What is NMN?
Feb 04, 2021

What does nmn mean?

NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide, a molecule naturally occurring in all life forms. At the molecular level, it is a ribo-nucleotide, which is a basic structural unit of the nucleic acid RNA. Structurally, the molecule is composed of a nicotinamide group, a ribose and a phosphate group (Figure 1). NMN is the direct precursor of the essential molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and is considered a key component to increase NAD+ levels in cells.

What is Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+)?

NAD+ is an essential coenzyme required for life and cellular functions. Enzymes are catalysts that make biochemical reactions possible. Coenzymes are ‘helper’ molecules that enzymes need in order to function.

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What Does NAD+ Do?

NAD+ is the most abundant molecule in the body besides water, and without it, an organism would die. NAD+ is used by many proteins throughout the body, such as the sirtuins, which repair damaged DNA. It is also important for mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cell and generate the chemical energy that our bodies use.

NAD+ Functions as a Coenzyme in Mitochondria

NAD+ plays an especially active role in metabolic processes, such as glycolysis, the TCA Cycle (AKA Krebs Cycle or Citric Acid cycle), and the electron transport chain, which occurs in our mitochondria and is how we obtain cellular energy.

In its role as a ligand, NAD+ binds to enzymes and transfers electrons between molecules. Electrons are the atomic basis for cellular energy and by transferring them from one molecule to the next, NAD+ acts through a cellular mechanism similar to recharging a battery. A battery is depleted when electrons are expended to provide energy. Those electrons can’t return to their starting point without a boost. In cells, NAD+ serves as that booster. In this way, NAD+ can decrease or increase enzyme activity, gene expression, and cell signaling.

NAD+ Helps Control DNA Damage

As organisms grow older, they accrue DNA damage due to environmental factors such as radiation, pollution, and imprecise DNA replication. According to the current aging theory, the accumulation of DNA damage is the main cause of aging. Almost all cells contain the ‘molecular machinery’ to repair this damage. This machinery consumes NAD+ and energy molecules. Therefore, excessive DNA damage can drain valuable cellular resources.

One important DNA repair protein, PARP (Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase), depends on NAD+ to function. Older individuals experience decreased levels of NAD+. The accumulation of DNA damage as a result of the normal aging process leads to increased PARP, which causes decreased NAD+ concentration. This depletion is exacerbated by any further DNA damage in the mitochondria.

Can NMN Help Fight COVID-19

As COVID-19 swept the cities with pneumonia-like illness, infecting millions of people worldwide, scientists are on the hunt for a safe and effective cure. Gerontologist, scientists who study the biology of aging, believe that therapeutics that target aging may provide a new angle to tackle the pandemic.

Statistics have shown that COVID-19 disproportionately infects older adults. About 13.4 percent of patients 80 or older die from COVID-19, compared to 1.25 percent and 0.06 percent of those in their 50s and 20s. A recent study from the University of Oxford that analyzed 17.4 million UK adults showed age is the most substantial risk factor associated with COVID-19 death. Other risk factors include being male, uncontrolled diabetes and severe asthma.

Given the gerolavic nature – harmful to the old – of the virus, some gerontologists claim that treating “aging” can be a long term solution to defend older adults from COVID-19 and other future infectious diseases. Although more study needs to be done, a recent study listed NAD+ boosting agents such as NMN and NR as one of the potential treatments. Other scientists also hypothesized that older adults might benefit from NAD+’s longevity effects and prevent the deadly over-activation of immune responses called a cytokine storm, in which the body attacks its cells rather than the virus.

The cell uses up NAD+ during the fight against coronavirus, weakening our body, according to a recent study that has not been peer-reviewed. NAD+ is essential for innate immune defense against viruses. The researchers of the study are trying to assess whether NAD+ boosters can help humans beat the pandemic.

While scientists are in the lab racing time to find a cure for COVID-19, physicians on the front lines running out of options turn to innovative techniques. As a last resort to treat his patients, doctor Robert Huizenga of Cedars Sinai Medical Center administered an NMN cocktail infused with boosters like zinc to the patient to calm the cytokine storm stirred up by COVID-19. The NMN cocktail brought down the patients’ fever and inflammation levels within 12 hours.

During the pandemic, NMN is receiving more and more attention for its role in maintaining the immune system balance, which may be a possible treatment for the coronavirus-caused cytokine storm. With the preliminary studies showing some positive results, although not a guaranteed cure, many scientists and physicians believe the NAD+ booster’s effect on COVID-19 is worth investigating.

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NAD+ is the fuel that helps sirtuins sustain genome integrity and promote DNA repair. Like a car cannot drive without fuel, sirtuins’ activation requires NAD+. Results from animal studies showed that raising NAD+ level in the body activates sirtuins and increases the lifespans of yeast, worms and mice. Although animal studies showed promising results in anti-aging properties, scientists are still studying how these results can translate to humans.

Metabolic Disorders

NAD+ is one of the keys to maintaining healthy mitochondrial functions and steady energy output. Aging and high-fat diet reduces the level of NAD+ in the body. Studies have shown that taking NAD+ boosters can alleviate diet-associated and age-associated weight gain in mice and improve their exercise capacity, even in aged mice. Other studies even reversed the diabetes effect in female mice, showing new strategies to fight metabolic disorders, such as obesity.

Heart Function

Boosting NAD+ levels protects the heart and improves cardiac functions. High blood pressure can cause an enlarged heart and blocked arteries that lead to strokes. In mice, NAD+ boosters have replenished NAD+ levels in the heart and prevented injuries to the heart caused by a lack of blood flow. Other studies have shown that NAD+ boosters can protect mice from abnormal heart enlargement.


