Recent Advances in NMN Research, Market, and Applications

Update:2023-07-28   

NMN, short for Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, is a well-known functional ingredient that has not yet received approval as a new food ingredient, food additive, dietary supplement, or drug in China. However, earlier this year, NMN was filed for registration as a cosmetic ingredient. This undoubtedly signals the possibility of NMN unlocking more regulatory approvals in the future.

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From the media's portrayal of it as the "fountain of youth" to the recent advancements in human clinical trials, NMN is gradually shedding the veil of exaggeration and proving itself through science. In this article, we will summarize the recent research findings, market trends, and product applications of NMN.

Current Market Situation

Globally, according to data provided by market intelligence reports, the compound annual growth rate of NMN is projected to be 7.3% from 2021 to 2026. Major countries worldwide have recognized the huge potential market for this new ingredient in the dietary supplement field. However, they also face various challenges such as stringent regulations in many countries and a lack of innovative formulations for new areas.

In the Chinese market, there is significant consumer interest in NMN. According to data from Analysys, the market size of NMN dietary supplements in China reached 5.106 billion yuan in 2020, with a year-on-year growth of 34.87%. It is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 70.25% to 27.017 billion yuan by 2023, indicating fast industry development.

Moreover, consumers have gained awareness of NMN as an ingredient. The data shows that in 2021, over 60% of Chinese consumers already had some knowledge of NMN, with 24.6% having specific knowledge of NMN products. The three most well-known functions of NMN among consumers are enhancing immune function, improving sleep, and delaying aging.

Latest Research on NMN

NMN, full name β-Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, is a precursor to the coenzyme NAD+ involved in cellular energy metabolism. NAD+ is crucial for regulating cellular aging and maintaining normal body functions, and it is believed to help maintain a youthful state in humans. As individuals reach middle age, the level of NAD+ in the body dramatically decreases to only a fraction of the level in youth, leading to various aging symptoms such as memory decline, weakened cardiovascular function, immune imbalance, poor sleep quality, decreased energy, hair loss, loss of appetite, and neuronal degeneration.

Studies have found that NMN can significantly improve age-associated physiological decline in mice, including inhibiting age-related weight gain, enhancing energy metabolism, improving insulin sensitivity and plasma lipid distribution, and enhancing eye function. NMN prevents age-related gene expression changes in a tissue-specific manner and enhances mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in skeletal muscles, thereby delaying aging and partially reversing the aging process. However, extensive animal experiments do not provide sufficient evidence of the same effects and safety in humans.

Since the beginning of 2021, human clinical trials on NMN have been published in various countries. On April 22, 2021, the research team led by Samuel Klein of the Washington University School of Medicine's Human Nutrition Center published an article in Science, demonstrating that NMN can enhance muscle tissue insulin sensitivity in pre-diabetic women.

On May 5, 2022, a report on NMN human clinical trials was published in the prestigious journal Frontier in Aging, showing that NMN has good anti-aging effects and safety for middle-aged and elderly people. In this experiment, compared to the placebo group, the NMN group showed a 38% increase in blood cell NAD(H) levels, while the placebo group only had a 14.3% increase. The NMN group also showed a 6.5% increase in walking endurance, compared to a 3.9% increase in the placebo group. NMN subjects reported feeling happier, with a 6.5% increase in health scores based on the SF-36 questionnaire. NMN improved the stability of blood glucose and serum insulin, with an average HOMA IR index increase of only 0.6% in the NMN group (compared to a 30.6% increase in the placebo group), a 4.0% decrease in average fasting blood glucose in the NMN group (compared to a 6.5% increase in the placebo group from baseline), and a 1.9% decrease in average fasting serum insulin in the NMN group (compared to a 26.2% increase in the placebo group from baseline).

A 12-week human randomized controlled trial sponsored by Mitsubishi Life Science was recently published in Aging. It showed that NMN intake significantly improved muscle activity in older adults, especially walking speed and left grip strength, providing a potential therapeutic strategy for age-related muscle reduction. This is the third human clinical trial published by Mitsubishi this year, conducted by researchers from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo University Hospital, Toyama University, Toranomon Hospital, and Mitsubishi Life Science. The other two studies, published in the journals Frontiers in Nutrition and Nutrition, respectively, demonstrated that NMN can safely increase NAD+ levels in healthy individuals and improve physical function in older adults, reducing excessive sleepiness.

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Latest Applications of NMN

Regarding the production process of NMN, several methods include chemical synthesis, fermentation, and biocatalysis with specific enzymes. Chemical synthesis has a lower cost, but it is challenging to avoid chemical residues, which may pose risks to human health. Fermentation, mainly used in Japan for NMN production, involves a complex and time-consuming process with high costs. Biocatalysis via specific engineered enzymes is a production method that yields high purity raw materials, and it can significantly reduce costs by over 90%. It has become the primary method adopted by NMN enterprises currently.

In terms of product classification, there is a trend towards formulating NMN for different genders, age groups, and health needs. NMN is now being combined with other health ingredients for various purposes such as healthy aging, male and female health, oral beauty, sports nutrition, reproductive health, brain and emotional health, and more.