NMN, or nicotinamide mononucleotide, is a precursor of an essential molecule called NAD+. Research has shown that not only does NAD+ provide the energy we need to function, grow and repair, it could actually be critical in stemming the process of aging.
Benefits of NMN include;
- Lowering obesity: Increased levels of NMN stimulate the metabolic system, which enhances the body’s ability to turn food into energy and can be a tool in reducing the risk of obesity. However, this should happen alongside an active lifestyle and healthy diet.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease: The heart works 24/7 throughout your life without a breather. It produces huge amounts of energy and will need all the NAD+ it can get.
- Improving metabolic disorders: Early research is finding that NAD precursors may help reduce body weight, counteract the effects of high-fat diets and improve energy. A small trial looked at the effect of NMN on women with prediabetes and found their muscles’ ability to process sugar improved.
- Improving fitness and muscle endurance: Our bones and muscles consume glucose and fatty acids in order to continue functioning. NAD+ helps them to be metabolized into the system. Without it, everything slows down and muscle endurance declines. A recent trial on amateur runners also found that NMN increases human aerobic capacity. Researchers theorize that this is due to enhanced oxygen use in the skeletal muscle.
- Improving cognitive function: Models of Alzheimer’s disease showed improved cognition and memory with NMN supplementation; this is most likely due to NAD+’s ability to improve many critical functions in the brain.
- Improving symptoms of serious disease: Researchers are also exploring the specific benefits of increased NAD levels on high blood pressure, liver health and diabetes.
Inside the body, NAD+ produced by NMN supplements stimulates the activity of mitochondria, microscopic organelles that are vital to our metabolism. The powerhouses of the cells, mitochondria transform glucose and oxygen into cellular energy – without them, cells would lack energy and die.
NAD+ also activates sirtuins, a family of proteins that repair our DNA and regulate cellular homeostasis. Each time our cells divide, the caps on the ends of our DNA strands become a little bit shorter; this fraying and shortening damages our DNA, but sirtuins act to reduce this process by stabilizing these caps, or telomeres. Studies in mice show that feeding them NMN can elongate telomeres, offsetting the risk of damage to DNA.
It is interesting to note that sirtuins are NAD dependent, which means they can’t function properly without it. However, as NAD production increases, so too does sirtuin activity.