In mice with Alzheimer’s, raising the NAD+ level can decrease protein build up that disrupts cell communication in the brain to increase cognitive function. Boosting NAD+ levels also protects brain cells from dying when there’s insufficient blood flow to the brain. Many studies in animal models present new prospects of helping the brain age healthily, defending against neurodegeneration and improving memory.

Immune System

As adults get older the immune system declines, people get ill more easily, and it becomes harder for people to bounce back from illnesses such as the seasonal flu, or even COVID-19. Recent studies have suggested that NAD+ levels play an important role in regulating inflammation and cell survival during the immune response and aging. The study underscored the therapeutic potential of NAD+ for immune dysfunction.

How Does the Body Make Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+)?

Our bodies naturally produce NAD+ from smaller components, or precursors. Think of them as the raw materials for NAD+. There are five main precursors that occur in the body: tryptophan, nicotinamide (Nam), nicotinic acid (NA, or niacin), nicotinamide riboside (NR), and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). Of these, NMN represents one of the final steps of NAD+ synthesis.

These precursors can all come from diet. Nam, NA and NR are all forms of vitamin B3, an important nutrient. Once in the body, our cells can synthesize NAD+ by several different pathways. A biochemical pathway is equivalent to a factory production line. In the case of NAD+, multiple production lines all lead to the same product.

The first of these pathways is called the de novo pathway. De novo is a Latin expression that equates to “from scratch.” The de novo pathway begins with the earliest of the NAD+ precursors, tryptophan, and builds upwards from there.

The second pathway is called the salvage pathway. The salvage pathway is akin to recycling, in that it creates NAD+ from the products of NAD+ degradation. All proteins within the body need to be regularly degraded to stop them from accumulating to unhealthy degrees. As part of this cycle of production and degradation, enzymes take some of the results of a protein’s degradation and put it right back into that same protein’s production line.

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NMN Benefits

Anti-Aging Supplement

You will agree with me that old age and gray hair are synonymous with wisdom. However, the joy of this maxim is short-lived when you start having senior moments. As we advance in years, our bodies transform into a magnet of diseases.

Old age leaves a great impact on cellular functions. For instance, the levels of NAD+ and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide considerably fall back during the golden years. Although the body still synthesizes the chemical, the rate of consumption maximumly surpasses the frequency of regeneration.In the case of DNA damage, NAD+ activates the PARP1, a DNA-repairing protein, to restore the affected organelles.

A decrease in NMN affects the NAD+ levels and subsequently leads to a decrease in energy production by the mitochondria.Research studies by Dr. Sinclair, a geneticist from Havard University, confirm the efficiency of nicotinamide mononucleotide supplement in slowing down aging. The scholar admits that he and his dad are taking the supplement and it certainly improves memory and sharpens their mind.

Treatment of Diabetes II

A decline in the level of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide may trigger type II diabetes. Administering Nicotinamide Mononucleotide would significantly improve glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity in patients with diabetes. Besides, some geneticists inferred that the treatment reverses the gene expression that’s due to a high-fat diet.


When the levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide fall, the mental state lies at stake. Administering NMN optimizes the quantity of NAD+, hence protecting the brain from damage. In a nutshell, Nicotinamide Mononucleotide benefits neuronal functions and cognition, including, learning, and memory. For this reason, the treatment is used to manage Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s syndrome, dementia.

A certain study vouches for the above nicotinamide mononucleotide benefits by confirming that the supplement efficiently deals with intracerebral damage. When researchers administered the dose on old mice, the subjects registered massive improvement in the production of intracerebral NAD+. As a result, there was a subsequent reduction in ischemic stroke and neurological inflammation.

Improved Metabolism

Optimum NMN level in the body translates to an increase in NAD+, which regulates energy metabolic functions, repair of DNA, and response to stress. Since Nicotinamide Mononucleotide directly affects metabolism, its deficiency would trigger several metabolic conditions like obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and dyslipidemia.

In the case of glucose intolerance, NMN steps in to enhance the metabolism of sugar. Research confirms that you can lose up to 10% of your bodyweight if you take NMN. As Dr. Sinclair put it, the impact of a single NMN dosage for humans is equal to running on a treadmill.

Upholding Youthfulness

Forget about the tons of makeup kits and facial surgery that leave you with insufferable upshots. As scientists put it, we are as old as our arteries. With this remark, you can infer that reversing the vascular atrophy and senescence of our blood vessels will play the trick in our lifespan.

What mainly separates youthfulness from old age is vitality and muscle endurance. Although all these characteristics improve with regular exercises, senescence defies the odds and the muscular tissues weaken while blood flow declines within these systems.

Allow me to explain from a scientific perspective. When the human endothelial cells suffer a decline in Sirtuin1 proteins, blood flow will drastically fall. You should understand that NMN is the key regulator of SIRT1. Therefore, administering this supplement will activate sirtuin-signaling, which will generate new capillaries to supply oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and other vital organs.

What is nmn used for?

This particular molecule has demonstrated several beneficial pharmacological activities in preclinical studies, which suggest its potential therapeutic use. Mostly mediated by its involvement in NAD+ biosynthesis, the pharmacological activities of NMN include its role in cellular biochemical functions, cardioprotection, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and complications associated with obesity. The recent groundbreaking discovery of anti-ageing activities of this chemical moiety has added a valuable essence in the research involving this molecule. This review focuses on the biosynthesis of NMN in mammalian and prokaryotic cells and mechanism of absorption along with the reported pharmacological activities in murine model.

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