Magazine, Molecules

What is NMN?

Wasist Nmn Article image

We humans have been trying to better understand individual biochemical processes for thousands of years. What used to be limited to processes visible to the naked eye has increasingly shifted toward the molecular level in recent decades. New molecules are constantly appearing on the scene. Scientists are trying to understand and classify the role of these molecules in the biochemistry and biology of organisms. One of these new stars in the molecular universe is nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). For years, research on the molecule has been conducted worldwide with increasing intensity. That is why we are now embarking on a journey through biochemistry that is as comprehensible and understandable as possible and are walking part of the way with NMN, a crown prince in the NAD cosmos.

Research at NMN
Search results for "NMN" on PubMed by calendar year. Interest in the topic is growing rapidly.

Organisms of all kinds are an incredibly complex wonder of nature. Countless processes run in parallel in fractions of a second. The basis of all these processes is energy. The organism obtains energy from food, which is broken down into smaller and smaller components and finally absorbed. Just as heat must be converted into electricity in the case of solar energy, the individual molecules must first be made energetically usable at the cellular level. This process takes place in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell. Here, an enzyme called ATP synthase produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP for short) - the universal and immediately available energy carrier of the cell and thus of the organism. ATP synthase is supported in this process by the molecule NAD+, a cofactor. NMN is a precursor molecule of NAD+. Before we go any further, let's focus our telescope on a few terms.

What is an enzyme?

Like hormones and antibodies, enzymes are made from proteins, the building blocks of life. Thousands and thousands of enzymes work every second as biocatalysts for a wide variety of biological processes. There are also catalysts in cars - the function is basically analogous: a substance that can influence the speed of a chemical reaction without being consumed. Put simply, enzymes ensure that reactions in organisms can take place under facilitated conditions. When enzymes cleave substances, this is known as catabolism: the breakdown of metabolic products from complex to simple molecules. At the same time, however, enzymes can also build up substances. This process is called anabolism. The best example of this is the enzyme ATP synthase (adenosine triphosphate synthase), which, like most enzymes, ends in -ase and is responsible for the energy supply in organisms alongside NAD+.

What is NAD+ and what is a coenzyme?

NAD+ is short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. The "+" denotes an excess positive charge. It is a coenzyme found in almost every biological cell. A coenzyme is a small organic molecule that works with an enzyme to initiate a chemical reaction. Sufficiently high levels of NAD+ in an organism are important for the integrity of a lot of cellular functions. But here's the catch: the NAD+ level of organisms decreases over the years. Here, unfortunately, less is not more.

The world champion of versatility must first be assembled in the organism. This production takes place in a total of three different ways via certain precursor molecules.

NAD metabolic pathways
Trp = tryptophan; Na = niacin; Nam = nicotinamide; NR = nicotinamide riboside; NMN = nicotinamide mononucleotide.

The following diagram shows the three pathways. Firstly, there is the so-called "de novo pathway" starting with the amino acid tryptophan as the starting material, then the so-called "Preiss-Handler pathway" with niacin as the starting material and the so-called "salvage pathway", which serves to recycle NAD in the organism. "Salvage" comes from the English language and means something like "salvage" or "rescue". This is where nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) comes into play.

NMN starts in the salvage pathway and is the ultimate precursor molecule of NAD. This means that the pathway of other precursors such as nicotinamide riboside (NR) or nicotinamide (Nam) only leads via NMN. NMN is absolutely essential for this reason. Without NMN, there is no salvage or rescue of spent NAD. Let's take a closer look at the molecule.

What is NMN?

NMN is a vitamin B3 derivative that is involved in the biosynthesis of NAD+ in every living organism. If one wants to produce NMN chemically, one is confronted with an extremely complex and cost-intensive process that mimics the already mentioned natural conversion of NR (nicotinamide riboside) into NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide). For this reason, the molecule, which may currently only be used for research purposes, is comparatively expensive. Not surprisingly, NMN is therefore one of the most counterfeited molecules in the world.

A study in the USA recently tested 22 different providers - with devastating results. More than half offered no real NMN or only inferior NMN. Link to the study

How can I recognise genuine NMN?

  • Have NMN tested yourself
    This is very safe, but unfortunately also very expensive. Depending on the laboratory, you can expect costs of 150-300€. Purities below 99% are in any case worse than the current industry standard. We recommend the Arotop Laboratories in Mainz, which have been our partners for reliable controls of our product batches for a long time.
  • Current Certificates of Analysis
    Transparency is everything. If a distributor or manufacturer of NMN cannot show current certificates of analysis, it is most likely fake NMN. With us you can find all batches tested so far directly on the product page in the certificates tab.
  • Fluffy consistency
    NMN basically has a very fluffy and loose consistency. When compressed for a longer time, it tends to clump slightly. However, this has no consequences for the quality of the chemical.
  • Price
    Although the price of NMN has fallen steadily in recent years, it remains a comparatively expensive molecule. If a product is conspicuously cheap, it is best to keep your hands off it. For a price comparison, the price per gram is a good guide.

The bottom line is: trust is good, but control is even better. Trustworthy manufacturers know about the problem with fake NMNs and will provide you with all the necessary documents without hesitation.

What does NMN do?

NMN, as we already know, is the direct precursor of NAD+. Above all, however, it is indispensable in cellular respiration. Without cellular respiration, which takes place in the mitochondria, life as we know it today would not be possible. - Why? Because cellular respiration is responsible for the major part of the energy supply of organisms. Some "backup mechanisms" exist, but these cannot provide enough energy sooner or later. In addition, NAD+ interacts with genes, the blueprints for proteins. Through this function, NAD+ activates genes responsible for the production of sirtuins, a multi-headed gene family.

Measure NMN correctly

Nicotinamide mononucleotide is offered almost exclusively in powder form. Accordingly, the question of the correct measurement often arises.

The following options are obvious:

  1. Measurement by laboratory / fine scale

If you want to measure NMN to the nearest milligram, you should get a precision scale. Various relatively accurate models are available from 10 - 15 euros.

For exact laboratory work, a proper laboratory balance is of course recommended.

  1. Measurement with the MoleQlar QSCOOP

The QSCOOP holds a total of 1ml - depending on storage, this means approximately 400 - 500mg of NMN powder.

  1. Dimension with standard teaspoon

Classic smooth-stemmed teaspoons today hold between 3 and 5ml. This corresponds to an amount of up to 2.5 grams of NMN.

What is currently being researched?

NMN is currently marketed as a chemical for research in the life sciences. To give you an overview, below you will find a selection of published studies that deal with the chemical. You can find more information by clicking on the link in English on PubMed.

We can look forward to future results of scientific studies and also to how the topic of the molecular universe will develop. It is important to keep our finger on the pulse of science in order to learn new insights and possibly also to discard old ones. In any case, the past did not tire in its quest to understand fundamental processes in organisms - it will be no different in the future!

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) is a chemical not intended for human consumption according to German and European law. Find out more in our safety data sheet