New Optima NMN-C® supplements to boost NAD+ levels, Elevant founder breaks down the facts around NMN purity
Elevant launches new Optima supplement to boost NAD+ levels and aims to dispel “myths” about NMN purity.
Hitting the shelves in September, the daily dietary supplement comes in chewable tablet form, which the company says has been optimised to keep you feeling energised all day by controlling how the supplement’s active ingredient, NMN-C, is absorbed into the blood. The company claims that NMN-C, a high purity form of nicotinamide mononucleotide, “works within cells to support cognitive function, maintain daylong energy and focus, and promote balanced mood and quality sleep.”
“NAD+ has been demonstrated to mediate multiple major biological processes in the brain,” said Elevant Chief Scientist, Dr Alessia Grozio. “NMN treatment has also been shown to improve cognition. Increasing NAD+ concentrations via supplementation of effective NAD+ intermediaries like NMN – the active ingredient in Optima – is a highly promising mechanism for supporting overall brain health and potentially delaying the onset or slowing the progression of elements of cognitive decline.”
Longevity.Technology: The decline in NAD+ levels in our bodies as we age is linked to the hallmarks of aging and is thought be involved in a wide range of age-related conditions. As a result, there is a growing interest in supplements that claim to boost NAD+, such as those containing NMN-C like Elevant’s latest OPT product.
Our 2021 longevity supplements survey found that purity of products was a significant concern for consumers. Customers want a supplement that is efficacious and subject to rigorous quality control, but can be lured by cheaper products that may not have been subject to all the tests and safety measures that ensure what they are buying is of the highest quality.
Elevant is currently undertaking an extensive program of clinical NMN research, so with that in mind, we asked the company for its views on one of the most prevalent claims in the NMN market: purity. Elevant founder Guillaume Bermond provided the following perspective.
Dispelling five myths about NMN purity
Claims about purity often don’t tell the full story when it comes discovering the health benefits of this important molecule.
Awareness of NMN supplements as an easy, accessible method of supporting wellbeing, energy and healthy aging has grown rapidly as the body of scientific research around it expands. Along with this increased awareness has come an explosion in demand. The global NMN market, already worth more than $100 million a year, is forecast to increase by almost ten per cent a year for the next five years.
This has led to a raft of new brands offering NMN supplements, with many promoting their product using claims like ‘99% pure NMN’, ‘only pure NMN’, or ‘purest NMN available’. If you’ve ever searched online trying to find the best NMN supplement, chances are you’ve encountered these kinds of statements.
Making claims about purity makes marketing sense. The word ‘pure’ holds powerful positive associations for all of us. But purity is not the only – or even the most important – thing you should look for in an NMN supplement.
When it comes to your health, products that can demonstrate quality, safety, testing and that are underpinned by expert guidance and scientific rigor should be at the top of your list.
Here are five common myths that show you should look beyond claims about purity when deciding which NMN supplement is best for you.
Myth 1: Purity equals safety
It’s not just about knowing what’s in your NMN, it’s also about knowing what isn’t.
One of the key elements that determines the safety of commercially produced NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) are the ‘impurities’. Anything that differs from the chemical composition of the main material or compound (in this case, the NMN itself) is considered an impurity. During synthesis of raw NMN, impurities may be incidentally, accidentally or purposefully added.
In reality, there are no 100% pure chemical compounds. There will always be some minute percentage of impurities. Which makes testing and analysis of each batch of nicotinamide mononucleotide crucial to be certain that any impurities are not harmful to humans.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that the NMN which ends up in the hands of consumers has not undergone testing and analysis of its impurities. Many brands purchase NMN from third-party suppliers, who promote their product with claims of high purity, but do not necessarily evaluate or disclose the impurities in it. Examples of impurities which have been found in raw supplement ingredients include traces of metals and inorganic matter, as well as pharmacologically active ingredients.
The only way to be sure that NMN which claims to be pure is also safe is if the manufacturer has taken the extra step to test the impurities. At Elevant, we test every batch of our NMN, so we know that the miniscule amounts of any non-NMN ingredients are completely safe. After all, 99% purity is irrelevant if the remaining 1% is no good for you.
Myth 2: Quality and purity are the same thing
NMN supplement brands, like all supplement providers, are responsible and accountable to regulatory bodies for ensuring that supplements are safe and unadulterated. However, this responsibility is not always met. Given the sheer number of products for sale in an ever-growing number of online retailers, many instances of poor manufacturing standards are not uncovered regulators.
There is no guarantee that even NMN supplements that claim a high level of purity are of an acceptable level of quality. A better determinant of the quality of an NMN supplement is whether it has been made in CGMP-certified facilities.
CGMP refers to the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration regulates the production and sale of pharmaceutical drugs, supplements and other health-related products).
CGMPs assure that quality is built into the design and manufacturing process at every step. It means that the facilities making a product are in good condition, equipment is properly maintained and calibrated, employees are qualified and fully trained, and processes are reliable and reproducible.
It is common for NMN brands to create supplements using NMN purchased from third-party suppliers. Yet, regardless of how pure that nicotinamide mononucleotide is, unless the finished product is manufactured in a CGMP-certified facility there is no guarantee of a recognized, formal system of controls to help prevent instances of contamination, mix-ups, deviations, failures and errors.
