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What Is Nicotinamide Mononucleotide? NMN Benefits & Science

What Is Nicotinamide Mononucleotide? NMN Benefits & Science

With life expectancy rising yearly, researchers and medical professionals increasingly focus on healthy longevity.

Those on the pulse of wellness supplements are turning to NMN powder supplements to optimize their health and nutrition. Many cell and animal studies point to NMN's potential as an anti-aging molecule through its cellular repair mechanisms [1].

While NMN hasn't been tested for long-term effects in human clinical trials, the early research is promising for its potential to support healthy extended lifespans.

Want to learn more about NMN supplements and whether or not they hold the key to the fountain of youth?

This article will explore what NMN is exactly and what scientific evidence suggests about its potential benefits — from its impact on metabolism and energy levels to improving cognitive health, NMN side effects, and how to shop for quality NMN supplements.

Key Takeaways:

  • What is NMN? NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide, a vitamin B3 derivative found naturally in foods.

  • Taking NMN powder supplements stimulates the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is a coenzyme within the human body that helps with energy production, DNA repair, cell signaling, cellular energy, and more that may help to support healthy aging.

  • Research on NMN has been around for decades, but most of it is animal studies. Now researchers are diving into human clinical trials with promising results.

  • It's important that you speak with your doctor if you plan on taking NMN supplementation long-term or if you have an underlying health condition to ensure it's a supplement that can be used safely and effectively in your circumstances.

What Is NMN Exactly?

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is a vitamin B3 derivative that has recently been of great interest for its potential as an anti-aging compound.

There are few food sources known to contain NMN naturally.

Certain fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and tempeh contain NMN. Mushrooms like shiitake or reishi contain higher than average levels of NNN compared to cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, and tomatoes. However, the concentrations of NMN overall in most diets aren't very high.

Eating these foods may provide small doses of NMN, but supplementing your diet with a quality NMN supplement may be the key to accessing its true anti-aging potential and other health benefits.

What Does NMN Do In The Body?

NMN is involved with maintaining healthy cellular age and function.

It helps to promote energy production by supporting the mitochondria within our cells, ultimately facilitating many essential metabolic processes in our body, such as converting glucose and fatty acids into ATP, building proteins, and cellular repair [2].

It may also help with general health maintenance due to its role in stimulating NAD+ activity. Age-related decline has been linked with decreased NAD+ levels, as they're not produced at the same rate as when we were younger.

NAD+ is important for keeping the critical cellular environment conducive to the physical and chemical processes that maintain optimum well-being [2].

NMN is a precursor for NAD+ production to help compensate for lower levels of NAD+. In animal models, NMN supplementation has been shown to offer protection against aging-related illnesses and has also been known to improve pathways associated with metabolic health and obesity [3, 4].

What Are The Potential NMN Benefits?

Taking NMN supplements may sound like a recent trend, but NMN supplements have been backed by decades of research.

Every day, scientists and researchers uncover new ways that NMN might enhance overall well-being. As mentioned, NMN is naturally found in small amounts in certain foods we consume. Still, experts believe it's difficult to get enough NMN from food alone to derive potential health benefits.

Some of the reported supplemented NMN benefits may include the following:

  • Energy metabolism

  • Cellular stress resposne

  • Insulin sensitivity (related to age-associated weight gain)

  • Focus and mental clarity (combat cognitive decline)

  • Exercise training

  • DNA repair & gene expression

  • Sleep quality

Although many findings appear promising, generations of research point to a need for more testing before any concrete conclusions can be drawn about the long-term NMN side effects on human health.

Let's take a closer look at what the research says about these areas of health NMN may help to support.

Energy Metabolism

Energy metabolism is how our bodies convert the foods we eat into energy for our cells. We need key vitamins and minerals and sufficient caloric intake to keep that metabolic process going.

As we age, this process can start to slow down, leading to fatigue, lack of energy, muscle weakness, and a higher risk of infection.

Metabolic disorders, usually identified by their difficulty breaking down certain nutrients or minerals, are fairly common and can be disabling — but they are far more common in older people.

One possible explanation is that as we age, the human body becomes less efficient at metabolizing compounds, and its ability to react to these changes decreases.

NMN is an essential molecule (coenzyme) that participates in various energy metabolism pathways, including converting food into energy [5].

Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity, can significantly impact physical and mental wellness. Fortunately, emerging research suggests that NMN supplementation may benefit treating metabolic disorders for a healthier aging process.

