NMN: If that heading isn’t provocative enough, here’s another question: is aging actually as natural of a process as we think? In epic literature, long life has always been a topic of interest. The tropes of fountains of youth or elixirs of life are often found in popular media and stories.
But is this fascination simply fiction, or is there scientifically grounded fact somewhere in these stories? Well, you’d be surprised with what aging science has to say. With the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting people aged 60 and above, researchers and medical practitioners have brought their attention to the question of the aging process. Specifically, should the aging process be considered a disease? A 2015 journal article says it’s about time we did.
Age-Associated Physiological Decline isn’t As Natural As We Think
Recent developments in aging science have found that an essential molecule in our bodies declines in number as our bodies age. We call it nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+. NAD+ is a coenzyme, which means it’s kind of like an assistant to different processes that our bodies need in order to live.
NAD+ is used a lot by proteins like sirtuin and PARPs, which promote DNA repair and energy metabolism. In addition to this, it is also used a lot in metabolic processes and insulin sensitivity. And as we age, NAD+ drastically reduces in number, causing things like cognitive decline and DNA damage, which is a common factor in nearly all age-related diseases. Furthermore, NAD+’s absence compromises vital biological processes that sustain life.
That’s why obesity is much more common as we grow older. We may get metabolic disorders because our bodies can no longer keep up. Obesity leads to cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attacks, as well as diabetes. The skeletal muscle is also affected by NAD levels. NAD+ is so important for the immune system. But now that we know the processes that are affected by aging, we can finally do something about it. And that’s what NMN research has done.
It is completely possible to regain NAD+ levels in our bodies
NAD+? But it says NMN on the title? Now, many studies on aged mice have proven effective as essentially a fountain of youth. So is it effective on humans? Well, from the clinical trials, yes, it is.
Many healthy activities we already do naturally increase NAD+ levels in the human body. Exercising regularly and keeping your heart healthy have shown effective regulation of NAD+ in the body. Not to mention NAD+ also naturally occurs in healthy foods like broccoli, avocado, and tomatoes. But is this actually enough, or is there something more we can do? Aging science research has done exactly that, and this is where NMN comes in.
What is NMN? What are the health benefits?
As you cannot take NAD+ raw, researchers have found ways to activate NAD+ in your body. NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide is a NAD precursor and can be taken through oral administration. It’s biosynthetic and naturally occurs in your body. With it, our bodies will be able to process higher levels of NAD+. Essentially, NMN is a dietary supplement. Immediate benefits seen in trials in older mice are improvements in blood flow and blood pressure.
Now, this is potentially game-changing because NMN supplementation is possibly a long-term solution to fighting diseases and viruses that have yet to have effective cures. Studies have shown that cells that fight the coronavirus in our bodies also use NAD+.
Because sicknesses like COVID-19 affect older individuals, why not combat the aging part? By combating age-related dysfunctions in our bodies, we can stop further infections and even mutations from happening.
Are NMN supplements safe to use for humans?
We’ve talked about mice, but of course, the most important question and the only question that matters is: is it safe? How much NMN can we take? There have already been human clinical trials of NMN in Japan. Even the scientists who research on NMN and NAD+ take it themselves. Currently, although more studies with varying variables are being done, there are no safety concerns with taking the supplements.
At the end of the day, taking nicotinamide mononucleotide is a decision that allows your body to potentially achieve healthy longevity. NMN may just be one of the fountains of youth we’ll see in the future.
The age-related decline is a complex system of things. By changing the way we look at treating diseases, we’ve figured out new ways we can improve life expectancy and even find ways to fight age-related diseases. And in the time of COVID, finding ways to protect our immune system as we age is great.
But please note that this is not a replacement for professional medical advice. If you’re interested in the research, the latest news is available here. Keep yourself updated with the new fascinating discoveries in aging science. Being informed about what you’ll be taking is also a healthy decision for your body.