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The Saga of the Longevity Darling, NMN

You love how it makes you feel – the pep it puts in your step, the deep it puts in your sleep, the smile it puts in your…. Running Mile? Laundry pile? Epicondyle?  

Let’s just say that you love how NMN makes you feel.  How’s that?  

But, if you’ve been following the longevity news, you know that your friend, NMN, has been caught up in quite a saga.  “Days of Our Lives” couldn’t make this stuff up.  

But first…. What is NMN? 

NMN, or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, is a molecule found naturally in your body and a precursor to NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide). This crucial coenzyme is essential in cellular energy metabolism and DNA repair. As you age, your NAD+ levels decline, which is believed to contribute to the aging process. This is where NMN comes in – research has shown that by supplementing NMN, you can boost your NAD+ levels, promoting better cellular health and possibly even delaying age-related diseases.

NMN became a household name in the longevity world in 2019 when renowned longevity researcher Dr. David Sinclair published his blockbuster book, “Lifespan.”  The many benefits of NMN were touted to great length in the book, and demand for this particular ingredient, found in over-the-counter nutritional supplements,  went sky-high.  

Meanwhile, David Sinclair’s company, Metrobiotec, was working behind the scenes to develop NMN as a drug and made headlines in late 2022 by persuading the FDA to classify NMN as a drug, which means it could no longer be sold as a supplement.  The good news is that it paves the way for Metrobiotec to do more rigorous clinical trials and research on this remarkable substance. 

The bad news is that NMN can no longer be sold in the United States as a nutritional supplement.  

But, before you raise your hands in a rather exasperated gesture (“But I feel so good on MNM!”), we have some great news for you:  Recent studies have suggested that NR might be just as effective, if not better, in boosting NAD+ levels.

Interestingly, when you consume NR, your body converts it into NMN, becoming NAD+. This means supplementing with NR offers similar benefits to NMN, as both ultimately contribute to increased NAD+ production. Additionally, NR has already been extensively studied for its safety and efficacy, with several human clinical trials backing its potential as a longevity-enhancing supplement.

Preclinical and Clinical Trials on NR: A Glimpse of its Potential

The evidence supporting NR’s benefits is growing, with several preclinical (animal) and clinical trials pointing to its potential to boost NAD+ levels and promote overall health. Research led by Dr. Charles Brenner, a prominent advocate for NR over NMN, has been particularly influential in advancing our understanding of NR’s advantages.

In animal studies, NR supplementation has improved mitochondrial function, increased energy metabolism, and enhanced resistance to age-related diseases. Additionally, it has been found to improve cognitive function and extend the lifespan of model organisms, such as mice and worms.

When it comes to clinical trials, the results have been equally promising. For instance, a 2018 study published in Nature Communications demonstrated that NR supplementation increased NAD+ levels in healthy middle-aged and older adults, with no significant side effects reported. Another study published in Cell Metabolism in 2020 showed that NR supplementation improved exercise capacity in individuals with reduced muscle strength, suggesting its potential for promoting muscle health and function.

In conclusion, NMN and its recent classification as a drug have generated considerable excitement (and some anger!) in the longevity research community. While we eagerly await the results of upcoming clinical trials, it’s essential to recognize the potential of NR as a viable and effective alternative for boosting NAD+ levels and promoting better cellular health. 

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