimately leads to an energy deficit that impairs DNA expression and repair, promotes inflammation, and downregulates metabolism. However, a growing body of research indicates that restoration of optimal NAD+ levels may reverse many of the symptoms associated with chronic disease and aging. How can we naturally boost the body’s levels of NAD+? The solution lies with NMN supplementation.
The Many Health Benefits of NMN
NMN supplementation serves as a precursor to NAD+. When we boost NMN levels in the body, we can enhance the biosynthesis of NAD+ and alleviate symptoms associated with depletion of this crucial nutrient. In fact, NMN supplementation has been found to improve various parameters of health, including physical endurance and muscle strength, neurological function, heart health, insulin sensitivity, dyslipidemia, body weight, and gene expression.
Endurance and Muscle Strength
Decreased physical endurance and muscle strength are often considered to be “inevitable” symptoms of the normal aging process. However, recent animal research indicates that NMN may prevent these declines in aging mice. In fact, one study found that consumption of NMN enhanced endurance and muscle strength in aged mice to such a degree that they became as healthy as their much-younger peers!
Endurance and muscle strength are not the only physical symptoms impacted by the aging process; body weight, energy metabolism, blood lipids, insulin sensitivity, and vision are also adversely affected by the aging process. Excitingly, NMN supplementation has been found to suppress age-associated weight gain, enhance metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity and plasma lipid levels, benefit vision, and prevent adverse alterations in gene expression in aging mice. These effects highlight the therapeutic potential of NMN as a beneficial anti-aging intervention for humans.