We already know how powerful NAD is in the body. It is “the most abundant molecule in the body besides water… NAD+ is used by many proteins throughout the body, … which repair damaged DNA. It is also important for mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cell and generate the chemical energy that our bodies use.” Research suggests it can play a positive role in areas such as aging, heart function and Neurodegeneration.
NMN has been shown to reliably and safely boost NAD levels in the body and so a study was performed to see if boosting NAD levels would increase physical performance in older men.
Igarashi et al 2021 wanted to see if increased NAD+ levels would improve the physiological state and performance of the body.
To measure physical improvement they used activities such as the 30- second chair stand test, walking speed, and grip strength – before and after boosting NAD+ levels via NMN supplementation.
This longer term study also wanted to confirm the safety of longer term use of NMN as an NAD+ boosting supplement.
How did they choose to boost NAD+ levels?
They administered 250 mg NMN per day to men aged 65 years and over for 6 or 12 weeks. 21 participants for 6 weeks and 10 of the 21 continued for 12 weeks.
They used a placebo-controlled, randomized, double blind, parallel-group trial.
Which means that any potential psychological effects on the participants were minimised.
Did NMN Improve Muscular Function?
As expected the long term supplementation of NMN was well tolerated in the participants. This was no surprise as many studies have found NMN to be safe even at higher does and over long periods of time. For Example this NMN trial on Insulin Sensitivity.
The NMN supplementation also had a very powerful effect on the levels of NAD+ in the consumers’ body. Using blood analyses they were able to determine a large increase in NAD+ levels.
Here you can see that NMN supplementation did significantly boost NAD+ levels. In this case, the 250mg daily intake roughly doubled the NAD+ levels in participants!
So did this increase of NAD+ improve muscle function…?
Yes it did!
NMN significantly improved muscle strength and performance.
Participants showed significant increases in performance in activities such as grip strength and gait speed after NMN supplementation. Moreover, the participants who took NMN for 12 weeks largely outperformed their 6 week peers.
In short taking NMN boosted NAD+ levels which boosted athletic ability.
The study therefore concluded that “chronic oral NMN supplementation can be an efficient NAD+ booster for preventing aging-related muscle dysfunctions in humans.”
The Implications of NMN Supplementation Boosting Muscular Performance
We know aging is correlated with a large array of health problems and decreases in NAD+ levels.
“Aging is a risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease… Aging- and age-related diseases have been shown to be closely related to decreased NAD+ levels and sirtuin activity” (Igarashi et al 2021)
Most research so far has concentrated on animal studies and found that “administration of … nicotinamide mononucleotide … increases NAD+ concentrations and activates sirtuins to improve health and extend the lifespan” (Igarashi et al 2021). Igarashi et al 2021 wanted to see if NMN supplementation would be safe and furthermore would it improve muscle performance in humans. The answer to both questions was a resounding yes.
Some argue this was no surprise as previous research has had similar findings regarding NMN supplementation having beneficial effects on the physical health and performance of the body.
For example, Yoshiro et al 2020 performed a study by supplementing participants with 250mg NMN daily for 10 weeks. The participants were postmenopausal women with prediabetes who were overweight or obese. They measured insulin sensitivity before and after NMN supplementation. They found NMN to be safe when taken long term and they noted that NMN did increase NAD levels.
The health benefits found were an “increase in muscle insulin signaling … and muscle insulin sensitivity …”. ( Yoshiro et al 2020)
To put their results into perspective the increase they found was “similar to the improvement observed after ~10% weight loss...”( Yoshiro et al 2020)
They also found possible evidence that “the women experienced increased autophagy and collagen production” ( Yoshiro et al 2020), which would provide anti aging benefits to the body and skin.
In short, their study also showed amazing potential for NMN to boost the health of the body and improve the markers of ageing.
As more and more studies are completed showing NMN to be safe and effective at boosting physical markers of health what will the future hold for it?
If we can take NMN to boost our athletic and physical abilities, will it eventually become part of a natural health regime to maintain fitness into old age?
Or could we see NMN used to gain an edge in competitive sports?
NMN supplementation has not yet reached a stage where we can skip the gym and look like this.
But as research progresses and more funding enters the industry, we are starting to see what’s possible.
What we do know is that NMN is safe long term and that it also increases the levels of the very important coenzyme NAD+ in the body. Using NMN to maintain or boost muscular performance could benefit many people. The importance of healthy muscle is high for all sections of the population; “muscles help you move, lift things, pump blood through your body, and even help you breathe.”.
So this groundbreaking study is very exciting to those with an interest in long term physical health and athletic performance. We will be watching this space closely for further developments on how NMN supplementation could improve our health and potentially become a performance enhancer.
- Chronic nicotinamide mononucleotide supplementation elevates blood nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide levels and alters muscle motility in healthy old men
3. Nicotinamide mononucleotide increases muscle insulin sensitivity in prediabetic women https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6547/1224