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Niagen vs. NMN
Niagen vs. NMN

Comparing Niagen (NR) and NMN Supplements: Which is Right for You?

In This Article

The quest for longevity and healthy aging is a significant area of interest in modern health science. As a result, a variety of anti-aging supplements have been introduced to the market. Among the most notable are NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and Niagen, a branded form of Nicotinamide Riboside (NR). 

In this article, we aim to delve into the distinct characteristics and benefits of these two supplements, providing a comprehensive comparison to assist you in choosing the one that aligns best with your anti-aging objectives.

What Is Niagen, and How Does It Work?

Niagen is a dietary supplement specifically designed to support your body’s health during the aging process. Its primary component is Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), a precursor to the essential coenzyme NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide). NAD+ plays a pivotal role in cellular metabolism and energy production. 

As we age, the levels of NAD+ in our body decline, leading to decreased cellular efficiency. By supplementing with Niagen, which elevates NAD+ levels, one can potentially enhance cellular function and repair, thereby promoting better overall health. Think of Niagen as a means to bolster your body’s natural processes, particularly in the later stages of life.

Niagen NR

Niagen, known as Nicotinamide Riboside (NR), has the following properties and significance:

  • NAD+ Precursor: Niagen is transformed into NAD+ in the body. NAD+ is vital for converting food nutrients into cellular energy, specifically producing ATP, the primary energy molecule.
  • NAD+’s Role in Cells:
    • Energy Production: NAD+ is crucial in the electron transport chain, leading to ATP generation.
    • DNA Maintenance: NAD+ supports DNA repair enzymes, ensuring genomic stability.
    • Regulating Sirtuins: NAD+ is key for sirtuins, proteins linked to aging and cellular stress responses.
  • Age-Related Decline: NAD+ levels drop with age, correlating with reduced energy, altered metabolism, and heightened disease risk.
  • Benefits of Supplementation: Niagen aims to boost NAD+ levels, potentially enhancing mitochondrial function, DNA repair, and overall cell health, offsetting some aging effects.

What Is NMN, and How Does It Work?

NMN is also a molecule that supports your body’s cellular functions. As a precursor to NAD+, an essential coenzyme, NMN helps cells produce energy, repair themselves, and remain healthy. Consistent levels of NMN can aid in healthier aging, allowing cells to operate efficiently as one ages.

NMN boosts NAD+ levels in the body, which is vital for cellular energy metabolism, DNA repair, and cell signaling. As we age, NAD+ declines, leading to age-related health issues. NMN, being a precursor to NAD+, gets converted into NAD+ through enzymatic reactions. NAD+ has key roles:

NMN supplements
  • Energy Production: It’s involved in the electron transport chain, producing ATP, the primary cellular energy.
  • DNA Maintenance: NAD+ supports DNA repair enzymes like PARPs and sirtuins, ensuring genomic stability.
  • Sirtuin Regulation: NAD+ modulates sirtuins, proteins that manage aging and stress responses. Notably, NMN activates SIRT3 in mitochondria, suggesting its broad impact on mitochondrial health and longevity.

In essence, NMN supplementation aims to enhance NAD+ levels, supporting cellular health and potentially countering aging effects.

NMN vs Niagen: Differences

Let’s take a look at the difference between NMN and Niagen.


When examining the composition and roles of NMN and Niagen (NR) in the NAD+ biosynthesis pathway, distinct differences emerge.

NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) is a direct precursor to NAD+. Given its proximity to the final step in the NAD+ synthesis, NMN might offer a more immediate effect in elevating NAD+ levels in the body. Essentially, once NMN is inside a cell, it can swiftly convert to NAD+.

On the other hand, Niagen represents a branded form of NR (Nicotinamide Riboside). Positioned a step further back from NMN in the NAD+ synthesis sequence, the body first transforms NR into NMN before it can create NAD+. This extra stage might slow down the rate at which NAD+ levels increase.

In essence, NMN’s composition places it closer in the NAD+ biosynthesis pathway compared to Niagen, suggesting it may offer a more immediate impact on NAD+ levels in the body.

nr vs nmn
NAD+ biosynthesis pathway

Absorption and Effectiveness

When considering the bioavailability and effectiveness of NMN and Niagen (NR) in relation to NAD+ levels, it’s essential to understand how each compound operates within the body.

