Dietary supplement company looks to empower the development of China's health and nutrition industry.(allenkayaa | iStock)
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a trending new ingredient in the field of dietary supplements. If you do a web search for NMN, you’ll find a seemingly endless list of products from a host of different companies that range in quantity, price, and, probably, quality. NMN supplements are making their way to the global stage and are being sold and distributed all over the world.
Now, GNC, a vendor of health and nutrition-related products, has announced that they have joined the Chinese market for selling NMN supplements. GNC brought its Preventive Nutrition product line to the Chinese market at this year’s China International Import Expo (CIIE). The company’s hope is to help Chinese consumers to address their health issue concerns and meet their increasing anti-aging, immune, and other core wellness needs. Of the four products displayed at the CIIE, GNC’s NMN supplement made its world debut.
NMN has recently been in the anti-aging limelight. That’s because it is a precursor to the vital molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) that declines as we age. NAD+ plays a role in critical processes in cells, including energy production, DNA repair, and sirtuin activity (enzymes involved in aging), among other things. Without NAD+ acting to make certain enzymes functional, these processes simply cannot occur and life would not exist. When NAD+ levels get low as we get older, we become more likely to succumb to age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.
So, to stave off these age-related changes, can we boost NAD+ levels by taking NAD+ supplements? Not exactly. Supplemental NAD+ doesn’t have much of an effect when introduced to the body. But, NAD+ has several precursors or intermediates—molecules that transform into NAD+ through enzymatic reactions—that fare better.
One extensively studied intermediate is NMN, and the research is encouraging. Several studies indicate that supplementing with NMN can increase NAD+ levels and prolong the lifespan of yeast, worms, and mice. On top of this, other animal studies show that boosting NAD+ with NMN can also improve muscle generation, cardiovascular function, and glucose metabolism.
The first study of NMN in humans was published this year and showed that a single dose of up to 500 mg was tolerable. But further research is needed to fully understand the effects of elevated NAD+ levels via supplementation in humans. There is currently a clinical trial going on to test the effectiveness of NMN in humans as well as another clinical trial examining NMN’s impact on cardiovascular and metabolic functions.