As the years go by, our muscles shrink, wrinkles develop in our faces, our joints ache, and our metabolism slows down. We’ll have to suffer from the effects of aging at some point, right? Isn’t it a foregone conclusion that life will take its toll on our bodies as we get older? According to David Sinclair, Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, that might not be the case.
If you’re a regular podcast listener, you might have heard Sinclair on Joe Rogan touting the benefits of the “anti-aging” NMN nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). Has this controversial Australian doctor “NMN David Sinclair” discovered the fountain of youth? What are the NMN benefits, and is it true that NMN can reverse aging? Keep reading to learn more about his exciting compound as we dive into a recent study into its effects.
What Is Nicotinamide Mononucleotide?
Nicotinamide mononucleotide is a type of organic molecule known as a nucleotide that is derived from the simple sugar ribose and a form of vitamin b3 called nicotinamide and has been shown to enhance NAD+ biosynthesis. NMN is naturally occurring in all living organisms and is a direct precursor to NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which makes life possible to begin with. Aside from water, NAD+ is the most abundant molecule in the human body. Mitochondria use NAD+ to create energy for our cells, and proteins use NAD+ to repair damaged DNA.
What Are NMN Supplements?
As we get older, our NAD+ levels naturally start to decline. The idea behind NMN supplements is that by boosting NAD+ levels, you may be able to possibly mitigate the effects of aging. These supplements aren’t a miracle drug, and the NMN reverse aging effects aren’t a fountain of youth. However, preliminary animal studies show that there are myriad of benefits to taking NMN.
According to champions of NMN like Dr. Sinclair, some potential benefits of NMN capsules include:
- Lowered risk of obesity
- Healthier cardiovascular system and blood flow
- Stronger muscles and more endurance
- Increased mitochondrial function
Lowered risk of heart disease
Side Effects Of NMN
In the few clinical trials looking into the effects of NMN on humans, researchers saw that 1000mg doses caused no harmful effects on participants. Bear in mind that this research is still in its infancy, and the human trials typically have short durations.
Some people who take NMN supplements do report feeling mild side effects such as: nausea, diarrhea, headaches, indigestion, and fatigue.
Can NMN Reverse Aging?
It sounds too good to be true. Can NMN supplements really reverse the aging process? It’s a bold claim, but there is some scientific evidence to support it. Let’s take a look at a recent 2016 study investigating the effects of long-term NMN administration using rodent models.
Researchers exposed mice to NMN over the course of one year and discovered some amazing findings.
- NMN suppressed age-associated body weight gain: The study concluded by assessing a variety of physiological, biochemical, and molecular parameters that rats who were given higher doses of NMN were shown to have less age-associated weight gain. Lack of weight gain was not due to appetite suppression, and in fact, the mice who were given NMN showed increased food intake. Perhaps even more astounding is that the diminished weight gain was heavily dependent on dose, and no serious side effects were observed.
- Mice given NMN showed increased nighttime physical activity and enhanced metabolic energy: by measuring oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, and respiratory quotient, researchers determined that the NMN administered mice had significant increases in energy levels, particularly during dark hours.
- NMN mice showed improved insulin sensitivity: researchers measured glucose and insulin tolerance in both a control group of mice and mice who were given NMN. It was found that the NMN mice showed a noticeable improvement in their insulin sensitivity. This could have drastic implications for diabetes prevention and treatment.
- Long-term NMN administration improved vision in aging mice: mice that were given higher doses of NMN were shown to have a dramatic reduction of light-colored spots appearing on the interior surface of their eyes. In both humans and mice, our glands responsible for tear production see a functional decline with age. However, the mice who were given NMN saw a noticeable increase in tear production.
Researchers also discovered that NMN reversed genetic alterations that are commonly associated with aging.
Overall, the study determined that NMN can reverse some of the effects of aging in rodents, and it’s possible that this could translate to human beings. It’s important to note that the results of this trial don't definitively prove that NMN can reverse the effects of aging; and more research needs to be done—particularly using human models. However, these findings are incredibly exciting and point towards the incredible potential of NMN.
According to a new study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine, rodents may not be the only species that benefit from NMN. This small clinical trial, first published in April of this year, investigated the effects of NMN on 25 pre-diabetic women. Remarkably, the 13 women who were administered NMN showed significant signs of improved glucose metabolism in their skeletal muscle and improved expression of certain genes responsible for muscle structure compared to the 12 women who received a placebo. While this is only the very first human trial probing into the anti-aging effects of NMN, we will hopefully see many more in the near future.