May 2021

Supplement improves glucose metabolism in women’s muscle

In a small trial, the muscles of women who took a supplement called nicotinamide mononucleotide for 10 weeks had improvements in their ability to process blood glucose, an important finding in the search for ways to help prevent or manage diabetes in people.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a compound that declines with aging and obesity, is thought to play a role in healthy glucose metabolism. The body needs nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) to produce NAD+. Studies have found that NMN could improve the ability of obese mice to process glucose and increase insulin sensitivity. NMN is currently marketed in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, though no studies have tested it in humans.

To fill this gap, researchers led by Dr. Samuel Klein from Washington University in St. Louis enrolled 25 postmenopausal women with prediabetes in a randomized clinical trial. Thirteen women received daily NMN supplements for 10 weeks, and 12 received placebo pills. The researchers analyzed glucose metabolism in muscles and took other measurements before and after supplementation. Results for the study were published on April 22, 2021, in Science.

After 10 weeks of treatment, NAD+ levels increased in the blood cells of women who had received NMN, but not those who took the placebo. Changes in certain proteins indicated that the muscles in women who took NMN produced and used more NAD+ than those in women who took the placebo. The ability of the muscles to use glucose in response to insulin increased by about 25%, an improvement similar to that seen after people lose about 10% of body weight.

Studies are continuing in both men and women.

Source: Yoshino M, Yoshino J, Kayser BD, et al.  Nicotinamide mononucleotide increases muscle insulin sensitivity in prediabetic women. Science. 2021 Apr 22:eabe9985.

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