Posted on 20 February 2023
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: With increasing age, human arteries become less elastic, which is associated with increased blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular diseases. NMN is a dietary supplement and precursor to another molecule called NAD. NAD is an essential molecule that cells need in order to convert nutrients into energy. NAD levels decline with age, and this is thought to be linked to the progression of many age related diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.
Animal studies suggest that supplementation with NAD can improve cardiovascular health, including reducing artery stiffness, but clinical trials of NAD in humans are still in their infancy.
What did the researchers do: In this study, researchers randomised 36 healthy middle aged participants to receive either 250mg of NMN daily or a placebo treatment. Participants took their assigned treatment for 12 weeks. The trial was double-blind, meaning neither the participants nor the people handing out the treatment knew who was receiving the placebo. Researchers then measured participants’ arterial stiffness, alongside certain other health metrics.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: By the end of the trial, participants taking NMN had reduced arterial stiffness on average compared with the placebo group, though this difference was not statistically significant. When participants with above average BMI or blood sugar were considered alone, this difference did become statistically significant, suggesting that NMN might have a greater effect on these individuals.
There was no significant difference in production of SIRT1, an enzyme that depends on NAD for its activity and is thought to suppress various aspects of the ageing process. There was also no significant change in the levels of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are formed when sugar reacts with proteins and lipids, and are thought to contribute to some aspects of ageing.
Small clinical trials such as this are not designed to demonstrate conclusive benefits, but more to test safety in a small number of participants before moving on to larger trials. No serious side effects were reported, which is not surprising as NMN has previously been shown to have minimal side effects at this dose. Speaking of dosage, it’s worth noting that 250mg per day is on the low end of what can be safely consumed by humans. There’s therefore good reason to be hopeful that future trials with larger doses and longer durations will reveal greater benefits.
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide metabolism and arterial stiffness after long-term nicotinamide mononucleotide supplementation: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-29787-3
Title image by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash