What Are the Benefits of NMN Supplements?

So far, animal models and early human studies have shown safety and benefit (efficacy) in taking niacinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a nutraceutical, with health protective effects and no substantial side effects.

Key takeaways:
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    Supplementation with niacinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a precursor for NAD+, may improve health outcomes with anti-aging benefits to your skin, brain, and heart health, even improving fertility.
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    The available research on NMN supplements is still in its infancy. Talk with a healthcare provider before considering taking supplements of any kind.
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    As we age, NAD+ levels decline in many of our cells, contributing to old-age changes to the skin, heart, brain, and more. NMN may provide the answer we seek to delay aging processes.

Improvements in animal studies and early, ongoing human clinical trials include positive effects on heart health, fertility, diabetes management, and even cognition (memory, language use, problem-solving). Further age-related declines may be improved by supplementation.

What is nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)?

What is NMN? Niacinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a precursor for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) (a key player in many cell processes and maintaining our body’s status quo), is currently being investigated in numerous clinical trials and other research to evaluate its use as a supplement to combat a variety of aging-related changes.

In 2018, with the release of the 11th edition of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s ICD codes (International Classification of Diseases), age-related diseases were included as a disease state.

Classifying aging as a disease opened the door to research on various topics related to boosting NAD+ in mammalian cells and the possible benefits of slowing down aging. NAD+ plays a key role in many activities in the body that, with aging, decline. Studies show that NAD+ levels drop almost 50% once we reach middle age.

NMN benefits

Taken by mouth, NMN is quickly and efficiently absorbed and converted into NAD+. Preliminary clinical trials in mice and other lab animals, with a handful of recent studies conducted or ongoing in humans, suggest that enhanced levels of NAD+ suppress age-related fat-causing inflammation in tissues and improve the production and action of insulin, brain function, and more. Additionally, possible benefits of NMN supplementation may include:

  • Improved brain health – Lessen mental illness, improve memory, possible therapy for Alzheimer’s disease
  • NMN’s anti-aging skin benefits (our body’s largest organ)
  • Fertility benefits
  • Heart protective effects (cardioprotective)
  • Improved diabetes health & insight into obesity
  • Improved sleep

Improves cognitive function

In a study by Shen et al., researchers found that NMN, which mediates the body’s synthesis of NAD+, plays a role in maintaining one’s circadian rhythm. Furthermore, they demonstrated improved mental function (cognition) and decreased depression-like behaviors in mice supplemented with NMN.

Additional encouraging research suggests that NMN supplementation may provide several neuroprotective effects. However, ongoing research is needed to determine if these effects translate to humans.

  • Increases survival of neurons
  • Slows the decline in Alzheimer’s (mouse models to date)
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Decreases symptoms of depression
  • Improves sleep

Reverses skin aging

NMN skin benefits are currently being investigated, though studies are still in their infancy.

In a 2021 study by Zhou et al., researchers evaluated NMN use in mice. They found improvement in sun-damaged aging-related skin changes. This may prove beneficial for future research and treatment methods, even preventing UVB (sun) related skin damage.

In a 2022 study by Brito et al., investigators evaluated NMN’s role in decreasing melanin (pigment), which may benefit those with age-related hyperpigmentation (increased pigment, dark/aging spots) in the future.

Improves fertility

Taking NMN may provide improvements in fertility in both men and women.

As female ages, her eggs (oocytes) quality and fertility decline. Studies in mice have shown that by supplementing with NMN, the benefits included increased ovulation, improved cell division, and the ability to achieve fertilization.

As men age, spermatogenesis (sperm production) decreases. Early mice studies suggest that this decline in sperm production occurs secondary to the depleting levels of NAD+ that accompany aging. This may support using NMN supplements to improve low sperm counts as men age. Furthermore, the effects of obesity on sperm quality may be mitigated by NMN’s positive effects.

Heart health benefits

By maintaining NAD+ levels in the body, even while aging, we may be able to treat or prevent the onset of some cardiovascular diseases.

Levels of NAD+ in the cardiovascular system decrease with increasing age. Providing the precursor, NMN, as a supplement may help reverse age changes within arteries and reduce blood vessel stiffness. Heart protective benefits may include better blood pressure control, fewer arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and even improvements in overall heart function.

Improving diabetes management

Decreased NAD+ levels have been identified in obese animals, humans, and those with diabetes mellitus. Several studies, including a mouse model by Uddin et al., suggest that supplementing with NMN not only increases NAD+ levels but can also improve glucose clearance associated with high-fat diets leading to obesity, aging, and diabetes. NMN may aid in diabetes regulation and obesity management in the future.

Improve sleep

NMN may join melatonin and other supplements used to improve sleep and sleep quality, minimizing insomnia and other sleep disorders.

