Should I Be Taking NMN?

Brian Tunney
Brian Tunney
5 minute read
September 28, 2022
Image of supplements arranged on a table, spelling "NMN."
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In mid-July, Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School and author of the book “Lifespan: Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To,” spoke with CNN about his groundbreaking research surrounding reverse aging in mice.

"We know that when we reverse the age of an organ like the brain in a mouse, the diseases of aging then go away. Memory comes back; there is no more dementia,” said Sinclair. “I believe that in the future, delaying and reversing aging will be the best way to treat the diseases that plague most of us."

Sinclair went on to share his tips for longevity. He avoids sugars and starches, he exercises regularly through low impact movements such as walking, and he takes a supplement called NMN. 

What is NMN?

NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide, a molecule naturally occurring in all life forms. 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. 

Falling NAD+ levels with age have been linked to age-related conditions in animals like mice and rats and even humans, but increasing NAD+ with NMN may improve these ailments. For example, one study has shown that NMN supplementation increases muscle function in aged men while another indicates that it increases insulin sensitivity in older women.

Earlier this year, Sinclair spoke about the latter study in a Longevity Molecule Ask Me Anything on YouTube. “This was one of the first real proofs that NMN does something in humans the way it works in mice. This was a 10-week study. It’s well done, it’s randomized, placebo controlled. It was 250 milligrams, which is a relatively low dose. Nevertheless, it improved insulin stimulated glucose disposal. That’s basically insulin sensitivity. And that’s a hallmark of longevity. Keeping glucose out of the bloodstream, keeping it low levels, is a hallmark of wellness and ultimately longer life,” said Sinclair.

“But we have a lot more to figure out,” he added. Regardless, testing continues, and last summer, new research showed that NMN supplementation increases the endurance performance of middle-aged athletes by improving aerobic capacity. 

And that was enough for 5-time Ironman competitor Eric Hinman to add NMN to his morning routine. “I have my morning cocktail of nutrients. I do BeetElite, Athletic Greens, NMN, colostrum from Armra and creatine. I just put that in water. And then I do coffee with collagen and a little honey. That’s all I have before my morning workout,” said Hinman, 42, who is actively pursuing longevity in his athletic career. 

Meanwhile, Sinclair is optimistic that with more testing, NMN could become a potential defense against aging. “I’m optimistic that we can duplicate this very fundamental process that exists in everything from a bat to a sheep to a whale to a human. We've done it with a mouse. There's no reason I can think of why it shouldn't work in a person, too."

*NMN is a nutritional supplement and not an FDA approved drug. It is sold as a nutritional supplement in the USA without FDA's approval under the statute of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). Always consult a physician before starting a new nutritional supplement. 

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