The FDA is banning the popular anti-aging supplement called NMN.
This has been the major longevity headline over the last few weeks.
The regulatory agency reasons that the (naturally produced) NMN molecule should be classified as a drug. Thus, making it unavailable over the counter as a supplement.
The pharmaceutical company Metro International Biotech (Co-Founded by David Sinclair) has patented a new, expensive, prescription-only synthetic version of NMN called MIB-626.
Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to get similar effects without relying on an experimental new drug (backed by virtually zero research).
In this post, we’ll cover all the top ways to accomplish similar things to NMN and increase your cellular energy NAD+ levels. I’ll explain why I dislike MIB-626. Then your free NAD+ boosting options, over-the-counter replacements for MIB-626, and the best NMN alternatives.
The FDA Bans NMN
First of all, the FDA granted NMN the status of a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI). This permits selling a natural product as a dietary supplement.
So why was the dietary supplement NMN banned?
Basically, the ingredient must be legally marketed as a supplement before authorization for “new drug investigation”.
Metro International Biotech claims to have satisfied the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act’s (FDCA) requirements prior to β-NMN Beta-Nicotinamide Mononucleotide receiving the NDI designation.
Because of this, Dr. David Sinclair & Co seek to exclude NMN from the definition of dietary supplements.
So on October 11, 2022, the FDA revoked NMN’s status as a dietary supplement.
The FDA also stated that NMN does not naturally exist in foods. This is simply not true. Tomatoes, edamame, broccoli, cucumbers, shrimp, and avocado all contain trace amounts of NMN.
Something similar happened with the dietary supplement called N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) back in 2020. Everyone from research organizations to nonprofits, citizen scientists, and other groups fought back, and today, NAC is sold as an over-the-counter supplement again.
Hopefully, this happens with NMN. Before we explore the best NMN alternatives, you should know why I dislike the “super NAD booster” called MIB-626.
MIB-626 is a proprietary, synthetic, soon-to-be drug form of Beta-Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) created by Metro International Biotech. The primary difference between MIB-626 and the supplement NMN is the microcrystalline structure of the molecules.
MIB-626 is purported to be the same as NMN only more stable due to the molecular structure. Instability is one of the major issues with NMN supplements. By the time most products arrive at your doorstep, the NMN has already degraded and lost potency.
In case your want more about the science of boosting NAD+ levels with precursors like NR or NMN, I suggest you check out this article.
To summarize, NAD+ precursors like NMN and MIB-626 act like cellular fuel for cells. Helping protect them against age-induced damage.
MIB-626 Possible Dangers & Side Effects
Basic chemistry shows small molecular modifications can radically alter the profile and health effects of substances. Sometimes, the difference between a potent toxicant and a beneficial hormetic stressor.
Given the potential for serious adverse effects, we’d assume that a new molecule would have the backing of ample science. Especially before replacing a very similar natural alternative (NMN).
Well, a simple search through PubMed reveals ONE published trial. Yes, literally one paper. Compared to the ~1,800 on NMN & NR combined. A direct quote from the one peer-reviewed and published paper on MIB-626 (emphasis mine),
“However, early-phase trials of NAD precursors have yielded varying results and their pharmacokinetics remain incompletely understood.”
Scientists don’t know some mechanisms of the best-studied NAD+ precursors. Ones that’ve been on the market for years. Yet, in the single published paper on the subject, the authors of this paper concluded that MIB-626 is safe.
In all fairness to Metro International Biotech, they have begun a few other clinical trials.
But here’s the thing…
There’s no data yet showing MIB-626 is superior to typical NMN. NMN is well-studied, far cheaper, and less likely to have undiscovered side effects. And that’s just normal NMN.
For years, quality vendors have used “next generation”, highly stable, and enhanced bioavailability technologies such as liposomal encapsulation.
So no, MIB-626 is not “super NMN” or a “super NAD+ booster” until ample high-quality data shows its long-term safety and efficacy.
Top NMN & MIB-626 Alternatives to Boost NAD+
Contrary to popular belief, there are TONS of ways to increase NAD+ levels naturally or for very cheap.
With the FDA likely banning NMN, these will become even more valuable.
So here are a few of the best alternatives to NMN and MIB-626 to boost NAD and slow aging.
Stock Up On NMN Now
First and foremost, if you’re still able, you may want to stock up on NMN. Choose a high-quality vendor that pays attention to stability, and then a bioavailable form of nicotinamide mononucleotide. In this order, I like liposomal NMN, followed by sprays (intranasal and oral), then sublingual products, then enteric-coated NMN, and lastly, normal NMN powder. These products will slowly degrade with time (exposure to heat, light, moisture, oxygen), but you can dramatically slow the process via proper storage. I personally grabbed a bunch of different forms from Renue By Science. See this post for a complete list of quality NMN vendors.
Nicotinamide riboside is the other dominant NAD+ precursor. In fact, this was the original and most recommended for many years due to the abundant human research. Experts constantly debate over NMN or NR as the superior booster. One pattern emerging in the research is that NR seems better suited to target the brain, cognition, and neuroprotection. One late 2022 study did suggest that nicotinamide riboside may accelerate the growth of certain cancers, but I’m not convinced that it’s a unique quality of NR. We also don’t know the other metabolic changes nicotinamide riboside causes that may mitigate cancer. Likely similar to any anabolic nutrients (essential amino acids, mitochondrial enhancers, etc) that are also key to offsetting the age-associated decline. Anyway, it looks like this supplement will be available for a very long time. You can learn more about it in this roundup of the best nicotinamide riboside vendors.
