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NMN for Optimal Health and Aging

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN, is a molecule that has been studied for its potential health benefits, particularly in relation to cellular function, anti-aging, and exercise performance. The first study to investigate the effects of NMN was published in 2013 in the journal Cell Metabolism (“Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, a Key NAD+ Intermediate, Treats the Pathophysiology of Diet- and Age-Induced Diabetes in Mice”). The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. David Sinclair.

The study showed that oral supplementation with NMN could increase nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels in mice. NAD+ is a coenzyme that plays a critical role in cellular metabolism and energy production. A coenzyme is a type of molecule that works with enzymes to facilitate chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for chemical reactions, speeding up the rate at which they occur. Coenzymes are often small, non-protein molecules that help enzymes to function properly.

In the study, the researchers gave NMN to old mice for a period of one week and found that it improved their energy metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and muscle function. All three are critical components of longevity and healthy living. The study also found that NMN increased the expression of genes that are involved in mitochondrial function and decreased the expression of genes that are associated with inflammation.

Energy metabolism refers to the biochemical processes that occur in living cells to convert nutrients from food into energy that can be used by the body to carry out various functions. These processes involve the breakdown of complex molecules such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into smaller units such as glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids, which can then be further broken down to release energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how responsive the body's cells are to the hormone insulin. Insulin plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels by allowing cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream to use for energy or store for later use. In people who are insulin resistant (not insulin sensitive), more insulin is needed to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. Over time this can lead to the development of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, improved insulin sensitivity benefits longevity as it counters the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity and its related maladies, and cardiovascular disease.

Muscle function is important to longevity for several reasons. First, muscles are essential for mobility and physical activity, which are both important for maintaining overall health and preventing chronic diseases. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Second, muscle mass is an important factor in maintaining metabolic health. Skeletal muscle is the largest organ responsible for glucose uptake, and maintaining muscle mass helps to prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Muscle mass also plays a role in maintaining basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy the body uses at rest. As we age, our basal metabolic rate decreases, and maintaining muscle mass can help to slow this decline and prevent weight gain. Finally, muscle function is important for maintaining independence and quality of life in older adults. Loss of muscle function can lead to falls, difficulty with activities of daily living, and decreased mobility.

Mitochondrial function refers to the biological processes that occur within the mitochondria. Mitochondria are often referred to as the "powerhouses" of the cell, as they are responsible for producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary energy source for cellular metabolism.

Mitochondria also play a critical role in other cellular processes, including the regulation of cellular signaling, cell growth and division, and the control of cell death (apoptosis). In addition, mitochondria are involved in the metabolism of various molecules, including amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates.

Mitochondrial dysfunction, which can occur as a result of genetic mutations, environmental factors, or aging, has been linked to a variety of human diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic disorders, and cancer.

The results of this study provided the first evidence that NMN could increase NAD+ levels and have beneficial effects on health and aging. Since then, many studies have been conducted to further investigate the effects of NMN, including its potential benefits for exercise performance, cognitive function, and age-related diseases.

While research on NMN is ongoing, here are some of the potential benefits that have been suggested by scientific studies:


NMN is a precursor to NAD+, which is a molecule involved in many cellular processes, including energy metabolism and DNA repair. A precursor refers to a molecule or compound that is used to create another molecule or compound through a series of enzymatic reactions. In this case, NMN is the molecule that is used to create NAD+. Studies suggest that NMN supplementation may increase NAD+ levels, which could improve cellular function and potentially reduce the risk of age-related diseases.

Here are a few ways in which NMN may benefit cellular function:

  • NMN Increases NAD+ Levels: As a precursor to NAD+, NMN can increase the levels of this important molecule in cells. NAD+ plays a crucial role in energy production, DNA repair, and other cellular processes, so increasing its levels can potentially improve overall cellular function.

  • NMN Improves Mitochondrial Function: Mitochondria are the "powerhouses" of cells, producing energy through a process called cellular respiration. NMN may improve mitochondrial function, which could increase the amount of energy available to cells and improve their overall functionality.

  • NMN Reduces Oxidative Stress: Oxidative stress is a type of cellular damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells and DNA. Studies suggest that NMN may reduce oxidative stress by increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes.

  • NMN Enhances DNA Repair: DNA damage is a common cause of cellular dysfunction and aging. NMN may enhance DNA repair mechanisms, helping to maintain the integrity of the genetic material in cells.

Overall, by using NMN to increase NAD+ levels, improve mitochondrial function, reduce oxidative stress, and enhance DNA repair, NMN may have potential benefits for cellular function, which could potentially translate into a range of health benefits.


Research has demonstrated that NMN may have neuroprotective effects, helping to protect against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. NMN may have cognitive benefits, such as improving memory and learning ability.

One study found that NMN supplementation improved cognitive function in older mice by increasing the levels of NAD+ in the brain. Another study found that NMN improved cognitive function in young mice by increasing the production of new neurons in the brain. Studies have also found that NMN can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, which are two key factors that contribute to neurodegeneration.


One study found that NMN supplementation improved exercise performance in mice, suggesting that it may have potential benefits for human athletes as well. During exercise, the demand for energy increases, and NAD+ is required for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the molecule that provides energy for muscle contraction. By increasing the availability of NAD+, NMN supplementation may improve energy production during exercise, leading to improved endurance and performance.

Additionally, NMN has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for exercise performance. Exercise-induced inflammation can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue, which can impair performance. NMN supplementation may help to reduce inflammation and promote recovery, leading to improved performance in subsequent exercise sessions.

It is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of NMN supplementation and that individual results may vary depending on a person's health status and other factors. It is recommended that you discuss the potential benefits and risks with a healthcare professional before taking NMN or any other dietary supplement.


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