Aging is a natural and inevitable process that affects every living organism. However, aging also comes with various challenges and risks, such as chronic diseases, cognitive decline, and reduced quality of life. Therefore, many people are interested in finding ways to slow down or even reverse the effects of aging and maintain their health and vitality for as long as possible.
One of the potential ingredients for healthy aging is nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a molecule that your body produces naturally from certain foods, such as milk, broccoli, and avocado. NMN is important for your health because it helps your body make another molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is essential for many cellular processes, such as energy production, DNA repair, gene expression, and stress response. NAD+ also activates a group of proteins called sirtuins, which are involved in regulating aging and longevity.
However, as you age, your levels of NMN and NAD+ decline, which may impair the function and survival of your cells. This may contribute to various age-related diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Therefore, some researchers and supplement companies have suggested that taking NMN as a supplement may help boost your NAD+ levels and improve your health and lifespan.
But what are the benefits of NMN for healthy aging? And what is the evidence to support them? In this article, we will review some of the recent research and evidence on the effects of NMN on aging and health.
NMN may improve metabolic health
Metabolic health refers to how well your body regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. Poor metabolic health can increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Several animal studies have shown that NMN can improve metabolic health by enhancing insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation, and preventing fatty liver disease. Some human studies have also reported positive effects of NMN on metabolic health. For example, a 2021 clinical trial found that NMN improved muscular insulin sensitivity in prediabetic women3. Another 2021 clinical trial found that NMN improved aerobic capacity in amateur runners4. However, more human studies are needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of NMN for metabolic health.
NMN may protect your brain from aging and neurodegeneration
Brain aging is characterized by cognitive decline, memory loss, and increased susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Brain aging is partly caused by oxidative stress, inflammation, DNA damage, and reduced energy production in brain cells. NAD+ and sirtuins play important roles in protecting brain cells from these factors. Animal studies have shown that NMN can increase NAD+ and sirtuin levels in the brain and improve cognitive function, learning and memory, neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. Some human studies have also suggested that NMN may have beneficial effects on brain health. For example, a 2018 clinical trial found that NMN improved attention and reaction time in healthy elderly people. Another 2018 clinical trial found that NMN improved cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment. However, more human studies are needed to determine the optimal dose and duration of NMN for brain health.
NMN may delay or reverse some aspects of aging at the cellular level
Aging is associated with various cellular changes that impair the function and survival of cells. Some of these changes include telomere shortening, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, epigenetic alterations, and stem cell exhaustion. NAD+ and sirtuins are involved in regulating these cellular processes and maintaining cellular homeostasis. Animal studies have shown that NMN can increase NAD+ and sirtuin levels in various tissues and organs and counteract some of the cellular changes associated with aging. For example, NMN can extend the lifespan of mice by preventing telomere shortening, improve mitochondrial function by enhancing oxidative phosphorylation, reduce cellular senescence by activating autophagy, restore epigenetic profiles by modulating histone acetylation, and enhance stem cell function by promoting differentiation. However, human studies on the effects of NMN on cellular aging are lacking.
In conclusion, NMN is a natural molecule that may have various benefits for aging and health by increasing NAD+ levels and activating sirtuins. Animal studies have shown promising results of NMN on metabolic health, brain health, and cellular aging. However, human studies are limited and more research is needed to establish the safety and effectiveness of NMN for different populations and conditions. Therefore, it is not clear whether NMN is a miracle cure for aging, but it may be a potential ingredient for healthy aging.