After trying NMN or NR for 90 days, slow-aging eccentric Bryan Johnson finds that both raise his NAD+ levels to that of a 16-year-old.
More people, including the likes of podcaster, comedian, and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, are becoming aware of 45-year-old Bryan Johnson, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist whose net worth is an estimated $400 million. While Johnson currently runs two companies (Kernel and OS Fund), he’s best known for his bizarre age-reversing routine, which he calls Blueprint.
Blueprint is an ever-evolving guide to living longer, constantly updated in accordance with the wealth of biological measurements Johnson collects. For example, he recently reduced his Brazil nut intake to ¼ a nut because his selenium levels were too high. And since Blueprint is based on cutting-edge science — much of which hasn’t been tested on humans, Johnson is akin to a walking longevity experiment.
Amongst the changes Johson has made to his daily routine is switching from nicotinamide riboside (NR) to nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). Both are nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) precursors that have been shown to elevate NAD+ levels, which decline with age. Few human studies have tested the efficiency of NMN and NR against each other, but Johson’s self-experimentation provides anecdotal evidence.
Initially, Johnson’s supplement stack included 750 mg of NR. He then switched to NMN for 90 days, according to his April 2023 Monthly Notes. After switching to NMN, Johnson said,
“They basically work to get my intracellular NAD to level age 16 equivalent.”
How does he know this? First, it should be noted that Johnson measures everything from the air quality of his home to his biological age. When it comes to measuring NAD+ levels, he uses an at-home test from a company called Jinfiniti. The results from this test showed that Johnson’s intracellular NAD+ levels correspond to the NAD+ levels of the average 16-year-old. This is in contrast to Johnson’s initial NAD+ levels which corresponded to an older individual.
Yes, Bryan was not always as healthy as he is now. While building the company Braintree, which he has since sold for $800 million, he fell victim to self-destructive behaviors like eating unhealthy foods late at night. He soon realized he needed to take better care of his health and began his quest for age reversal.
To understand age reversal, chronological age — the number of years we’ve lived — must be seen as a set point from which to assess biological age. Our biological age is considered our true age and is based on physiological measurements like NAD+ levels. Thus, Johnson’s 16-year-old NAD+ levels can be likened to a biological age of 16 years old, and since Johnson is chronologically 45, it’s as if he has reversed his age by 29 years.
In addition to his NAD+ levels, Johnson and his team of doctors routinely measure hundreds of health indicators to assess his biological age. At this point, he probably has more biological data on himself than anyone else on Earth and likely has the most accurate picture of his own biological age.
If interested, a one-time intracellular NAD+ test can be purchased from Jinfiniti for $248. The test involves sending blood samples via mail to Jinfiniti. Johnson mentions on Blueprint that the code word “blueprint” goes toward saving 5% on this product. The description for the intracellular NAD+ test says,
“NAD is arguably the most important molecule to keep our cells functioning properly. Without NAD, there is no cellular energy and there is no life! NAD declines sharply around 30 years of age in most people and continues to decline as we age.”
In his monthly notes, Johnson says, “one of the most common questions we get: NMN vs NR?” According to Johnson’s measurements, both NMN and NR equally raise NAD+ levels. Still, from the Blueprint website, it is unclear which dosage of NMN he used. He does note that he used Jinfiniti’s NMN brand, which has a 500 mg dose that can be taken 1 to three times a day. However, Jifiniti’s blend contains creatine monohydrate, D-ribose, and nicotinamide in addition to NMN, which may confound the results.
Whether NMN or NR is better than the other is still inconclusive, largely because there is currently a lack of human studies comparing the effects NMN to NR. One exception is a recent study that compared NMN- and NR-containing formulations, which included ingredients designed to burn fat in addition to NMN or NR. The results of this study showed that NMN and NR had similar effects. Therefore, NMN and NR could be equally effective in countering aging.