The last decade has seen an explosion in R&D for therapies addressing the leading natural cause of disease and death in the world: aging. Whether or not you see aging itself as a disease, over 100,000 people die from age-related causes every day after years of physical decline.
The best antiaging therapies are natural, accessible solutions that don’t cut corners on safety and efficacy. But you also need remedies that target as many pathways to longevity as possible.
Could nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a derivative of vitamin B3, be one of the jewels in the longevity crown?
What Is NMN?
Nicotinamide mononucleotide is a molecule that’s naturally occurring in all life. It’s produced by our bodies from vitamin B3 (niacin), and then turned into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Without the coenzyme NAD, your body is literally unable to do anything, because your cells don’t have energy to use. Your body’s NAD synthesis, unfortunately, declines with age, feeding into the vicious cycle of all deteriorating physical functions. Since NAD, isn’t being produced and is barely being absorbed through the foods you eat, research focuses on its precursors, nicotinamide riboside (NR) and NMN supplements. NR is another intermediate step towards NAD production, but NMN is preferred because it’s one less step to DNA repair.
NAD+ production follows:
- NR —> NMN —> NAD+ —> DNA repair and epigenetic maintenance
NMN is also more stable since NR is quickly degraded in the bloodstream and converted into vitamin B3.
Four Ways NMN May Help Fight Aging
Our understanding of aging has progressed from an unstoppable natural process to accumulated oxidative damage, to something more comprehensive that can lead to effective treatments. But NMN can address several underlying mechanisms of aging, such as:
- Mitochondrial function: Our mitochondria (energy production for cells) require NAD to produce energy. Lab studies show that NMN and NR supplementation are able to increase mitochondrial function in aged stem cells. The cells had more ATP, a molecule that stores chemical energy, and their membranes were healthier. They were less likely to become senescent, a state where cells are too biologically old to function.
- Telomere shortening: Your cells’ ability to divide depends on telomeres, the caps on your chromosomes that help to prevent DNA damage. Once telomeres become too short, a cell can no longer divide and turns senescent. NMN (as NR) helped to protect the telomeres on bone marrow stem cells.
- Cellular senescence: Preventing cellular senescence (aging) isn’t just a goal, but an antiaging strategy in itself. Senescent cells offer zero benefits to the body and instead, generate inflammatory, damaging chemicals that accelerate the decline of other cells.
- Loss of stem cell populations: Improved energy production and slower progression to senescence, in turn, rescues stem cell populations. Treatment with NR and NMN can help to restore stem cell counts and their “stem-ness.”Aged, depleted stem cells are often slightly differentiated, which puts the brakes on their ability to regenerate tissues and replenish themselves. In lab research on muscle stem cells, NR treatment led to an increase in mature muscle fiber counts after stem cell populations rose.
Repair and Regrow (?)
The benefits of NMN for cellular health may translate to prevention, or even reversal, of some age-related diseases. NMN has already shown benefits in improving insulin sensitivity, making it potentially helpful in diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, lab research has recently found that NMN may protect against osteoporosis. Menopausal women can turn to hormone replacement therapy for prevention, but NMN may help rescue youthful bone regeneration too. Exposing bone marrow stem cells to NMN may restore their ability to divide and turn into mature cells, including bone. And, NMN can increase bone cell formation from stem cells, which would otherwise have a higher chance of transforming into fat tissue.
Longer Muscle Stem Cells
The physical deterioration of aging eventually results in death, but fortunately, the above lab study on mice and muscle stem cells found a small increase in lifespan. While the control group lived an average of 829 days, or two years and 99 days, the NR group lived for 868 days on average (two years, 138 days). Although this was only a 4.7 percent increase in longevity, NR supplementation only began when the mice were two years old.
Clinical Trials Show Promise
The vast majority of research on NMN has been on animals and cell lines so far, but human trials are heating up. Studies show that NMN is safe, which is the typical purpose of early clinical trials.
An April 2022 study, currently the most recent, demonstrated that taking NMN can increase NAD levels, pointing to more cellular energy production. The strongest benefits were seen at four and eight weeks. But unfortunately, NAD levels fell back to their starting point by 16 weeks. As a result, you may benefit most from pulsed dosing. One potential protocol could be taking NAD for eight weeks on and off.
What about efficacy? Volunteers also showed some signs of increased muscle mass, so NMN may reverse age-related loss of muscle. However, this wasn’t seen as significant and there was no exercise program alongside supplementation. Some volunteers did see dramatic increases in muscle mass and bone density, but there was a large range of effects. Other studies show that taking NMN may increase your cardio fitness if you’re into recreational activities such as running. A third of obese, pre-diabetic women found that NMN could work by improving insulin sensitivity in the muscles.
NMN Is A Remedy To Watch
NMN is showing increasing promise as a treatment for the underlying mechanisms of biological aging. With improved insulin sensitivity and energy production, alongside longer telomeres and restored stem cell populations, it’s no surprise that even early-stage trials find real-world clinical benefits. It’s why HoneyColony formulated our latest brand product, NMN Revive Anti-Aging + DNA Repair.
NMN Revive is one of the highest potencies of NMN on the market that’s comparable to successful clinical trials. And most importantly, it features a unique co-enzymatic process to ensure the highest quality NMN. Learn more on our shop page.
Alexandra Preston is an Australian naturopath, passionate about empowering others to take charge of their health and healing the planet. Her special area of interest in natural health is antiaging; she also loves the beach and is a semi-professional dancer.
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