DNA Repair & Gene Expression

Our bodies can remarkably use DNA repair systems to maintain genetic stability and ensure good health, but these processes become increasingly difficult to sustain as we age. As the number of errors in our DNA increases with age, so does our risk for diseases like cancer.

But this isn't all that changes as we age — our gene expression also adapts due to changes in hormones and metabolism which can affect our life span.

Ultimately, aging is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors — while genes may predispose us to certain conditions that eventually lead to aging, lifestyle habits such as smoking or not exercising can also accelerate the aging process.

Supplements formulated with nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) may benefit those looking for a natural way to support DNA repair and protect healthy gene expression.

As the precursor to NAD+, supplementing NMN can activate a group of proteins called sirtuins, which help repair your DNA and keep it functioning optimally.

And the really cool thing is that the activity of these sirtuins seems to be linked to human longevity — higher levels of NAD+ correlate to longer lifespans [6].

Neurodegenerative Diseases

One of the primary causes of cognitive decline in aging is a decrease in neurotransmitters responsible for communication between neurons. This disruption leads to difficulty memorizing and recalling information and decreased ability to process complex information efficiently.

Over the last few years, scientists have been putting forth interesting theories and conducting research about how increasing NAD+ levels could lead to wholesome long-term benefits for brain health.

It has been suggested that this increase in NAD+ can result in many positive outcomes, from reducing oxidative stress to lowering protein aggregation and anti-inflammatory effects [7].

Clearly, this could be an important protective measure against various neurological disorders providing us with hope for better treatment options. While there's still a long way to go before we find definite answers, these initial findings prove incredibly promising.

The Science Behind NMM Supplements

The age-associated physiological decline is a fact of life. As we age, the body's ability to regenerate new cells diminishes, so finding ways to strengthen the body's cellular repair process may be the key to a healthy aging process.

Researchers have found that one of the main influencers of aging within our cells is NAD+ or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide levels. This compound affects the body's ability to use energy from food and defend against outside forces (like the environment and viruses).

NAD+ levels tend to decline with age, impacting our cellular health and leading to cellular senescence and other signs of aging. While this decline is an inevitable part of life, there may be ways to encourage higher levels of NAD+ within the body that could help combat some aging effects.

That's where NMN supplementation may help to optimize health as NMN increases NAD+ levels in the body.

But why not supplement NAD+ instead of NMN?

The challenge with simply supplementing NAD+ is that it doesn't actually have the capabilities to reach our cells, as NAD+ molecules can't cross cell membranes.

If we're looking to increase our NAD+ levels, the only feasible solution is to consume something that can eventually become NAD+, like NMN.

While we can’t stop the natural progression of aging, understanding its effects on our body and taking steps to maintain a youthful state can help us enjoy a healthier life for longer.

How Do NMN Supplements Work?

Nicotinamide mononucleotide is a nutrient supplement created through the laboratory extraction of B vitamins.

The ingredient primarily comes from natural sources such as yeast and meat, but it can also be produced synthetically in a lab.

Regarding concentration, it can be difficult to find NMN in natural sources as it's usually at lower levels than what's needed for effective supplementation. To overcome this obstacle, scientists extract the B vitamins from these natural sources and concentrate them to help increase the supplement's potency.

This concentrated form of NMN may provide an abundance of benefits, including increased energy levels, improved cognition, cellular repair, and enhanced overall health and vitality.

NMN supplements stimulate the production of NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), an important coenzyme found in all living cells that's been shown to play a vital role in cellular energy and metabolism.

By middle age, NAD+ levels decrease significantly, making supplementation with NMN an effective way to restore its activity and bring back that youthful spark [8]. While research on the exact mechanisms is still ongoing, we now understand how providing exogenous NAD+ precursors—like NMN—can increase the amount of this vital molecule.

NMN is believed to help boost mitochondrial health and subsequently increase the availability of energy-rich NAD+.

It also seemingly works to extend our DNA genes by improving their stability, protecting against age-related diseases via its effects on gene expression, and reducing inflammation through metabolic pathways known as sirtuins.

As with any supplement, discuss your goals with your healthcare practitioner before taking even natural products such as NMN.

NMN Side Effects

Research on the potential effects of NMN supplementation in animal studies has been around for decades. Still, very few long-term human trials exist, so we don't yet know what long-term effects NMN supplementation has on humans.

So far, no serious side effects have been reported, but initial research suggests there may be some minor nausea, skin irritation, headaches, and upset stomachs when first taking the supplement.