Thanks to the global nature of modern manufacturing, facilities outside the USA can also gain CGMP accreditation from the FDA. Choosing products that are labelled CGMP is an easy way to give yourself peace of mind that your NMN supplement is made using scientifically sound design, processing methods, and testing procedures, and meets high quality standards.
Myth 3: Purity means transparency
Because supplements are not regulated in most countries, many providers don’t go through the hassle and expense of quality control to verify the safety and tolerability of their active ingredients.
Rather than provide transparency through rigorous assessment and testing, it is common to create an image based on vague statements about features like purity. But it is transparency through testing that is more reliable marker of NMN quality.
One way to judge if a brand’s NMN has undergone expert assessment is if it has been granted Self-GRAS status. This means that a panel of food nutrition specialists have deemed it Generally Recognized as Safe (hence the term GRAS) in accordance with stringent US FDA regulatory guidelines.
For example, in November 2020 an independent panel of toxicology and nutrition experts rigorously evaluated research studies and toxicology data on our proprietary form of nicotinamide mononucleotide, called NMN-C. They concluded that it is not harmful under its intended conditions of use, which resulted in NMN-C receiving Self-GRAS status.
This endorsement not only adds an extra level of validity to the ingredient in the eyes of the industry, but also provides consumers with additional validation of quality and safety.
Brands that take safety seriously test their own products and publish the results. This ensures they have the most accurate information possible about dosage and tolerability for a specific product, which in turn delivers peace of mind and better safety outcomes for consumers.
An example of this kind of scrutiny is a toxicology study that we undertook on NMN-C. The study analysed the No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL). Establishing the exact NOAEL for our specific form of NMN enables us to know precisely the upper tolerability levels for males and females, which informs our guidance around dosage. It also demonstrated that NMN-C is an extremely well-tolerated option in comparison to other common NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) boosters.
Without undertaking testing on our own NMN, we would not know the exact toxicology profile of our molecule. Unfortunately for consumers, this level of analysis and transparency is not widespread within the NAD+ boosting and supplement industries.
Myth 4: Pure is premium
Not all NMN supplements are created equal.
Given NMN’s high manufacturing costs, it’s not uncommon for NMN sold online to be adulterated or low quality. Sometimes it’s not even NMN at all – the China National Food Industry Association has reported cases of niacinamide (which often causes an unwelcome ‘flushing’ effect) and niacin being sold as nicotinamide mononucleotide supplements. Examples of brands trying to create a façade of legitimacy by using claims about purity are not hard to find.
In recent years, third-party internet trading platforms have developed rapidly all over the world. This has made it easy for consumers to access products that were previously unavailable. But it has also made it much more difficult for regulatory authorities to take timely, targeted measures to resolve risks and to ensure consumer food and drug safety.
Online platforms have rules in place to try to prevent the sale of counterfeit products and false propaganda (which often involves claims about purity when it comes to supplements). However, the immense number of products on offer (Amazon’s catalogue contains about 350 million products, while Tmall – China’s biggest online marketplace – hosts over 70,000 brands) makes it challenging for retailers to fulfil their audit responsibilities.
It’s important to look beyond simple claims about purity when searching for a quality NMN supplement online. Instead, look for concrete indicators of quality like CGMP manufacturing, Self-GRAS status, independent testing and European manufacturing. Even more reliable are brands that undertake clinical NMN research to ensure their product is effective and grounded in scientific rigor.
This way, you can be sure you receive the best NMN: safe, tested, and trustworthy.
Myth 5: Pure NMN is tested NMN
Claims about purity are one thing. Undertaking deep analysis and evaluation through clinical trials is a true indicator of safety and quality.
If a company subjects its active ingredient to clinical (in-human) and preclinical testing, it’s a strong indication that it is confident its product meets stringent levels of quality and safety. It also demonstrates that it values the principles of strictness, legality, openness, rationality, and science.
Clinical trials are the gold-standard for testing the safety and effectiveness of health interventions. They are conducted by research teams that include doctors and other medical professionals and are overseen by many regulatory bodies.
It’s rare that providers of NAD+ boosters undertake clinical or preclinical trials on their products. A key reason for this is that, because of the significant expertise and resources involved, clinical and preclinical trials are very expensive. Another is that a thorough, end-to-end understanding is required of the origin, manufacturing, chemical profile and makeup of the ingredient being tested.
A final reason is that the scientific development of a cutting-edge health intervention like NMN is best guided by experts in the field. This usually takes the form of a Scientific Advisory Board. Members of a Scientific Advisory Board are leaders in a specific area of research and play a vital role in shaping a program of testing that not only validates safety and/or effectiveness, but also expands the body of knowledge for the scientific community.
At Elevant, we are undertaking one of the largest clinical research programs assessing the effects of NMN in humans to date. We are evaluating how supplementation with our NMN-C can support a range of biological functions vital to overall wellbeing and healthy aging. Our Scientific Advisory Board, made up of internationally recognized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide experts, has been integral in establishing this ground-breaking program of research.
How to choose the best NMN
While there is no doubt that purity is important, it is by no means the only factor to consider when deciding what is the best NMN supplement for you. More reliable indicators include whether it has been tested for impurities, produced in facilities with formalized quality manufacturing standards, evaluated by experts and verified safe, and is underpinned by robust science and clinical research.
Choosing a supplement that satisfies these important criteria will ensure you’re in the best possible position to experience the many benefits to health that boosting NAD+ with NMN can deliver.