By a young age, most people know or have heard of the “fountain of youth.” We dream of leaving on a daring adventure that leads us to the most beautiful waterfall, and after a few sips of its water, we are forever transformed into the youthful, energized self we all long to be. Within years, the constant reminders of fairytales and falsehoods tell us that those dreams are nothing but fiction.
As we age, we recognize the fountain’s unfeasible results, yet we still long for youthful days, or the chance to live longer. We hope for these outcomes so much so that skin creams and facial peels have become part of a $250 billion industry. Anti-aging products have remained the next best thing– until now.
Earlier this year, a study was released that was wildly successful in creating a “fountain of youth” effect on mice. This study followed a previous attempt at finding supplements or other compounds that could reverse the signs of aging. Dr. Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, Ph.D., first looked at a natural compound in the body for his longevity studies. The compound used in his first study was NAD or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. As people age, the amount of NAD produced by the body decreases; as NAD levels drop, inflammation of the body increases. Therefore, Dr. Imai hypothesized that more NAD and less inflammation could be the answer to reverse aging. However, this first study of supplementing NAD into the body failed.
Despite the previous failure, Dr. Imai and his colleagues pressed on looking at the issue from different angles. Instead of giving NAD supplements, the second study looked at what would happen if they used supplements that the body naturally converts to NAD. This new supplement, NMN or nicotinamide mononucleotide, is a naturally occurring compound that stimulates the production of NAD. As previously stated, this longevity study was very successful.
The results show that NMN suppresses age-associated body weight gain and enhances energy metabolism; improves insulin sensitivity, eye function, and other features with no toxicity; prevents age-associated gene expression changes in a tissue-specific manner; and is a useful anti-aging intervention that could be translated to humans.
The results of NMN supplements leads scientists to believe that improved blood flow could be crucial in helping aging tissues and organs, speedy healing of wounds, and improved circulation.
We’ve got a long way to go before we understand what this means for the human body and aging, but the results so far are promising enough to encourage more scientists to research this and possibly other health extending compounds.