NMN Supplements for Managing Depression: How Can It Help?

As we age, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels decrease leading to cases of depression, cognitive decline, cancer, metabolic disease, sarcopenia and frailty. Research shows nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) as a precursor to NAD+, meaning NMN may provide relief when managing depression.

Key takeaways:
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    Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is precursor to NAD+, leading to advances in managing depression.
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    NMN has been a proven safe supplement for doses ranging from 250 mg/day to 500 mg/day.
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    The status of NMN in U.S. markets in in threat of being removed for sale as a dietary supplement.

NAD+ is the second most abundant molecule in the body next to the water and is used by numerous proteins in the body, like sirtuins, to repair damaged DNA. Researchers from the University of Washington at St. Louis conducted a study that found low levels of NAD+ to contribute to mental disorders like depression.

There findings included:

  • Aging is due to decreases in NAD+ levels across multiple tissues.
  • Decreased NAD+ levels provenly lead to multiple diseases, including age-associated metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and mental disorders.

Depression (major depression disorder)

Depression (major depression disorder) is a serious medical illness that negatively impacts your thoughts and actions. According to the American Psychiatric Association, mild to severe symptoms of depression include low energy, loss of interest in former hobbies, sadness, weight fluctuation, and even thoughts of suicide.

Around 6.7% of adults are affected by depression each year, with 16.6% of people experiencing the illness at some point while living. Depression may onset at any time but usually occurs in the late teens to mid-20s, with women receiving higher chances to obtain the disease than men. The American Psychiatric Association highlights that 33% of women will have a major depressive episode during their lifetime.

Pharmacologic treatment of depression

For many, antidepressants serve as a solution to battling depression. Data funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found in a representative sample of the US household population in 2007, 75.3.% of outpatient treatment for depression used antidepressants in 2007.

Antidepressants target an increase to the availability of chemicals used by brain cells to pass on signals in the brain. Depression is the cause of an imbalance of chemical messengers, resulting in signals failing to pass properly along the nerves — according to experts.

As for the effectiveness of antidepressants, a study by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care drew answers on this subject matter using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) antidepressants.

Their samples found 20 to 40 out of 100 people who took a placebo noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks. This is compared to 40 to 60 out of 100 people who took an antidepressant noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks. Ultimately the results showcased improved symptoms in about an extra 20 out of 100 people.

Although proving to be effective, there is a downside to SSRIs and SNRIs antidepressants.

Those side effects include:

  • feeling agitated, shaky or anxious
  • feeling and being sick
  • indigestion and stomach aches
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness
  • insomnia, or tiredness
  • headaches

NMN supplements for depression treatment

With NMN being a precursor to NAD+, and proven trials of no malleolus effects of NMN dosages up to 500 mg/day, could NMN help manage depression?

While there is currently limited research, studies like the one conducted at Zhejiang University in China found NMN to improve depression-like symptoms in depressed mice.

Their methods included one group of mice receiving an injection of corticosterone (CORT; 20 mg/kg) each day for six weeks, with the second group receiving an additional dose of NMN (300 mg/kg) for the final two weeks. Transcriptome analyses, metabolome analyses, and transient gene knockdown in primary mouse cells were carried forward. The research was limited by the small group sample sizes, along with only a single type of primary mouse cell being used.

The study’s conclusion found beneficial evidence regarding the ability of NMN to enhance energy production. Many individuals feel a lack of motivation or will to be more physically active when suffering from depression, the enlightenment brought forward in this study stacks up with evidence that NMN may combat depression through its ability to raise NAD+ levels.

"Importantly, NMN supplementation increased NAD+ levels to enhance sirtuin (SIRT)3 activity, thereby improving mitochondrial energy metabolism in the hippocampus and liver of CORT-treated mice. Sirt3knockdown in primary mouse astrocytes reversed the effect of NMN by inhibiting energy production, although it did not affect NAD+ synthesis."

Research results

NMN may not be available much longer

The status of NMN as a dietary supplement is currently up in the air. On July 25, 2022, Inner Mongolia Kingdomway Pharmaceutical Limited voluntarily submitted an New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) for NMN with plans to market a product containing it.

Those dreams were cut short by the FDA on Oct. 11, 2022. The FDA-released document highlights the status of NMN currently being investigated as a new drug, therefore prohibiting its ability to market as a dietary supplement or food.

NMN is currently available for purchase within U.S. markets, however many brands have been notified to cease production of their NMN-containing products.


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Jeff Giligan Jeff Giligan
prefix 1 month ago
NMN has to start off as NR (nicotinamide riboside) outside the cells, so even if NMN becomes unavailable, NR is not, and can be purchased on-line.
Shelly Albaum Shelly Albaum
prefix 1 month ago
Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) does the same thing as NMN, and does it the same way. That’s important to know because the FDA is likely to block NMN in the US.
Jeff Gilligan Jeff Gilligan
prefix 1 month ago
NR works better orally than NMN. NMN is too large enter a cell,. It enters as the vitamin NR (nicotinamide ribose, niagen), then converts to NMN, and then NAD. NMN taken orally has to break down to NR before entering th cells. NR is not in jeopardy of being banned, and is available from that really big on-line retailer, etc.