23 January 2022 | Sunday | News | By "Akhil Pathak , an independent writer who keeps an eye on issues related to health, education, society, global politics and defence. He also follows the geo-strategic matters that are directly or indirectly related to the security framework of India."
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However, the effect of time on the human biology is such that no matter how cautious we remain on the fronts of physical activity as well as diet, age always catches up and reminds us of the mortal nature of our bodies.
As our bodies advance in terms of age, we experience a decline in our:
So, is there a way by which we can cheat or defy the age factor that acts as a spoiler for us when it comes to enjoying life at it fullest?
Well, it seems that modern medical science is right on track to address the issue of aging!
NAD+: The Anti-Aging Co-Enzyme
In every cell of our bodies, there is an incredible co-enzyme present, which is called NAD+ or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide. NAD+ plays a crucial role in the metabolic activities that occur within the cells. Basically, NAD+ processes the nutrients that we get from the food we eat, into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) molecules which provide us the energy to carry our bodily functions and assist in sustaining life.
NAD+ molecules are responsible for carrying out certain extremely important functions in our bodies, such as DNA Repair and Gene Expression. The efficiency by which such functions are carried out determines our overall health & wellness.
However, there is only a finite production of NAD+ that takes place in our bodies, and its levels start to deplete as we age. This results in the reduction in a body’s ability to carry out its functions in a youthful manner. Therefore, it is vital that there should always be an optimal level of NAD+ in one’s body, especially when the person enters the advanced phase of life, so that he/she could lead a healthy and a long life with minimal age related friction!
NMN: The Precursor
Nature has made NAD+ biologically unstable when it comes to consuming it orally. However, NMN, which stands for Nicotinamide Mononucleotide is a precursor to NAD+. It simply means that NMN, when consumed orally, reaches our cells and through the process of biosynthesis, gets converted into NAD+.
This is where NMN supplements come into the picture. By taking NMN supplements, one can easily restore the NAD+ levels of the body and to an extent, can reverse or slow down the process of aging!
However, one must keep in mind that NMN is not something that can only be manufactured in a lab as NMN is also found in a number of fruits and vegetables, such as:
NMN also occurs in Shrimps as well as some other meat products. Furthermore, since NMN is basically a derivative of Niacin which in turn is a form of Vitamin B3, many Niacin rich foods such as Peanuts, Legumes, Brown Rice, Bananas etc. contain NMN as well.
The Skepticism Thus Far
NMN is commercially available now and there is a clear & growing enthusiasm about this ‘wonder supplement’, especially among the people who are in an advanced-age bracket. Still, there is a need to gather a lot more data by conducting sufficient preclinical trials and taking this research further to ultimately making informed decisions that are backed by solid research. As of now, the majority of clinical trials/analysis has been performed on mice and very little clinical data is available of the diversified and formal human trials (if any) performed thus far.
Many companies that are marketing NMN as a dietary supplement, are mentioning different/conflicting methods of administering or consuming it on the back of the supplement bottles. There is no consensus on how to consume it, e.g. before meals or after meals or on an empty stomach.
In fact, as of now, there is not even an official Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for NMN supplements that is derived after performing a comprehensive research as well as an elaborate set of preclinical trials done on human volunteers.
Long story cut short - While we all would love to see a pharmaceutical accomplishment that could really propel us towards a long & healthy life which successfully counters the process of aging, there is a lot of road that needs to be travelled with respect to gathering of adequate and supportive clinical trial data before we can claim developing a truly promising pharmaceutical product!