Can NMN Be Used to Enhance Your Fertility?
Arianna Ferrini, PhD
A successful pregnancy relies heavily on the quality of a women's eggs. The quality and quantity of a women's’ eggs significantly begins to decline from her mid-30s, resulting in fewer eggs likely to reach maturity, or easily fertilised. Moreover, the egg cells are not renewed during a woman’s lifetime, so every egg cell is as old as the woman herself. Thus with age the eggs become more and more genetically unstable, resulting in more chances of DNA damage or chromosomal defects that might contribute to infertility, stillbirth, or chromosomal disorders in newborns.
There are several reasons for reduced egg fertility, including:
- Nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin B, omega- 3 fatty acids, iron, iodine, zinc and Vitamin D
- Slow functioning thyroid gland/Hypothyroidism
- Later age pregnancy
In recent decades, there has been an increase in demand for fertility treatments, as women are choosing to delay starting a family. Fertility treatments, often a long process, may be invasive and expensive. As such, the more a woman can do to maintain optimal fertility and health of her eggs, the better her chances will be to conceive naturally.
Recently, a very interesting molecule has emerged as a promising treatment to increase fertility. This molecule is called NMN, which stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide.
Let’s see how it works, and what the science says.
Maintaining Healthy NAD+ Levels is Key
Our bodies naturally produce NAD+ from NMN, a vitamin B derivative. After water, NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), is the most abundant molecule in the body. It plays an important role in generating energy, without which, life doesn’t exist. Research shows that NAD+ levels decline with age, causing a build-up of DNA damage, and age related conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, loss of muscle strength, metabolic disorders, and infertility. This leads to cells being less able to repair and maintain their DNA, especially the egg cells that are vulnerable to DNA damage. Thus, maintaining optimal levels of NAD+ slows down the aging process, and prevents several factors that lead to infertility. Since supplying the body with NMN boosts NAD+ levels in the body, researchers are showing great interest in studying the beneficial effects of NMN on fertility.
NMN & Fertility
Professor David Sinclair, one of the most well-known longevity researchers, states that not only do women taking NMN see an improvement in energy levels and metabolic health, they also see increased fertility.
In 2020, two important studies were published showing promising results of NMN supplementation improving fertility. The first study shows that NMN supplementation increases the NAD+ content inside a woman’s eggs, and improves egg maturation by maintaining a correct DNA structure. This is important because abnormal DNA structure in the eggs may lead to infertility, miscarriages or birth defects.
Interestingly, results from this study also demonstrated that NMN supplements strengthen the ability of the eggs to bind to sperm, making fertilization more likely to occur.1 The second study2, showed that older mice receiving NMN supplementation had the quality of their egg cells restored, improved ovulation rate, and improved quality of blastocysts (small clumps of cells from which the embryo is formed).
If you are trying to conceive, you will know that good quality eggs are essential for success, as they are the starting point for a healthy embryo. What is important to highlight, is that until now, no treatment is known to preserve, or rejuvenate egg quality, which makes NMN supplementation so interesting. As the research stands, NMN seems to be promising for optimising fertility by improving egg quality.
Factors that aid in fertility
- Healthy weight- being overweight or significantly underweight can inhibit normal ovulation.
- Minimizing stress- practicing healthy coping methods — such as relaxation techniques will help conceive
- Getting the timing right- tracking your ovulation/fertile window using several methods such as ovulation kits, measuring basal body temperature, wearable fertility trackers.
- Supplements- Folic acid (400 mcg), omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D are beneficial
- Exercise- a sedentary lifestyle is linked to infertility, moderate exercise can has positive effects on fertility
About Arianna Ferrini
Arianna is a postdoctoral research fellow at University College London (UK). She holds a PhD in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine from Imperial College London (UK) and an MSc in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Florence (Italy). She's an enthusiastic science communicator and works as a freelance writer and editor.