NMN and other supplements in a dish

If You Take NMN for Anti-Aging, You're Gonna Want to Read This

The FDA says the NAD+ precursor can no longer be sold as a dietary supplement

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years as researchers and aging and longevity experts like Harvard University professor David Sinclair have dug into its potential to help you live longer. 

So the FDA’s recent decision ban NMN as a supplement comes as something of a buzzkill.

The FDA recently published letters to NMN suppliers saying that NMN can no longer be sold in the U.S. as a supplement. 

The reason: NMN, a NAD+ precursor, “has been authorized for investigation as a new drug.”

NMN suppliers and people who take NMN as a supplement are understandably upset, though Huberman Lab neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. shared on Twitter that so far, there hasn’t been a call to remove NMN supplements from sale.

 

While it’s anyone’s guess what this means for companies that sell NMN supplements—and people who swallow them—it makes sense that NMN is being looked into as a drug, given the potential benefits researchers have sussed out so far. 

What is NMN?

NMN is a naturally-occurring molecule and a precursor to NAD+, a coenzyme that’s central to various cell functions including metabolism. As you age, your NMN levels decline, which means your body makes less NAD+, which may contribute to age-related health conditions like cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

A growing body of evidence suggests NMN may be a key component in increasing NAD+ levels in humans.

NAD+, produced from NMN,  is critical to the functioning of mitochondria—the powerhouses of your cells that convert nutrients from food into a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a form of energy that the cell can use—and helps with DNA repair (1).

As such, NMN supplements are being studied to accumulate evidence that they may slow the aging process, delay the progression of age-related diseases, and help you look and feel younger for longer (2).

NMN Benefits

In addition to potential increases in NAD+ production, research has hinted at some possible direct benefits of NMN supplementation. So far, they’ve uncovered that NMN may:

Increase longevity

Some studies have found that NMN supplements increased longevity in mice, so, after more research, there may be the potential for the effects of it on humans as well (3).

Subdue age-related weight gain

In some mice studies, regular intake of NMN supplements resulted in a decreased rate of weight gain, something that many people experience as they age (2). The researchers suggest that this may be due to factors like enhanced metabolism and increased physical activity. 

Enhance insulin levels

A study found that when participants—overweight or obese postmenopausal women with prediabetes—took 250 mg of NMN per day for 10 weeks, they displayed greater insulin sensitivity (4). 

Improve brain health

It’s thought that NMN supplements can better brain health by improving blood flow to the brain in addition to neurovascular coupling (5). This results in enhanced cognition. 

Improve heart health

A study showed increased cardiac function in a group of mice that consumed NMN over a period of time (6). This is promising for the positive effects it could have on humans.

What Does This All Mean for People Who Take NMN?

No one knows for sure yet, but Huberman’s advice is solid: learn more about NMN and NR (another NAD+ precursor).
 
In the meantime, some Redditors are stocking their supplies. 
 
“Current advice to sellers on Amazon is to carry on as usual. I’m stocking up before the winds change,” one Redditor posted in the r/Nootropics subreddit

Though even that isn’t without risk. In February, 2022, a third-party investigation uncovered tens of thousands of fake supplements sold on Amazon, including multiple NMN supplements.

Another option: Skip the precursor and take NAD+ directly; there’s been no change on its availability. 

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