Study: Compound found in vegetables could have anti-aging effects

December 19, 2016

A recent study found that the compound, NMN, boosts production of NAD+ in mice and could have anti-aging effects along with additional benefits, but more research is necessary to determine its effect on humans.

A recent U.S. study has found that older mice, when given the compound nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), saw a number of beneficial effects including increased activity, improved bone density and muscles, a stronger immunes system as well as eyesight improvement and weight loss. Led by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, the study has started clinical trials in Japan involving a small group of people and the researchers believe they could see similar results to those found with mice.

NMN is a natural compound that can be found in avocado, broccoli and cucumber as well as in cabbage and edamame. The researchers were originally studying NAD+, a protein that is involved in the body’s energy production. As the body ages, it produces less of this protein. After failing to find way to boost NAD+ production, the researchers looked for alternative means to increase its availability level. Spiking the drinking water of the mice with NMN proved to be a solution to boosting NAD levels, according to the research group.

After 12 months of administering NMN to the mice, the researchers found results that suggest the study could be applied to humans. They found that the consumption of NMN was well-tolerated throughout and also provided the mice with the suppression of age-associated weight gain as well as the enhancement of food intake, oxygen consumption, energy expenditure and physical activity. It also improved insulin sensitivity, eye function, bone density, and myeloid-lymphoid composition. The researchers performed the study with a control group, a group that was given 100mg/kg/day of NMN and a group that was given 300mg/kg/day. While NMN administration did not generate any obvious toxicity, an optimal dose of NMN for maximum efficacy appears to differ based on physiological functions. As an example, the effects of body weight gain, insulin sensitivity, bone density, and tear production were dose-dependent. But the dosage of 100 mg/kg/day improved oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, and physical activity better than 300 mg/kg/day. The results were also only seen in older mice since younger mice still naturally produce typical amounts of NMN and NAD+

The researchers note that this study is obviously in the early stages and there is still much work to be done, especially in determining NMN’s short-and long-term effect on humans as well as proper dosage. While the anti-aging effects of NMN could be beneficial for dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, the researchers believe the study findings show NMN could have many additional benefits beyond the aesthetic.