NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide, a molecule naturally occurring in all life forms. At the molecular level, it is a ribo-nucleotide, which is a basic structural unit of the nucleic acid RNA. Structurally, the molecule is composed of a nicotinamide group, a ribose and a phosphate group. NMN is the direct precursor of the essential molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and is considered a key component to increase NAD+ levels in cells.
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Mechanism of NMN
NMN (β-Nicotinamide mononucleotide) functions in the human body by converting into NAD. NAD+ (cozymase I), an important coenzyme in human body, exists in all the living cells and plays a vital role in regulating cell senescence and maintaining normal functions of the body.
What's the function of NMN?
Repair DNA damage
Help with weight management
Promote brain health
Improve insulin sensitivity
Promote the regeneration of blood vessels, maintain the elasticity of blood vessels and enhance their endurance and vitality.
Prevent the decline of bone density and improve vision and immune functions.
Support metabolism to promote energy production.
How is NMN Synthesized In the Body?
NMN is produced from B vitamins in the body. The enzyme responsible for making NMN in the body is called nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT). NAMPT attaches nicotinamide (a vitamin B3) to a sugar phosphate called PRPP (5’-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate). NMN can also be made from ‘nicotinamide riboside’ (NR) through the addition of a phosphate group.
‘NAMPT’ is the rate-limiting enzyme in the production of NAD+. This means lower levels of NAMPT cause decreased NMN production, resulting in decreased NAD+ levels. Adding precursor molecules like NMN can also speed up NAD+ production.
How are NMN Supplements Absorbed and Distributed Throughout the Body?
NMN appears to be absorbed into cells through a molecular transporter embedded in the cell surface. Being smaller than NAD+, the NMN molecule may be absorbed more efficiently into cells. NAD+ cannot easily enter the body because of the barrier presented by the cell membrane. The membrane has a waterless space which prevents ions, polar molecules, and large molecules from entering without the use of transporters. It was once thought that NMN must be altered before entering cells but new evidence suggests that it can enter cells directly via an NMN-specific transporter in the cellular membrane.
Furthermore, injections of NMN result in increased NAD+ in many regions in the body including the pancreas, fat tissue, the heart, skeletal muscle, kidneys, testes, eyes, and blood vessels. Oral administration of NMN in mice increases NAD+ in the liver within 15 minutes.
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