In multiple animal studies, including that by Shen et al., providing additional NMN led to enhanced immune system function and regulation. Furthermore, it was shown to improve the function of the GABAergic system in the body – a key player in mood disorders, neurological disease, sleep regulation, and other components of health. Via modifications to this system, the immune system, and different pathways, findings suggest the potential use of NMN supplementation to treat some sleep disorders.

What are the side effects of NMN supplements?

Adverse effects can occur with anything we take orally or injectable.

NMN studies to date suggest mostly beneficial effects with minimal side effects. However, though generally well tolerated, nicotinamide can have ill effects on the kidneys, liver, and beta-cells in the pancreas (which makes insulin) and can lead to gastrointestinal upset and headaches. These effects seem to be dose-dependent, with higher doses causing negative effects and lower doses having more protective effects.

How much NMN should I take?

Given that studies suggest benefits but are still only in the beginning research stages, recommendations for specific dose ranges or times of day to take a supplement, such as NMN, should be discussed with a healthcare professional. NMN dosage will depend on age, weight, result, and desired goal. Doses to achieve anti-skin aging benefits vs. reproductive benefits, for example, may vary.

Moreover, any medications you currently take may affect absorption and, thus, time of administration requirements. Careful consideration with your primary care provider is warranted to ensure this supplement is safe for you and that you are getting it from a reputable source. Doses used in clinical trials to date vary, and products used range from oral supplements to injectable forms. They are not comparable as one apple may be to another.

Taking NMN with resveratrol

Does combining NMN with resveratrol provide for even better longevity results? Are there any benefits in supplementing with both compounds rather than one alone?

A 2018 review by Salehi et al. discusses that resveratrol has health benefits and risks.

Resveratrol, a naturally occurring polyphenol commonly found in grapes and other foods, may have several key protective benefits to health. These properties may include.

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Antioxidant (protect cells from damage due to normal byproducts of metabolism).
  • Antimicrobial activity (inhibit the growth of several organisms).

  • Anti-tumor effects.
  • Heart protective effects.
  • Aid in relaxing blood vessels.
  • Neuroprotective effects.

Studies have shown that resveratrol is not always readily available to the body once ingested. Furthermore, adverse effects have been noted, which seem dose-dependent. One possible negative impact relates to the estrogen-like activity of the compound. Depending on the dose and the age of the person when taking resveratrol, we can see either benefits or ill effects.

Thus, while positive results may be seen, careful attention must be paid to the dose and patient aging. It isn’t just “Here, take a supplement,” and you are good to go. Minor side effects seen were variable and generally reported with higher doses or long-term use. They include GI upset (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting) and liver abnormalities. It is important to note that studies in the review were all done in healthy populations, not people with underlying health issues.

Resveratrol can have several drug interactions. Additionally, the supplement can inhibit various enzyme activities, leading to an increased risk of side effects, medication failures, or toxicities.

A further concern, resveratrol may decrease the ability of platelets to combine. When platelets (Used to clot your blood) fail to function properly, one is at risk of increased bleeding and bruising. This risk increases when combined with drugs that affect similar pathways, including anticoagulant medications (stroke, atrial fibrillation), antiplatelet drugs, or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin or ibuprofen). Additional safety and efficacy studies are needed on using resveratrol as a supplement to improve health.

What about combining resveratrol and NMN? The combination with NMN may have benefits but is not yet recommended. A single study by Bai et al., conducted in mice, suggests that NMN combined with resveratrol could increase the levels of NAD+ in the heart and muscle. However, keep in mind that:

  • This is an animal study.
  • The study design has several limitations.
  • It is too early to tell if this translates to similar results in people.
  • Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration), the safety and actual product composition of any supplement you buy may be questionable.

Consider waiting until further research and FDA-approved products have been developed, or at least contact a healthcare provider to discuss risks vs. benefits.

Supplementing with a food, powder, or oral tablet/capsule of NMN may prove fruitful as additional research is conducted and analyzed. The potential anti-aging benefits of NMN seem, on the surface, to improve healthy aging, with improved mental effects, minimal side effects, and even protective effects to various body processes, organs, and age-related changes.

However, while promise and beneficial effects are shown by research studies, clinical safety and efficacy studies in large clinical trials are still lacking. Nadeeshani et al. and many other researchers agree that further studies are needed in human medicine to translate the primarily animal research to date into human applications. Still, research is promising, and maybe this will be the elixir of life we all hope to find.

Bottom line

Always consult a physician or similar healthcare provider before starting any supplements. Not all supplements are compatible with prescription medications, formulations vary, and supplements are not well-regulated to date by the federal government. Not all supplements are created equal. Please ensure the products you select are safe, third-party tested, and recommended by your physician before adding them to your daily routine.

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