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NMN vs. NAD+: Exploring the Vital Coenzymes in Aging and Health

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When considering options to support cellular health and energy production, NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) and NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) are two molecules that often come into focus. Both are closely linked, with NMN serving as a precursor to NAD synthesis.

In this comparative analysis, we will explore the characteristics, functions, potential benefits, and considerations of NAD and NMN to help you make an informed choice about which one might be better suited to your health and wellness goals.

What is NMN?

NMN, or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, is a molecule that has gained attention in the field of health and longevity due to its potential role in supporting cellular health and energy production. NMN is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme crucial in various metabolic processes within cells.


To understand how NMN works, let’s break it down:

Precursor to NAD+ Synthesis

NMN is composed of a ribose molecule, a phosphate group, and nicotinamide (a form of vitamin B3). It serves as a precursor in the synthesis of NAD+ within cells. NAD+ is a coenzyme involved in numerous enzymatic reactions and plays a central role in energy metabolism.

Conversion to NAD+

After ingestion, NMN is absorbed into the bloodstream and taken up by cells. NMN is converted into NAD+ through a series of enzymatic reactions inside the cell. This conversion is crucial because NAD+ is used as a coenzyme in various metabolic pathways.

NAD+ and Cellular Energy Production

NAD+ is primarily known for its role in cellular energy production. It participates in key metabolic processes such as glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose), the citric acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle), and oxidative phosphorylation (a process in the mitochondria that generates ATP, the cell’s primary energy currency).

DNA Repair and Cellular Function

NAD+ also plays a role in DNA repair mechanisms, helping maintain the genetic material’s integrity in cells. It involves processes like base excision repair and DNA strand break repair, essential for preventing mutations and DNA damage.

DNA Repair

Sirtuins Activation

NAD+ is an essential cofactor for a group of enzymes called sirtuins. Sirtuins are known to be involved in various cellular processes, including gene regulation, DNA repair, and cellular stress response. They are often associated with longevity and cellular health.

Sirtuins Activation

In summary

NMN works by serving as a precursor to NAD+ synthesis within cells. NAD+ is a coenzyme critical for energy production, DNA repair, and other cellular functions. By increasing cellular NAD+ levels through NMN supplementation, it is believed that NMN may support cellular health, potentially mitigating the age-related decline in NAD+ levels and promoting overall vitality.

What is NAD+?

NAD+, which stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, is a coenzyme that plays a fundamental role in various cellular processes, including energy production, DNA repair, and metabolic regulation. NAD+ is an essential molecule for the proper functioning of cells, and it functions in several important ways:

Electron Carrier

One of the primary roles of NAD+ is acting as an electron carrier in redox (reduction-oxidation) cell reactions. NAD+ can accept electrons (reduction) and become NADH or donate electrons (oxidation) and become NAD+. This ability to shuttle electrons is crucial in metabolic pathways, particularly in producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the cell’s primary energy currency.

Energy Metabolism

NAD+ plays a central role in cellular energy production. It participates in processes such as glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose), the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle), and oxidative phosphorylation (the electron transport chain) in mitochondria. These processes generate ATP, providing the energy needed for various cellular activities.

Energy Metabolism

DNA Repair

NAD+ is involved in DNA repair mechanisms. It plays a role in base excision repair and DNA strand break repair. Adequate levels of NAD+ are essential for maintaining DNA integrity and preventing mutations and age-related DNA damage.

Cell Signaling

NAD+ is also involved in cell signaling pathways. It is a cofactor for enzymes called sirtuins, which play roles in gene regulation, stress response, and cellular longevity. Sirtuins are linked to various cellular processes associated with aging and longevity.

Cell Signaling

Redox Reactions

Beyond energy production, NAD+ participates in a wide range of redox reactions, including those involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These reactions are essential for nutrient utilization and cellular homeostasis.

In summary

NAD+ is a critical coenzyme that is essential for a variety of cellular functions. It plays a central role in energy metabolism, DNA repair, and cell signaling, making it a key molecule for overall cellular health and function.

Comparing NAD and NMN

To provide a comprehensive comparison, let’s explore the characteristics and attributes of NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) and NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide).


NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide):

  • NAD is a coenzyme composed of two nucleotides, nicotinamide and adenine.
  • It has two ribose molecules (a type of sugar) as its backbone.
  • Two phosphate groups (adenosine diphosphate or ADP) link the ribose molecules.
  • The nicotinamide moiety is attached to one of the ribose molecules.
  • NAD has two main forms: NAD+ (oxidized) and NADH (reduced).

NAD+ is the form of NAD that accepts electrons in various metabolic reactions, while NADH is the reduced form that carries those electrons to the electron transport chain in cellular respiration.

NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide):

  • NMN is a molecule that serves as a precursor to NAD+ synthesis.
  • It consists of a single nucleotide.
  • Like NAD, it contains ribose and a phosphate group.
  • NMN also contains a nicotinamide group, which is the key component used in the synthesis of NAD+.
  • When NMN is absorbed by cells, it can be converted into NAD+ through a series of enzymatic reactions.

In summary, while both NAD and NMN contain nicotinamide, they differ in their structural complexity. NAD is a coenzyme composed of two nucleotides and exists in two forms, NAD+ and NADH, playing crucial roles in cellular energy metabolism. On the other hand, NMN is a simpler molecule consisting of a single nucleotide with a ribose, phosphate group, and nicotinamide, and it serves as a precursor for NAD+ synthesis, potentially supporting cellular energy processes when converted into NAD+.

Role in NAD+ Synthesis

  • NAD: NAD+ is directly involved in cellular redox reactions, serving as a coenzyme in processes like glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. It plays a critical role in energy production.
  • NMN: NMN is a precursor to NAD+ synthesis. Cells can convert NMN into NAD+ through a series of enzymatic reactions. This conversion is essential for maintaining adequate NAD+ levels in the body.

Absorption and Bioavailability

  • NAD: NAD+ is not typically used as a supplement because it is unstable in the digestive system. Therefore, direct supplementation with NAD+ is not common.
  • NMN: NMN is more stable and has better bioavailability when taken orally, making it a more popular choice as a supplement to boost NAD+ levels.

Health benefits

NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide):

  • Enhanced Cellular Energy Production: NAD+ plays a critical role in cellular energy production through its involvement in metabolic pathways like glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. Increasing NAD+ levels may potentially boost energy production within cells.
  • DNA Repair: NAD+ is involved in DNA repair mechanisms, specifically in processes like base excision repair and DNA strand break repair. Adequate NAD+ levels are essential for maintaining the integrity of DNA, which is crucial for preventing mutations and age-related damage.
  • Protection Against Age-Related Diseases: Some studies suggest that maintaining or increasing NAD+ levels may have protective effects against age-related diseases, such as neurodegenerative disorders and cardiovascular diseases. NAD+ is thought to support cellular health and resilience.

NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide):

  • Potential Anti-Aging Properties: NMN has gained attention for its potential anti-aging properties. It is believed that increasing cellular NAD+ levels through NMN supplementation may help combat the age-related decline in cellular function.
  • Mitochondrial Function: Research indicates that NMN may improve mitochondrial function, the powerhouses of cells responsible for energy production. Enhanced mitochondrial function can lead to improved cellular energy production and overall vitality.
  • Enhanced DNA Repair: NMN may promote DNA repair processes by supplying cells with the necessary precursor (nicotinamide) to synthesize NAD+. This can help maintain genomic stability and reduce the risk of age-related DNA damage.

It’s important to note that while there is growing interest in NAD and NMN supplementation for their potential health benefits, much of the research has been conducted in animals, and human studies are still ongoing. The long-term safety and effectiveness of these supplements in humans are not fully established, and more research is needed to confirm their specific effects on aging and age-related diseases.

Before considering NAD or NMN supplementation, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss potential benefits and risks, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications or supplements. Additionally, individual responses to these supplements may vary, so personalized guidance is important.

Side Effects

Both NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) and NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) are generally considered safe when used as supplements, and side effects are typically mild and rare. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects. 

Potential Side Effects of NAD Supplements:

  • Flushing: Some individuals may experience flushing, which is a warm or tingling sensation in the skin. This effect is often attributed to the rapid conversion of NAD to nicotinamide (a component of NAD) and is typically mild and temporary.

