The battle of the NAD+ precursors – NAM, NR, NMN
- NAM is the most common form of vitamin B3, readily available in our diet and easily converted to NAD+ through the salvage pathway.
- NR and NMN are more potent in elevating NAD+ levels but are more expensive than NAM.
- NAM’s safe and long-standing use as a supplement, availability, and ease of conversion into NAD+ makes it a practical and cost-effective choice for some people.
It is possible to boost your body’s NAD+ levels by supplementing with NAD+ precursors, like nicotinamide (NAM), nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and nicotinamide riboside (NR). But which precursor is the best? Let’s explore them!
NAM1 is the simplest and most common form of vitamin B3, readily available in our diet and easily converted to NAD+ through the salvage pathway. This means that the body can quickly and efficiently use NAM as a precursor for NAD+ synthesis.
In contrast, once NR is absorbed, it is converted into NAD+ through a series of chemical reactions in our body. NR2 must first be converted to NMN, which is then converted to NAD+.
NMN3 is a more direct precursor to NAD+ than NR. However, compared to NAM, NMN requires an additional step of conversion to become NAD+. This conversion occurs via the enzyme NMNAT (nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase), which adds a molecule of adenylic acid to NMN to produce NAD+. While this process is still relatively efficient, it is not as straightforward as NAM’s conversion to NAD+.
While all three NAD+ precursors are effective, NR and NMN have been shown to be more potent in elevating NAD+ levels. However, the cost of supplementing NR and NMN4 is usually much higher compared to NAM. NR and NMN are more expensive as they are relatively new discoveries and are still undergoing research and development, thereby driving up their cost. Additionally, NR and NMN are less abundant in food sources and require more complex and expensive manufacturing processes, including enzymatic conversions and purifications. On the other hand, NAM is less expensive as it is readily available in many food sources and can be easily synthesized in large quantities from niacin, a common form of vitamin B3.
Ultimately, the optimal choice of NAD+ precursor may vary depending on individual needs and goals. NAM’s safe and long-standing use as a supplement, availability and ease of conversion into NAD+ may make it a more practical and cost-effective choice for some people.
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