What exactly is NMN?
NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide, a molecule that occurs naturally in all life forms. NMN has taken the world of longevity and anti-ageing by storm for very good reasons. It is a precursor (i.e. essential ingredient) to NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).
And why is it important that you need NMN to make NAD+? Because NAD+ is a coenzyme that’s used in the production of something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is essentially what provides energy to most of the processes in our body. It is the fuel for all cellular processes and basically for every human function.
So many abbreviations and unpronounceable words! Let’s look at it this way. In order for our bodies to receive energy to do what it has to do, we need ATP. To make ATP, we need NAD+. And to make NAD+, we need NMN. Voila!
OK, one last technical term. Mitochondria. These are the membranes where ATP is generated. However, as we age, our mitochondria lose NAD, which is a major contributor to ageing.
So, the question is, why don’t we just supplement with NAD? Well, you can, but it’s quite a mission to say the least. NAD supplementation is most commonly done intravenously, but it typically takes 3–4 hours on the drip on a monthly basis, and it is expensive. If you don’t do it in this way, it’s poorly absorbed and rapidly broken down.
Enter, NMN! We want to restore our NAD levels as we age, and by supplementing with NMN, we actually boost our intercellular NAD levels. In addition, even if you do supplement with NAD via IV like I do (or even injection or suppository), you would still benefit from using NMN on the days that you don’t take NAD, which is tough to do more than once a month.
The biggest trick with NMN (and NAD): it’s not something that you can take on and off, or expect to see results immediately. The trick is to use NMN consistently for at least two months to get true benefit on a real cellular level.
Back to mitochondria. Mitochondrial dysfunction (i.e. energy production backfires) occurs as we age due to a loss of NAD levels. By boosting our intracellular levels of NAD via NMN, we’re enhancing mitochondrial function and therefore the energy processes of your body. Anti-ageing in a supplement!
There are especially two areas where the mitochondrial function is of tremendous import: for cognitive health and for fertility. NMN research is very exciting in the battle against Alzheimer’s and has been shown to assist with cognitive fatigue and memory recall, which makes sense given that our brains use more energy than any other part of the body. As for fertility, the ovaries are the most mitochondrial-dense part of a woman’s body, so the benefit here also makes sense!
NMN in South Africa
There aren’t many NMN products available in South Africa. This is partly due to the fact that it’s a relatively expensive supplement, but also because the product isn’t always very well understood. That being said, it’s significantly more affordable than NAD+ treatments, and the benefits and efficacy of NMN are well understood and well researched.
Here’s the scary part. In an international study, six different NMN products were tested and there was no NMN in any of them! It turned out that it wasn’t just fake ingredients from questionable origin, but NMN is actually supposed to break down in 30 to 45 days, that’s just how it works! So when investing in an NMN supplement, you need the technology incorporated that prevents this process from happening.
The recommended dosage for NMN is 500mg per day for individuals younger than 50 and in the region of 60kg. For individuals older than 50 or in the 90kg + range, a dosage of 750mg to 1000mg is recommended.
Three NMN products in South Africa are reviewed below based on what we know about NMN now.
The NMN in this product is sourced from the innovative ingredient company, NNB Nutrition, which is led by a team of scientists from 10 different countries. The trademarked NMN in this product is called BioNMN™ Beta-Nicotinamide Mononucleotide and is a trademark of NNB Nutrition.
This is incredibly important because it ensures that when you actually receive your bottle of NMN, it still contains NMN.
The NeuroActive guarantees are as follows: real 99% purity from the highest quality source, manufactured to the highest standards (cGMP is the Current Good Manufacturing Process from the FDA). GMPs provide for systems that assure proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities.
As much as NMN is an incredible product, using a product of inferior quality wastes money (it will have no impact on your body) and could even be dangerous. The quality guarantees on Bio-NMN™ are therefore invaluable and this is an incredibly advanced and effective product.
Reviews on the product are all positive, with statements of improved energy, cognitive function and significantly reduced fatigue. Reviewers also state that compared to other NMN products used over time, Bio-NMN™ is the hands-down winner.
I have personally used this product to supplement my NAD+ regime, and I am hooked for life. Granted, it is expensive, but this is true for all NMN products. I view it as a real investment in my longevity, and therefore consider it totally worth it!
The recommended dosage is 2 tablets per day, i.e. a total of 500mg. The bottle (at R999) will therefore last 30 days.
- Voted the best NMN on the market in SA with industry leading bioavailability and third party testing
- BioNMN is a patented NMN that emphasises bioavailability and quality.
- NNB Nutrition backs BioNMN via third-party high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
Charava’s NMN (NAD Activator)
Two points stand out for me on this NMN supplement. Unlike other NMN supplements, the daily dose is 1,000mg. While on the face of it this seems to be a good thing, it does mean that the product is more expensive and that it is an unnecessarily high dose for younger/lighter people.
The price is higher as expected (R1,799 per bottle for a month), but the type of NMN is not disclosed on the product. It is therefore tough to tell if the purity, origin and quality control standards so important for NMN are adhered to.
Reviews on the product are short yet sweet, but given that I cannot identify the source from the website or the product, I would need to do more research on this product in order to either use or recommend it properly.
- Highest dosed NMN on the SA market
- Undisclosed source and form of NMN, which raised concerns
- No third-party testing
This is definitely the most affordable NMN on the market, at R399 for 60 capsules (one month’s supply). The dosage is again 500mg per day, which as mentioned, is a more appropriate level in my view.
The price point is a concern, as a number of reviewers of the product mention. In fact, the reviews are 50/50 split between it’s a good product and some effect was felt, versus a number of people who state they feel no effect.
Genologix discloses that the product is produced under the guidance of their registered manufacturing pharmacist, in a GMP-compliant facility in KwaZulu-Natal and that they routinely purity-tests over 90% of our supplements by volume, at a third-party, an independent laboratory in Johannesburg.
This provides some assurance as to the quality of the product and that the price point it could very well be a good option to test run NMN. However, online comments are less than inspiring so it would be interesting to compare this to another NMN product in an n=1 experiment which would have to span at least 6 months.
- Most affordable NMN on the SA market
- No third party testing or mention of origin
- Mixed reviews from customers online
The Final Word
In a mouse study, NMN was given to an old mouse (20 months old, equivalent to a 70-year-old person). Without NMN, these mice can do an impressive 250 metres on a treadmill. A young, powerful mouse can do one kilometre, so four times that of an elderly mouse.
The study then gave NMN to the older mouse for 14 days (long in mice age) and that old mouse could run 2–3 kilometres! That is 200–300% more than a strong mouse and many times more than they could do before NMN supplementation.
This goes to show how powerful NMN and NAD+ are. But before a large amount of money is spent on this product, it really has never been more important to source the best product.
For the price point, dosage, quality assurance, purity and manufacturing standards, NeuroActive’s Bio-NMN stands head and shoulders above the competitors for me.