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NAD+ and NMN | What is NAD+, NMN, and how are they relevant to aging?

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NAD+ is a very important molecule, having a myriad of effects in our cells, including enabling the proper functioning of sirtuins–enzymes that protect our DNA and regulate the epigenome–and helping PARPs to repair damaged DNA.

The older we get, the more the NAD+ levels in our cells decline. Low levels of NAD+ are associated with (R,R):

  • A decline in metabolism, leading to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, and other metabolic disorders

  • Fatigue

  • Reduced blood vessel health

  • Age-related muscle loss

  • Aging-related cognitive decline

  • Aging-related eyesight and hearing loss

  • Shorter lifespan

Increasing levels of NAD+ are associated with improved metabolic health, energy, muscle maintenance, cognition and more. So, should we all be taking NAD+?

The short answer is no. Taking NAD+ orally is not recommended because nearly all NAD+ is broken down in the stomach and gut, while NAD+ molecules are too large to be absorbed by the gut into the bloodstream.

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For this reason, some resort to increasing NAD+ levels via intravenous injections. The problem with NAD+ infusions is that one suddenly gets a very high NAD+ peak in the blood, which comes down very quickly and is not long lasting. Also, NAD+ infusions are not given continuously, but only on an irregular basis (every few weeks or months). It’s best to boost your NAD+ levels on a continuous, daily basis.

Therefore, instead of NAD+, we advise taking NMN, which is absorbed in the gut and is also stable in the bloodstream so it can continuously increase NAD+ levels.

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) supplements are often touted as among the most promising supplements to slow down aging, not only because of the earlier mentioned benefits, but also because higher NAD+ levels protect our epigenome and DNA.

Increasing NAD+ levels leads to many health benefits on various organs, such as the brain, cardiovascular system, and muscles (R):

Source: Therapeutic Potential of NAD+-Boosting Molecules: The In Vivo Evidence. Cell Metabolism. Luis Rajman, etc al.

Further, many studies show that NMN can improve various aging hallmarks, like a dysregulated epigenome, DNA damage, protein accumulation, inflammaging (aging-related inflammation) and various other aging mechanisms.

NMN is a direct precursor to NAD+, and is the most ideal way to increase NAD+ levels.

We see the benefits in animal experiments

5-month old mice that received NMN for over a year showed improved insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism, better vision, increased bone density, improved mitochondrial and metabolic functioning, better weight, and a stronger immune system (R).

Old mice that received NMN for 8 weeks improved vascular health considerably, demonstrated by, for example, decreased artery stiffness and less arterial oxidative stress (R).

Old mice that received NMN (ONMN) have more elastic blood vessels compared to old mice not receiving NMN (OC). YC: young mice not receiving NMN. YNMN: young mice receiving NMN.
Source: Nicotinamide mononucleotide supplementation reserves vascular dysfunction and oxidative stress with aging in mice. Aging Cell, 2016

NMN given to old mice could even restore their fertility again (R).

NASA and the US military are interested in NMN

NASA is looking into NMN to see if it can prevent muscle atrophy (the dwindling away of muscles) in astronauts, and if NMN can protect their DNA against cosmic radiation (R,R,R).

This would be especially important for a mission to Mars, during which astronauts will be in zero-gravity conditions and exposed to DNA-damaging cosmic radiation for years while traveling to the red planet. It’s interesting to see that NASA is mainly looking into NMN, as opposed to other options like NR.

In fact, the United States Special Forces are working on an “anti-aging pill” for their soldiers to improve their performance. This pill is based on a crystalline form of NMN, not too different from the NMN contained in NOVOS Boost (R,R).

Interestingly, this NMN-based compound is also being tested for Alzheimer’s disease (R), Friedreich’s ataxia, mitochondrial myopathy, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and kidney injury.


NAD+ is an absolutely critical molecule. Without it, we would not exist. Research has shown improved health outcomes from higher levels of this crucial molecule, but science has also shown that oral and intravenous administration of NAD+ is not ideal: it’s either not absorbed at all, or in the case of injections, levels aren’t maintained.

NMN is the best way available to increase your levels of the health optimizing molecule, NAD+.

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