Potential Side Effects of NMN Supplements:

  • Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Some people may experience gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort when taking NMN. These symptoms are generally mild and may subside with time or by adjusting the dosage.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to NMN supplements can occur. If you experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, rash, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

Additionally, it’s crucial to choose reputable sources and high-quality supplements, as the purity and potency of these products can vary among brands. Always follow the recommended dosage instructions on the product label or as advised by a healthcare provider.


NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) and NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) are essential molecules in cellular energy metabolism, but they are not typically obtained directly from food sources in substantial amounts. Instead, your body synthesizes NAD and NMN from dietary precursors.

NAD Precursors:

  • Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid found in various protein-rich foods, such as turkey, chicken, beef, dairy products, and nuts. The body can convert tryptophan into NAD.
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): Niacin is a B vitamin found in foods like meat, fish, poultry, and whole grains. There are two forms of niacin, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, which can be used to synthesize NAD.
  • Nicotinamide Riboside (NR): NR is a direct precursor to NAD and can be found in trace amounts in some foods like milk.

NMN Precursors:

  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): Nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is a precursor to both NAD and NMN. As mentioned earlier, niacin-rich foods like meat, fish, poultry, and whole grains can indirectly support NMN synthesis.
  • Tryptophan: Tryptophan can also contribute to NMN synthesis, as it is a precursor to NAD, which can subsequently be converted to NMN.

While these dietary sources provide the raw materials for NAD and NMN synthesis, it’s important to note that the amounts of NAD and NMN obtained through food are relatively small compared to the potential benefits of supplementation. Therefore, some individuals choose to use NAD or NMN supplements to directly increase their levels for specific health or longevity goals.

Source nmn and nad+

Comparing table NMN vs. NAD+

Here’s a table summarizing the information you provided about NAD+ and NMN, including their benefits, challenges, best delivery methods, recommendations, and dosage:

BenefitsRapidly increases cellular NAD+Stably increases NAD+ levels for long
Activates anti-aging genesSupports vision and hearing in aging
Enhances brain functionActivates anti-aging sirtuin genes
Supports muscle endurance and strength
ChallengesHeat instabilityLimited reliable suppliers
Unsuitable for gut-based oral deliveryHigh price of good quality NMN
Best DeliveryIntravenous and sublingualSublingual and transdermal
Recommended ForAthletic performance and increased energy metabolismAnti-aging purposes and increasing mitochondrial functions
Dosage250-500mg NAD+ per day250-500mg NMN per day
Recommended ProductSublingual NAD+ (e.g., Longiva brand) for high bioavailabilityLiposomal NMN (e.g., Longiva Nanoliposomal) for superior absorption

Which Is More Beneficial: NAD or NMN?

It is suggested that NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) may be a superior choice for elevating NAD+ levels compared to taking NAD+ directly.

NMN as an Effective NAD+ Booster: NMN is considered a highly effective means of increasing NAD+ levels within the body. This is because NMN is more stable and can consistently raise NAD+ levels over an extended period.

Comprehensive Benefits of NMN: NMN not only augments NAD+ levels but also encompasses all the advantages associated with NAD+. Furthermore, it appears to have specific benefits related to age-related vision and hearing loss, making it a comprehensive choice for cellular health.

Addressing Age-Related Vision and Hearing Loss: NMN supplementation is believed to play a role in supporting vision and hearing functions as individuals age. This aspect makes NMN an appealing option for those seeking to maintain their sensory health.

In summary, NMN is proposed as an effective and stable method for increasing NAD+ levels, offering comprehensive benefits associated with NAD+ and potentially addressing age-related vision and hearing concerns.

Is it advisable to take both NMN and NAD+ supplements?

Taking both NMN and NAD+ supplements may be unnecessary, as NMN serves as a precursor to NAD, fulfilling the primary role of supporting NAD production.


In conclusion, NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) are interconnected molecules with significant roles in cellular energy production and overall health. While they share chemical elements and are both essential for various biological processes, they have some distinct characteristics and potential effects on different aspects of health.

It’s important to emphasize that the effects of NAD+ and NMN supplementation can vary among individuals, and more research is needed to fully understand their long-term safety and effectiveness in humans. Furthermore, these supplements should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional, especially considering potential interactions with medications and individual health conditions.

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