Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is one of a small number of molecules that might very modestly slow some of the effects of aging, based on a few initial results from animal studies. Recently, news has emerged of a forthcoming small trial in humans to be conducted by the Japanese research community. NMN is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), important in mitochondrial function, which is in turn important in the progression of degenerative aging. At this point in time skepticism is the appropriate response, however, given the small amount of data for beneficial effects in animals and the past history of this sort of research, which typically starts with hype and ends with nothing of any use. Drugs to tinker with the operation of metabolism in order to modestly slow aging are in any case a bad use of time and effort when there are potential means of rejuvenation that might be developed instead, based on repair of the cell and tissue damage that causes aging. Thus, all in all, this news is of greatest interest for the insight it provides into changing opinions and support for the goal of treating aging in Japanese society:
Researchers plan to begin a joint clinical study in Japan to test the safety and effectiveness in humans of a compound that is gradually being proved to retard the aging process in animals, scientists have said. If approved, researchers plan to begin giving the compound - nicotinamide mononucleotide (see below) or NMN - to about 10 healthy people to confirm its safety. They will then examine whether NMN can improve functions of the human body. The clinical study is scheduled to begin as early as next month. The planned clinical study will use NMN by treating it as food. If it is found to be safe for humans and has any benefits, NMN will likely be distributed as a product similar to "food with functional claims."
Progress in the study of a substance believed to help slow the aging process may reduce medical and nursing-care expenses, according to specialists. How to prolong people's healthy life span is an important task for Japan's rapidly aging society. The study of the reportedly age-retarding substance may make it possible for elderly people to live their daily lives free of restrictions. Starting next fiscal year, the Japanese government will make full-fledged efforts to promote projects aimed at slowing the aging process, using a large amount of budgetary appropriations for this endeavor. The move is expected to promote research activities in this field of study.