NMN, or nicotinamide mononucleotide, is a known precursor of NAD+. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a vital metabolic redox co-enzyme found in eukaryotic cells and is necessary for over 500 enzymatic reactions.
Claims, counterclaims cloud research story
ChromaDex markets TruNiagen, which is based on its branded Niagen ingredient, which is a form of nicotinamide riboside (NR), the form of nicotinamide that actively crosses into the cell to participate in the NAD+ pathway. Boosting this pathway, and thus maintaining cellular function at a lively, youthful level, has become a prominent theme in recent anti aging research.
Recently researchers have argued that a transporter exists for NMN, too, which is something that ChromaDex disputes. It claims that NMN must first be converted into NR in the blood before it can be used by the cells.
NMN products flood the market
In any case, in the several years since the NMN transporter discovery was asserted, the NAD+ anti aging field has become crowded with NMN-based supplements all seeking a piece of the pie created by ChromaDex and its competitor and one time customer Elysium. (The two companies have been locked in various patent infringement and breach of contract suits for several years.)
Last fall ChromaDex obtained 22 samples of NMN products being sold on Amazon. Of these, 14 claimed to contain 500 mg of NMN. A further two products claimed 300 mg on the label; five claimed 250 mg and one product claimed 125 mg.
Majority of products found to be fraudulent
Only one of the 500 mg products came close to meeting label claim. It had 456 mg of NMN. All of the other 13 products in the 500 mg group either came in at below reporting limit (BRL, defined as less than 1% of the stated amount) or, in the case of three products, no NMN was detected at all.
Almost all of the rest of the products performed better, having at least 88% of the label claim up to small overages. A lone 250 mg product was identified as BRL.
In sum, ChromaDex said that 64% of the products tested contained less than 1% of the stated amount of the active ingredient, which should give consumers pause, the company said.
“While this is a limited snapshot of the vast NMN finished product landscape, it does provide a glimpse into the high variability of product quality that is available. . . . According to this study, the majority of the products one might purchase online contain such a small amount of NMN that there would be no clinical benefits achieved from the dose. Another concern with these adulterated products is that the actual contents are not known and could pose a risk to the user,” the company said in a statement.