Posted on 4 October 2022
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: Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a dietary supplement that can be used by the body to make an important molecule called NAD. NAD levels in our cells decline as we age, and this is thought to be an important contributor to the ageing process. For this reason, it is hoped that supplementing with NMN and other NAD-boosting compounds could slow some aspects of the ageing process, and there is some early human evidence to support this. NMN is particularly promising due to its safety and lack of side-effects.
NMN is classified as a dietary supplement, and dietary supplements are poorly regulated in comparison to pharmaceuticals. The GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) is a minimum production standard that is intended to ensure that medicines are of a consistent high quality. Compliance with GMP is obligatory for manufacturers of products destined to be sold in the European Union. For these reasons, experts such as Harvard’s David Sinclair advise buying only GMP-certified NMN from trusted manufacturers.
What did the researchers do: In September 2021 ChromaDex, a bioscience company focussing on NAD research, conducted a lab analysis of the 22 NMN products with the highest market share on Amazon. They used a technique called high-performance liquid chromatography to determine the quantities of NMN within each product, and compared this to the NMN dose advertised by the manufacturer.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: Of the products analysed, only 14% contained a quantity of NMN that was equal to or in excess of the dose claimed on the label, while 23% contained just under the advertised dose (between 88% and 99% of the label claim). The remaining 64% contained a level of NMN that was below 1% of the claimed amount, which would be insufficient to have any health benefits. Furthermore, several of these products claimed to be GMP-certified, and most claimed to contain high purity NMN. Worse yet, ten of the products with below 1% NMN were sourced from the same distributor, and all of these contained an ‘unknown substance’.
It’s important to note that ChromaDex sells NR supplements (nicotinamide riboside), which also raise NAD levels and represent an alternative to NNM supplements, so there is a potential conflict of interest here. As a single lab report, these findings don’t carry the same weight as a publication in a peer-reviewed journal might. However, the findings are consistent with previous analyses of NMN products and serve to highlight a wider point about dietary supplements in general: that quality throughout this industry varies greatly, and that buyers should exercise caution when purchasing any dietary supplement. Is the average consumer properly equipped to discern which products can be trusted? If Amazon sales are anything to go by, the answer to that question seems to be ‘no’.
Quantitative Analysis of Twenty-Two NMN Consumer Products: https://s23.q4cdn.com/937095816/files/doc_downloads/2021/Quantitative-Analysis-of-22-NMN-Consumer-Products-Oct-2021.pdf