What is NMN?
With the number of people aged over eighty set to triple over the next 30 years, there is no denying that people are living a lot longer today. We can mostly thank modern medicines and progress in public health for this, however living a longer life does not necessarily equal a healthy one. As we age, our bodies become weaker and more susceptible to diseases and scientists have partially linked this to the decline in an important molecule in the body – called NAD+.
What is NAD+?
Before we can talk about NMN, we need to understand what NAD+ is and what it does in the body. NAD+ (also known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a molecule used by cells for a variety of different purposes, namely the most important being producing the energy cells need to function and activating proteins that repair DNA damage. As we only have a finite number of NAD+ molecules in our body, the amount declines as we age meaning that they cannot work as well as they should – leading to cellular ageing.
One way to maintain a healthy level of NAD+ in the body is to supplement with a precursor – which brings us on to NMN.
What is NMN?
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a precursor to NAD+, which means it helps the body to produce more NAD+ molecules. By producing more NAD+ molecules, the body is able to provide its cells with energy and activate proteins that help to support the DNA – both of which are thought to be critical for healthy ageing.
Supports muscle health and blood flow
For our muscles to stay healthy, they require significant amounts of glucose and fatty acids. NAD+ is needed to metabolise these molecules, therefore our bodies need a steady supply of precursors such as NMN. This includes arguably the most important muscle of them all, the heart. Cardiac cells need a good supply of NMN in order to produce all the NAD+ they can to keep the heart working as it should.
Improves DNA repair
A group of proteins called sirtuins are activated by NAD+, and these proteins play a key role in maintaining DNA by stabilising telomeres, the part at the very ends of our chromosomes which grows a little bit shorter every time a cell divides. By stabilising the telomeres, sirtuins slow down the process and reduce the damage to our genes.
Enhances mitochondrial function
NAD+ is central to the function of the mitochondria, which converts molecules from the food we eat into the energy our cells use. Loss of NAD+ may even cause mitochondrial anomalies which could impact neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s.