Waiting to take a drug before it’s been tested on humans in a clinical setting is typically the right thing to do. That is unless you’re desperate to reverse the signs of aging as soon as possible: Then you can click right on over to Amazon and order a bottle of nicotinamide mononucleotide anti-aging pills for $57.99.
These pills, however, are not guaranteed to work: Nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN for short, is a nucleotide compound steadily gaining a reputation in the scientific community as something that can possibly reverse mitochondrial decay — which fade as we age, causing health problems. Experiments with mice have found that NMN can reverse brain mitochondrial respiratory deficits (which relate to Alzheimer’s disease), age-induced diabetes, and age-linked declines in eyesight.
NMN hasn’t been tested on humans — but it will be soon. A joint trial between Keio University in Japan and Washington University in Missouri will begin testing the compound on humans this July. The study sample will be small, only ten people, but if successful will prove to be a very big deal.
It also will be completely financially supported by the Japanese government which definitely has some skin in the anti-aging game: Japan has one of the highest proportions of elderly citizens in the world, something that is likely to be a huge burden on the country’s health care services. The hope is that something like NMN could prove to make the lives of this elderly population less restricted once the natural process of aging begins to afflict the body. If found safe, Japan Times says NMN will be distributed as a product similar to “food with functional claims.”
NMN is thought to work because it affects the compound sirtuin. In 2013, researchers at the University of New South Wales found that sirtuin was an enzyme that, when targeted by a drug, could prevent age-related disease.
So far there’s no word as to how long this clinical trial will be. But if you want the untested version, remember that you can always buy some potentially sketchy pills on the internet.