#190 6 Foods to Reverse Aging with NMN

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6 Foods to Reverse Aging with NMN

This past week, a new study showed that old mice could be made young, thin, and energetic again with the natural compound NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide.  In fact, the results showing reverse aging with NMN were so promising, the first human study is now underway in Japan.  In this article, I will teach you what NMN is and show you how you may reverse aging with NMN through six foods.

What is NMN?

NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide is a naturally occurring compound that stimulates production of another compound, called NAD or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.  As part of the aging process, your body produces less NAD as you get older.

Sadly, when NAD levels drop with age, inflammation or rusting of the body, shoots up.  As studies have shown that keeping inflammation low throughout life is a key factor to living to 110 and beyond, anything you can do to keep inflammation low will help you to enjoy great health at 100.  Thus, more NAD and less inflammation could be the way to reverse aging with NMN.

NAD Supplementation Studies Failed

As keeping NAD levels high is important to slow aging and keep inflammation at a minimum, many longevity researchers, including Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD from the Washington University School of Medicine, tried to see if they could reverse aging with NAD supplements.  Sadly, his research, as well as research from other longevity studies, failed.

Last Week’s NMN Mouse Study Covered by TIME Magazine

Given NAD supplements failed to reverse aging, Dr. Imai and his colleagues approached this challenge from a different angle.  Rather than give NAD supplements, what if they gave mice NMN supplements and then let the mice naturally boost NAD by converting NMN to NAD.

As you have probably guessed, this study was wildly successful.  Newspapers around the world reported this past week that Dr. Imai may have found the “fountain of youth.”  Indeed, this NMN mouse study even landed them a prominent TIME Magazine article.

The NMN Mouse Study

In this NMN mouse study, Dr. Imai and colleagues took adult lab mice and then randomized them to one of three treatment groups.  The first group was treated with low-dose NMN dissolved into their drinking water.  The second treatment group drank high-dose NMN in their water.  Lastly, the third group had nothing added to their water.

Dr. Imai and his team them followed these mice very closely for one year.  As lab mice typically live only two years, they followed these mice until old age.

These Washington University researchers found that NMN was absorbed within minutes to the blood stream of mice.  Once inside the blood stream, NMN was converted to NAD thereby boosting NAD levels in these mice.

One theoretical concern was that boosting NAD levels could cause tumors to form in these mice.  Fortunately, no tumors or any other complications were observed with NMN supplementation.

Interestingly, the observed NMN benefit was only seen in older mice.  Dr. Imai theorized that this was because younger mice made enough NAD so their low levels of inflammation weren’t helped by NMN supplementation.

8 Benefits of NMN

Quite remarkably, this study showed that old mice could be made young, thin, and energetic again with NMN.  Indeed, they convincingly showed that you could reverse aging with NMN.  Below are the eight key findings of this study.

1. Lower body weight

In this study, mice fed low-dose NMN lost 4% of their body weight.  Those fed high-dose NMN lost 9% of their body weight.

To translate these findings, a 9% weight loss in a 200 pound person would be the equivalent of losing 18 pounds.  Even more remarkable was that even though the mice on NMN ate much more, they still lost weight!

2. Increased energy/better mitochondrial function

The mitochondria is the energy power plant of cells.  In this study, mice given NMN were much more energetic and had better energy production from their mitochondria.

3. Less diabetes

Mice on NMN showed much better insulin sensitivity.  Better insulin sensitivity means less diabetes.  Even heavier mice on NMN showed better insulin sensitivity.

4. Lower cholesterol and triglycerides

Researchers found that NMN also dropped cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  However, this drop was primarily seen in those mice on high-dose NMN.

5. Less activation of aging genes

As NMN and NAD both activate the SIRT1 longevity gene, these Washington University researchers observed marked activation of longevity genes and suppression of aging genes.

6. Improved eye sight

Researchers found that the retinas in mice functioned much better with NMN supplementation.  Also, the older mice were even less likely to suffer from dry eyes.

7. Increased bone density and muscle

Mice treated with NMN also had stronger muscles and bones.  Interestingly, the 513 genes that cause loss of muscle and bone density with aging were all suppressed with NMN in this study.

8. Better immune system function

Lastly, NMN treated mice showed better immune function.   Better functioning of the immune system means less infections and and less cancer.

6 Foods Naturally High in NMN

Currently, outside of clinical trials, like the one testing NMN supplements in Japanese people, there are no high quality NMN supplements available for purchase at this time.  As many studies evaluating supplements in humans often produce unintended side effects or toxicities, it is always best to get everything you need from natural food sources.

Fortunately, NMN is found naturally in many foods.  Below are the six foods highest in NMN.

1. Broccoli
2. Cabbage
3. Cucumber
4. Edamame
5. Avocado
6. Tomato

In addition to NMN, eating more of these six foods will help your overall health in so many other ways.  However, I should point out that if you want to reverse aging with NMN, you will have to eat large amounts of each of these foods.  Sadly, the NMN in a few stems of broccoli is hardly enough to even begin to boost NMN levels.

Take Home Message

The take home message of this new study is that you may be able reverse aging with NMN.  As high quality NMN supplements are not available, and have not been tested yet in humans, your best bet is to eat more broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, edamame, avocado, and tomato.

As these six foods are some of the healthiest foods you could possible eat, I see only beneficial effects by eating more.  Personally, since reviewing this article, I’m trying to reverse aging with NMN by eating more of these foods as well.

Do you enjoy these six foods that may reverse aging with NMN?  Please leave your comments and questions below.  If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to subscribe to my free weekly newsletter and podcast!

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  1. Dr. Day,

    This is interesting and I’ll be interested to try NMN if/when it goes to market.

    One concern regards the immune boosting function. If a person goes on NMN is it possible that it could increase their risk of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease? A lot of these occur after a person gets older, and can be (or the treatments can be as well) ruinous to one’s health or quality of life. Boosting immunity isn’t always a good thing if it makes your body attack its own tissues.

    Just a thought.

  2. Have you thought of dehydrating broccoli and cabbage to make your own supplement. I found I can dehydrate Kale and butternut squash quite easily and make them into a powder. With the water gone, one can eat much more of it.

    • Hi Rosalie,

      An interesting thought. Personally, I love broccolli, cabbage, kale, etc. so much anyway, I prefer to just eat them raw or in a stir-fry dish.

      Thanks for reading!


  3. Another fantastic article, thank you so much!! Do you happen to know if there are benefits / detriments to NMN availability related to whether the food is cooked or raw?

  4. What would be an appropriate dietary goal in terms of daily or weekly consumption quantity of the 6 foods highest in NMN – is juicing and effective means of consumption and does cooking the 6 foods highest in NMN reduce the effect.

    • Hi Caleb,

      Unknown if juicing still allows NMN to be available or not. To be safe, I’d still to the real whole food.

      Hope this helps!