NPR's Morning Edition: Can the NMN Molecule Make You Young Again?

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Can the NMN Molecule Make You Young Again?

Harvard geneticist Dr. David Sinclair and his research on the NMN molecule is getting a lot of attention lately, particularly with the release of his new book, Lifespan: Why We Age -- And Why We Don’t Have To.

On NPR's show, Morning Edition, on September 25, 2019, Elise Hu spoke about about her interview with Dr. Sinclair, showcasing his anti-aging NMN research. In that interview, another famous anti-aging pundit, Dr. Peter Attia was also featured. He gave Ms. Hu his anti-aging intervention for her to try after she found out that her biological age exceeds her chronological age by more than ten years!

The six most important takeaways from NPR's Morning Edition audio clip are:

  1. In laboratories, scientists can reverse the age of mice with an NMN molecule.

  2. The NMN molecule boosts the mice NAD levels and sirtuins (explained below), enabling the old mice to once again run long distance (improved endurance), repair blood vessels and make their muscles younger. 

  3. There are clinical trials with humans to see if the mice results can be duplicated in humans.

  4. Though not proven in humans, the NMN molecule has been used by people in supplement form for several years without any ill effects.

  5. The tried and true ways to reverse the clock are to get more restorative sleep, meditate, do daily aerobic exercise, eat a healthy diet and take the NMN molecule.

  6. Morning Edition’s host Elise Hu had her blood analyzed by InsideTracker before and after undergoing her six-week anti-aging regimen prescribed by Dr. Peter Attia, which included the NMN molecule, which showed she reduced her biological age by five years.

What Do NMN, NAD and Sirtuins Have To Do WIth Aging?

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) is an organic molecule that’s derived from niacin (B3). Along with a similar from of niacin called NR (nicotinamide riboside), NMN is converted by your body into NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a coenzyme that plays a vital role in the body’s metabolism by turning nutrients into energy.

As we age, our level of NAD declines quickly and thereby affects our energy and vitality. The NAD boosters like NMN and NR are being studied so carefully because they can increase the level of NAD in our body, which then helps activate sirtuins, as we’ll see in a moment.

NMN consumption in mice effectively enhances NAD+ biosynthesis in various tissues, including pancreas, liver, adipose tissue, heart, skeletal muscle, kidney, testes, eyes, and blood vessels. NR is protective from weight gain, improves insulin sensitivity, and  increases mitochondrial content in skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue. [1] (Mitochondria are the “energy factory” organelles inside of cells.)

When you read about NAD, you might notice that sometimes it’s referred to as “NAD” and other times, “NAD+”.  NAD+ is the oxidized form of NAD. The basic problem with NAD+ is that there’s less and less of it as we age: by age 50 a typical person may have only half the NAD+ they did in youth, and at age 80, NAD+ levels drop to only 1 to 10% of the level expressed in youth. [2]

One major reason that NAD+ is essential for life is that sirtuins need it in order to properly function. In 2016, two of the giants in NAD/sirtuin research, Shin-ichrio Imai, PhD, and Leonard Guarente, PhD, published research delineating the connection between NAD+ and sirtuins.

Here’s what they concluded:

  • A tight functional connection between NAD+ and sirtuins has a critical role in regulating physiological robustness, and contributing to aging/longevity control in diverse organisms, from yeast to humans.
  • But NAD+ availability declines as we age, reducing sirtuin activities and affecting the communication between the nucleus and mitochondria at a cellular level,  likely contributing to the pathogenesis of diseases of aging.
  • For this reason, supplementing key NAD+ intermediates (also called booster, or precursors), such as NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) and NR (nicotinamide riboside), is expected to mitigate age-associated functional decline and ameliorate a variety of age-associated pathophysiologies (the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease).

Nicknamed “the longevity genes”, the reason that sirtuins are so important to aging (or not aging) is that this family of seven proteins (in mammals) play a multi-faceted role in aging by controlling cellular health and regulating diverse biological mechanisms such as longevity, genomic stability, and inflammation. These are not the dietary proteins we’re most familiar with -- those found in beans and meats, for instance — but in this case we’re talking about molecules called proteins, which work throughout the body’s cells in a number of different functions that can improve how we age. [3]

How Elise Hu Reduced Her Inner Age By 5 Years

In the below ten minute video, Elise Hu gives us a better sense of what science shows about the NMN molecule. Ms. Hu also talks about her anti-aging regimen and the success it had on reducing her biological age. This video also touches on:

  • A fuller explanation of what Dr. Sinclair has discovered in his lab;
  • How Morning Edition host Elise Hu tested her biological age; and
  • What she did after being flabbergasted that her biological age exceeded her chronological age by ten years.

Currently, no one can truly see wether NMN is able to turn back the clock for humans as it has for mice, but human trials are underway and thousands of people are using the supplement because it’s considered safe. This includes me, the staff at ProHealth Longevity, Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. David Sinclair and his family. (See Why Does A Famous Harvard Scientist Use NMN?.) 

Remember, If you’re motivated to work on slowing down, or even reversing, the aging process, you must incorporate the proven anti-aging interventions into your lifestyle, such as exercise, sleep, meditation and regularly being in caloric deficit. (Here’s a more complete list.) To that you can certainly add NAD boosters like NMN and NR, but, although safe, they have yet to have proven anti-aging effects in humans.

If you want to stay abreast of scientific breakthroughs on human aging interventions, including what the ongoing human trials will show when published, subscribe to our our free monthly newsletter, Longevity Today.

 

Show references
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842119/
  2. https://www.prohealthlongevity.com/blogs/control-how-you-age/why-need-boost-nad-as-you-age
  3. https://www.elysiumhealth.com/en-us/knowledge/science-101/why-sirtuins-are-important-for-aging
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