With age comes wisdom…and a lot of aches, pains, and lost vigor. As you age, your endurance will fade and muscle mass will decline—and that can leave you feeling fatigued all the time. However, new research may have found a substance that can encourage your body to build blood vessels and muscles like a much younger person.
NAD is rad
A few years back, scientists discovered that a gradual decline in our levels of a co-enzyme known as NAD (which stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) leads to a loss of key proteins known as sirtuins. These proteins are key to the growth of blood vessels and muscles. The only hitch is that when researchers give mice NAD, sirtuin levels don’t respond.
NMN boosts NAD
Not long ago, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated that, at least in mice, a natural precursor to NAD—nicotinamide mononucleotide or NMN—converts to NAD within minutes. As they suspected, the NAD increase boosts energy burn, potentially warding off some of the inevitable effects of aging, such as weight gain, loss of insulin sensitivity, and declines in physical activity.
Recently, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered that treating aging mice with NMN for as little as two months visibly improved the health of the mice’s blood vessels. These elderly mice gained 80 percent more exercise endurance and helped to restore their muscle mass to that of much younger mice. The results of this study were published in the journal Cell.
“What this paper would suggest is that you may actually be able to rescue muscle mass in an aging population by this kind of intervention,” Leonard Guarente, PhD, the Novartis Professor of Biology at MIT and one of the senior authors of the study, said in a press release. “There’s a lot of crosstalk between muscle and bone, so losing muscle mass ultimately can lead to loss of bone, osteoporosis, and frailty, which is a major problem in aging.”
Human testing is underway
Until we get the results of NMN in humans, warns Dr. Guarente, you may want to hold off on NMN supplements for yourself. But you can do your body a big favor by eating more of the foods that contain the substance: avocado, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, and soy. Check out more anti-aging foods that can add years to your life.