Niacin, sometimes called nicotinic acid is vitamin B3. It has nothing to do with nicotine. Governments even use it to fortify certain foods. Nicotinamide riboside is actually very closely related to it. Yet niacin has a massive body of research highlighting safety and efficacy. Best of all, niacin is dirt cheap. Research also shows that niacin works great to quench NAD+ deficiency. People often recommend high-dose niacin, but that comes with other issues. First, it consumes important methyl groups, second, it activates mast cells. For most people, 25mg of non-timed, full-flush niacin gets the NAD+ boosting benefits.
Molecular Hydrogen (H2)
Scientists laud molecular hydrogen as the most promising antioxidant ever discovered. As the smallest molecule in the universe, H2 readily enters your cells to exert a protective effect. It’s also a selective scavenger, meaning that it doesn’t indiscriminately interfere with important and healthy cell signaling. Molecular hydrogen does two things to indirectly increase NAD+. First, it reduces stressors that deplete NAD+. Several papers show that H2 improves the critical ratio of NAD+/NADPH leading to longevity benefits. Since molecular hydrogen has all kinds of bioregulatory benefits, it’s a great addition to a longevity supplement stack. Click here to check out the top molecular hydrogen tablets, or if you want a major upgrade, this post explains why I use the AquaCure Brown’s Gas machine daily.
Apigenin is a bioflavonoid made popular by famed neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman. This one is naturally found in trace levels in polyphenol-rich (brightly colored) produce. The most publicized benefits of apigenin center around its effects on sleep, anxiety reduction, cognition, and longevity. It’s an autophagy activator, stress-resiliency enhancer, and most relevant, an NAD+ booster. Apigenin increases NAD+ by slowing its breakdown. One enzyme responsible for breaking down NAD is called CD38. Apigenin inhibits this enzyme, causing NAD+ levels to stay elevated. Check out this post to learn more about the research, science, and apigenin supplements.
The proper dose of any kind of exercise can increase NAD+ along with myriad other benefits. Cardiovascular “aerobics”, sprinting (here is a guide on sprinting, its benefits, and how it works), HIIT, or resistance training. Even some simple upgraded walking (called rucking) will help. This is severalfold. First, exercise causes our body to create more mitochondria (called mitochondrial biogenesis). Movement also stimulates NAMPT which activates longevity proteins called sirtuins and increases NAD+ production. Exercise has many “side benefits” and lean tissue mass is highly correlated with longevity. Hate working out? You can get profound benefits in 20-30 minutes per week with super slow training or the ultimate fitness hack called BFR.
Growth Hormone Secretagogues
Longevity doctors prescribe growth hormone because it’s often viewed as the hormonal fountain of youth due to its widespread protective and regenerative effects. Yet injecting growth hormone comes with side effects and consequences. Growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) are a special type of small molecule that gently “requests” the body to create more growth hormone. Instead, the GHS are safer, work great, and are easier to procure. Growth hormone, whether it’s directly injected or increased via GHS, causes the body to create far more mitochondria. More mitochondria lead to higher NAD+ levels. If you wish to learn more, I suggest you consult your doctor to design an optimal protocol and check out my roundup of the best longevity molecule vendors.
Another important small molecule on this list is one called 5-amino-1MQ. It’s quickly becoming a top choice among elite athletes, longevity scientists, and researchers. It seems to activate the protective gene called SIRT1, as well as improve metabolism. A study in mice showed 10 days of daily usage with no other diet/lifestyle changes led to a 7% decrease in body mass! Not bad for 10 days of supplementation. Researchers believe it reduces adipose deposits and shrinks fat cells. The other exciting mechanism behind the success of 5-Amino 1MQ is through the inhibition of NNMT. NNMT is one of the chief enzymes that break down NAD. So by inhibiting NNMT with 5-Amino 1MQ, NAD+ stays elevated. Regardless, this one is far more expensive than the others, so I suggest you start elsewhere. This one is quite difficult to find online. There’s only one source I trust that sells 5-Amino 1MQ at a reasonable price and as either: powder, capsule, or all-in-one longevity formula.
The circadian rhythm is an internal, natural process that governs our sleep/wake cycle. It’s responsible for shifting our biology to generate energy in the morning and wind down in the evening. A consistent circadian rhythm leads to naturally optimized NAD+ levels. That’s one reason light exposure has become such a hot topic in recent years. Another way to improve the circadian rhythm is through peptides like vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) which synchronize rhythms of the “clock genes”. Although optimizing your circadian rhythm is profoundly beneficial on its own, using a VIP supplement can make the process easier.
Last and my least favorite option, is to get nicotinamide mononucleotide sold as a research chemical. If, for some reason, none of the other options are available, certain molecules are available for lab research. Some online source sell all kinds of nootropics and designer molecules in the regulatory gray zone that for whatever reason, the FDA doesn’t like. If NMN gets banned, it’ll likely appear on these websites. Should you go this route, make sure to find a product that’s third-party lab tested for purity and safety. And in this case, remember, NMN isn’t for human consumption.
Powerful Ways to Increase NAD+ Levels Post-NMN Ban
The FDA’s decision to potentially remove NMN as a dietary supplement and longevity ingredient. It’s entirely possible that the ingredient will follow a similar fate to NAC, and eventually return to store shelves.
Especially when Metro International Biotech is trying to get their brand-new, expensive, unproven drug to replace NMN.
Even if they succeed, they cannot patent restoring and increasing NAD+ to its optimal levels. Luckily plenty of other affordable supplements and healthy lifestyle habits can accomplish something similar. This list is just the beginning.
I’m sure that better NAD precursors will take its place.
If you’re reading this before the ban, go to this post for a frequently updated list of top NMN supplements.
Otherwise, the other MIB-626 and NMN alternatives on this list will help you keep your NAD+ topped off.
Am I missing anything? Have you tried any of these? Let me know your experience in the comments below!