Investigations into the aging process indicate that a good part of the secret to feeling younger starts at the cellular level, with the mitochondria – the organelles in each cell that produce energy.
And one natural substance is drawing a lot of attention, not only for helping to boost cellular energy production, but also for a wealth of other benefits – from possibly improving eye health, to increasing muscle function and even making skin look more youthful.
You’ll want to know all about this compound known as NMN, short for nicotinamide mononucleotide, because research shows it may help you live a longer, healthier life.
NMN appears to solve one of the causes of aging—the loss of cellular energy. In fact, well-known Harvard aging researcher David A. Sinclair says he takes an NMN supplement everyday. And his father – who is in his eighties – also takes it.
The effect on Dad? Dr. Sinclair says that since starting NMN, his father has the energy of a teenager!1
While that’s quite a claim, some researchers say they’re not surprised.
Better Cell Functioning Means Healthier Aging
According to researchers, one reason our energy slips and our bodies grow weaker as we get older is that our cells slowly lose their supply of a coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) – a compound first discovered back in 1906.
NAD is a crucial compound used by mitochondria in their efforts to fuel cellular activities. When your NAD levels drop with age it can slow your walking and your thinking, your digestion– in fact, just about everything you do. If your mitochondria start to malfunction, then your organs can’t do their jobs properly.2
But researchers have now shown that while NAD drops with age, the body can make more of this vital substance when it’s supplied with adequate amounts of NMN. And lab tests show that this increased production of NAD from NMN may mean that your mitochondria, and your body, start acting more like younger versions of themselves.3
Improvements in Vision
In a recent study, researchers at Harvard found that NMN may be able to help treat the major causes of blindness such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachment.
According to the Harvard scientists, all three of these vision-compromising conditions share common features. In each, a layer of the eye called the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which protects the retina in the back of the eye from oxidative damage and supplies nutrients to neurons in the eye, may stop functioning properly. Also the eyes’ photoreceptors, which are cells that convert light into signals sent to the brain, may separate from the RPE.
The end result can be permanent blindness. But with NMN, say researchers, harmful inflammation in the eye is reduced and the body’s antioxidant defenses spring into action, fending off damage to the cells adjacent to and on the retina.4
Plus, the researchers report that in their lab tests NMN provides “overall protection to the retina,” preventing the loss of photoreceptor cells that would otherwise die off. That’s why the Harvard scientists urge further research to see how this type of therapy might prevent age-related vision loss.
But it’s only the beginning…
Better Muscles, Too
Another anti-aging benefit of NMN that researchers have been studying is how this nutrient may improve the delivery of glucose to muscles.
In one study, researchers analyzed NMN’s effects on 25 postmenopausal women who were overweight and prediabetic. In other words, they had high blood sugar levels, but the levels weren’t high enough to yet qualify as full-blown diabetes.
In the ten-week test at the Washington University School of Medicine, the scientists found that NMN improved the women’s muscle function by increasing muscle tissue’s uptake of blood glucose to fuel their activity. This uptake of glucose is usually impaired when you’re prediabetic, diabetic or obese.5
Other studies provide evidence that NMN can:
- Improve healthspan and lifespan: Lab tests at the University of Missouri-Columbia investigated how NMN might be used for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and stroke. The researchers found that it has the potential for boosting longevity and adding more years of healthy living (healthspan) towards the end of life.6
- Keep skin looking younger and less susceptible to skin cancer: A study in Asia shows that NMN combined with probiotics lessens sun damage to skin and can protect skin from oxidative harm fostered by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.7
Getting more NMN
As Harvard researcher David Sinclair reports in his book Lifespan, the research on NMN is greatly promising and “so far, there has been no toxicity, not even a hint of it.” And although he won’t commit himself to recommending NMN supplements, he admits that he takes 1,000 mg of NMN daily.
As we mentioned, Dr. Sinclair says his father started taking it and now “he runs around like a teenager.”
And his Dad says this about his increased zest for life, “I can’t be sure that the NMN is responsible but there’s really no other explanation.”8
Along with taking supplements, you can also get more NMN in your diet by eating vegetables that contain it such as broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, edamame, tomato and avocado.
- Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To Hardcover – by David A. Sinclair PhD (Author), Matthew D. LaPlante (Author), pg 142
- Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To Hardcover – by David A. Sinclair PhD (Author), Matthew D. LaPlante (Author), pg 143