Talk to your doctor if you're considering using an NMN powder supplement — they can help you decide if it's right for you based on your current lifestyle and health conditions.

How Much NMN Should You Take?

Since human trials on the long-term administration of NMN are ongoing, there's currently no optimal dose found for NMN.

Harvard professor and longevity researcher Dr. David Sinclair, speaking from his experience with NMN supplements, claimed to take as much as 1 g of NMN every day, with only an upset stomach as a side effect.

However, a broad daily range of 250-500 mg is considered appropriate regarding safety and effectiveness. But carefully read your NMN supplement product's safety and dosing instructions.

How To Find A Good Quality NMN Supplement?

Finding a good quality NMN supplement can seem daunting, especially given the lack of regulations surrounding dietary supplements. However, you can do a few things to find a high-grade supplement that contains pure NMN and is free from additives.

A good place to start is research. Do a bit of digging on the companies offering these products and read reviews to ensure it's reliable and trustworthy. Also, consider the product's age (how long its been sitting on the shelf) and whether third parties have tested it for safety and efficacy.

Keeping an eye on the price can be helpful, too. Overly cheap supplements could be low in quality, so look for ones offering reasonable pricing.

Finally, read the label carefully to ensure that it only contains NMN instead of other nicotinamide or ingredients intended to bulk up the product. This should give you peace of mind that you're getting a top-notch supplement with optimal potency and purity.

How Much Should An NMN Supplement Cost?

You may find NMN supplements as low as $9 a bottle or as high as $90.

It's important to note that these price differences don't necessarily mean better quality and absorption — in fact, the difference between the two is more about quantity than anything else. Less expensive bottles often contain smaller concentrations of NMN powder and usually fewer overall capsules.

In some cases, more expensive supplements could provide much higher absorption rates from higher-quality ingredients.

There's no universal answer to how much an NMN supplement should cost — it's best to research different brands to determine which one works best for you and fits within your budget.

The Takeaway: What is NMN & What Are NMN Benefits?

NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide, an essential component of energy metabolism and a natural precursor to NAD+, which acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps maintain healthy biological functions.

Supplementing your diet with NMN can help support metabolism, energy levels, and cognitive function, improve aging-related issues such as inflammation and skin health, support fertility, and boost immunity.

It may even enhance cellular repair after exercise and aid in weight maintenance. All these things combine to make it an intriguing supplement for people looking to grow healthier and stronger.

Although more clinical studies on humans are needed to confirm these findings, we expect to see more NMN supplements making their way into mainstream wellness stores to support healthy aging and longevity.


  1. Soma, M., & Lalam, S. K. (2022). The role of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) in anti-aging, longevity, and its potential for treating chronic conditions. Molecular Biology Reports, 1-12.

  2. Shade, C. (2020). The science behind NMN–A stable, reliable NAD+ activator and anti-aging molecule. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, 19(1), 12.

  3. de Picciotto, N. E., Gano, L. B., Johnson, L. C., Martens, C. R., Sindler, A. L., Mills, K. F., ... & Seals, D. R. (2016). Nicotinamide mononucleotide supplementation reverses vascular dysfunction and oxidative stress with aging in mice. Aging cell, 15(3), 522-530.

  4. Uddin, G. M., Youngson, N. A., Doyle, B. M., Sinclair, D. A., & Morris, M. J. (2017). Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) supplementation ameliorates the impact of maternal obesity in mice: comparison with exercise. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1-11.

  5. Okabe, K., Yaku, K., Tobe, K., & Nakagawa, T. (2019). Implications of altered NAD metabolism in metabolic disorders. Journal of biomedical science, 26(1), 1-13.

  6. Choi, J. E., & Mostoslavsky, R. (2014). Sirtuins, metabolism, and DNA repair. Current opinion in genetics & development, 26, 24-32.

  7. Campbell, J. M. (2022). Supplementation with NAD+ and Its Precursors to Prevent Cognitive Decline across Disease Contexts. Nutrients, 14(15), 3231.

  8. Zhu, X. H., Lu, M., Lee, B. Y., Ugurbil, K., & Chen, W. (2015). In vivo NAD assay reveals the intracellular NAD contents and redox state in healthy human brain and their age dependences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(9), 2876-2881.


The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements made regarding these products. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Before using any product, consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or complications.

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Katrina Lubiano

Based in Canada, Katrina is an experienced content writer and editor specializing in health and wellness. With a journalistic approach, she's crafted over 900,000 words on supplements, striving to debunk myths and foster a holistic approach to healthi...

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