If you have been keeping up with news about aging and how scientists are looking into possible ways of slowing the process, then you have probably heard about an essential molecule called Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.

The discovery of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an enzyme responsible for all the metabolic processes in our body, is increasingly gaining global attention. NAD+ is responsible for slowing down the aging process in human bodies. However, as humans grow older, the NAD+ levels plummet, causing severe physical and mental changes.

To counteract the changes caused by a decline in NAD+, supplementing NAD+ enzymes is essential. So far, only two supplements are primarily used: nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) supplements.

While both supplements support the production of NAD+, there are differences in the science behind them and how they work. This article will deeply dive into the nitty-gritty of the two supplements and bring out their difference.

What is the difference between NR and NMN?

Studies on rodents have revealed that NR and NMN can boost NAD+ levels in different body tissues, including the brain. These studies have also demonstrated that NR and NMN vitamins may positively affect mitochondrial functions and glucose tolerance.

To understand what sets apart the two compounds, here is a summary of what we need to know about the two supplements.

What is NMN?

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is an NAD+ precursor that can be quickly absorbed and converted into NAD+ to help reverse the physical changes associated with aging.

NMN occurs naturally in foods like cabbage, broccoli, and cucumber. Fruits such as avocado and tomato also have significant levels of NMN. However, the levels of NMN in food substances are too low to affect significant aging process changes.

It is unclear how NMN is absorbed into the cells, but scientists argue that NMN enters the body cells through a three-step process where NMN is first converted to NR. Once converted, NR is absorbed into the blood cells and converted back to NMN in the cells with the help of special enzymes. However, recent research looks into the possibility of NMN being transported directly into the cells using enzymes.

Although NMN is widely used today, only one safety study on humans has been conducted and the results published. Most of its safety studies have only been carried out on rodents. However, several countries like the USA are undertaking clinical trials to ascertain its safety.

What is NR?

Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a form of vitamin B3 found naturally in some foods such as milk. Initially, there was not much thought about NR until medical researchers discovered that NR played an essential role in producing NAD+.

NR has undergone several clinical trials on human beings to ascertain its safety. A study by researchers revealed that taking NR may increase NAD+ levels in the blood. Another study showed that NR has more bioavailability levels than other NAD+ supplements.

Difference between NMN and NR.

Based on the above analysis of the two compounds, we can single out the difference based on the following:

Safety trials on NMN and NR.

Based on the clinical trials on both compounds, NR has over three clinical trials on humans and has proved NR as a safe and effective way of boosting NAD+ in people.

On the other hand, NMN has most of its studies on rodents and mice. Only one study was successfully conducted on humans, and the results were published.

Pathway to the body cells.

Whereas NR can be absorbed directly into the cells, NMN has to undergo a three-step process to be absorbed in the body. NMN must first be converted to NR and back to NMN with the help of special enzymes.

Bioavailability of NMN and NR.

Because no bioavailability studies have been conducted on humans, NR is considered more bioavailable in the blood cells than NMN. Studies on NR bioavailability showed that people who took up to 1000 mg of NR had their blood NAD+ levels increase by up to 142%.

Size and Structure.

Both NMN and NR have the same molecular structure. However, NMN has a phosphate compound added to its group. Scientists believe that the additional phosphate is what makes NMN bigger than NR. The enormous size of NMN molecules also justifies the fact that NMN molecules must first be converted to NR molecules before passing through the cell membranes.

Final thoughts

As NMN supplements continue to undergo human clinical trials, it is unclear if NMN will continue to serve as an alternative supplement to combat the health-related issues associated with aging. With several successful clinical trials on humans, the science behind NR continues to give hope for a safe and effective way of slowing down the aging process. Until then, we can cling to hope that medical scientists will find a breakthrough in their quest to improve human health by slowing down the aging process.