NMN is perceived to have a favorable bioavailability. Research on animals indicates that NMN can effectively elevate NAD+ levels in various tissues, including the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle. Once ingested, NMN is absorbed by the digestive system, enters cells, and directly converts into NAD+.

On the other hand, Niagen (NR) does have bioavailability, but its pathway to boost NAD+ levels might be more extended. After ingestion, NR transitions into NMN inside the body. Only after this conversion does NMN further metabolize into NAD+, implying an extra step in the process. This could potentially decelerate the rate at which NAD+ levels rise.

From an effectiveness standpoint, NMN employs what’s termed the “salvage pathway” for NAD+ synthesis. This pathway allows for more direct and unrestricted NAD+ production, often leading to a notable elevation in NAD+ levels. Given NMN’s reduced need for intermediary conversions compared to NR, many consider it a superior choice for promptly and efficiently increasing NAD+ levels.

However, the debate regarding the supremacy of NMN or NR in augmenting NAD+ levels remains. Some research posits that NMN might yield quicker NAD+ surges than NR. Yet, the actual impact could fluctuate based on individual metabolic responses, dosage, and specific formulations.


When evaluating the stability of NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) in the bloodstream, NMN is frequently regarded as the more stable of the two.

The enhanced stability of NMN is attributed to its role as a direct precursor to NAD+ in the biosynthesis pathway. Due to this directness, it tends to remain in its form longer, being less susceptible to degradation. In contrast, NR has shown a higher likelihood of degradation in the bloodstream. One reason for this is its potential conversion into other forms of vitamin B3, such as nicotinamide, before it even begins the NAD+ synthesis process. This transformation can occur at a relatively swift pace within the body, reducing its stability.

Dosage and Form

Regarding dosage, NMN typically necessitates a more substantial amount than Tru Niagen. While the exact recommended intake for NMN can differ among brands, it’s common for suggestions to range from several hundred milligrams to over a gram daily. Conversely, Tru Niagen, representing a branded version of NR (Nicotinamide Riboside), typically advises daily intakes between 150 to 300 milligrams.

In terms of form, NMN supplements offer versatility, with options like capsules and powders catering to individual consumption preferences. However, Tru Niagen predominantly comes in a capsule format.

Niagen (NR) vs. NMN supplements comparison table

CharacteristicNiagen (NR)NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide)
Position in NAD+ PathwayFurther back; requires conversion to NMNCloser to NAD+; direct precursor
Conversion to NAD+Two conversion steps (NR to NMN to NAD+)One step (NMN to NAD+)
Cellular EntryCan enter cells directlyCannot enter cells easily
Vitamin ClassificationVitamin B3 (nicotinamide riboside)Not classified as a vitamin
BioavailabilityMay have lower bioavailability compared to NMNConsidered more stable in the bloodstream
Studies and ResearchEvidence of positive effects on NAD+ levels and aging-related processesStrong research showing potential benefits for aging and health
Cost and AvailabilityOften more readily available and affordableHistorically more expensive and less accessible
Expert PreferencesSome experts choose Niagen (NR) while others prefer NMNNotable experts, like David Sinclair, prefer NMN
User ExperiencesIndividual responses vary; some report positive resultsPositive reports of increased energy and vitality
Safety and Side EffectsGenerally considered safe, but individual reactions can varyGenerally considered safe, but long-term effects require further study


NAD+ Supplements Face-off: Niagen (NR) vs. NMN – Which Wins?

In evaluating NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) as NAD+ boosting supplements, several insights surface.

NMN’s proximity to NAD+ in its production process suggests a potentially direct influence on elevating NAD+ levels. Research emphasizes its impacts on various aging pathways, suggesting a broader spectrum of benefits than NR. Notable experts in NAD+ metabolism, such as Professor David Sinclair, have shown a preference for NMN. Furthermore, some users report enhanced energy levels with NMN compared to NR.

However, considerations include:

  • Individual Reactions: People’s responses to NMN and NR can vary.
  • Evolving Research: Our understanding of NAD+ supplementation is still growing.
  • Accessibility and Affordability: Historically, NMN’s higher cost and limited availability could impact its widespread use.
  • NR’s Potential: NR has also demonstrated encouraging results in certain studies.

Deciding between NMN and NR requires considering individual goals and financial constraints. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare specialist before starting supplementation. As research progresses, a clearer comparison between the two might emerge.

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