Which foods have the naturally highest quantity of NMN?

Many people hope to boost NMN levels through their diet, but which foods would be best to try?

A desire for a healthier and longer life is driving a move toward supplements containing the so-called miracle molecule NMN. These supplements offer many benefits including more energy, better focus, greater fitness levels and weight loss among others.

Most importantly, there is also evidence which suggests they may extend life expectancy. The trouble is that they can be expensive at $60 or more per bottle. People are naturally wondering if there’s any way they can get the same effects for less money through their diet.

Where is NMN found?

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) naturally occurs in all life forms and is available in certain whole foods. NMN in supplement form has recently become popular in the growing longevity supplement scene.

In molecular terms, it is a ribo nucleotide, a structural unit of the nucleic acid RNA. It is composed of a nicotinamide group, a ribose group, and a phosphate group.

What’s important to know, though, is that it’s a direct precursor of another vital molecule, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which helps your body maintain functions such as cellular energy, DNA repair, and your metabolic system.

NAD+ is consumed by enzymes such as mitochondria and sirtuins, crucial to fueling these systems. Without it, they slow down and eventually cease working, and this is exactly what happens as we age and NAD+ levels decrease. This is partly because our bodies become less effective at producing it, and more of it is consumed as our bodies work harder to repair the wear and tear of aging.

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Benefits to health and longevity

If you can increase NAD+ levels in the body, you should be able to slow the rate of aging. There is considerable clinical evidence that it can do so in yeast and mice, which is where NMN comes in.

Data suggests that NMN supplements can increase NAD+ biosynthesis, which lends weight to the assertion that it can be useful in slowing down the aging process.

Data suggests that NMN supplements can increase NAD+ biosynthesis, which lends weight to the assertion that it can be useful in slowing down the aging process. However, we still lack clear clinical trial evidence that it can increase human lifespan – mainly because such a trial would inevitably take decades.

NMN supplements, therefore, represent something of a leap of faith. All the evidence suggests they should work and that the gains can be substantial, but with high prices, it’s only natural to wonder if you can get the same impact just by changing your diet.

Read more about the benefits of NMN to health and longevity HERE

NMN-friendly food

There is some good news here. NMN can be found in fruits and vegetables including avocados, broccoli, cabbage, edamame and cucumbers. Including these as part of your daily diet can increase levels of NMN.

Unfortunately, there is a catch—the levels of NNM found in supplements are much higher than those you could possibly consume through a natural diet.

When replenishing NAD+, you are attempting to reverse a natural age-related decline in levels.
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When replenishing NAD+, you attempt to reverse a natural age-related level decline. By the time you’re 40, you’ll likely have around half the amount of NAD+ you had when you were younger. The gap you’re trying to bridge is pretty big.

Therefore, those hoping to recreate the effect of supplements might be disappointed. However, eating the right foods can still have an accumulative impact on NAD+ levels, slowing the rate of decline and leading to some anti-aging effects.

So, the next question is, which of these foods will have the most NMN?
A 2016 study found the following levels;

  • Cucumber and cabbage: 0.25-1.88mg of NMN per 100g.
  • Fruits like avocado and tomato: 0.26 to 1.60mg per 100g.
  • Raw beef, meat, and shrimp: These produce much lower amounts of NMN at around 0.06 to 0.42mg/100g.

Including these in your diet, therefore, will boost levels of NAD+ to some degree and help you reduce the effects of aging.

A healthy diet, in any case, will have a host of other benefits that can keep you healthier and younger for longer. Combining this with exercise can also boost NAD+ levels and make you generally healthier and less susceptible to many of the health risks you take NMN to avoid.

Maximizing NMN absorption from foods

Maximizing NMN absorption from foods involves understanding how this valuable compound interacts within the body and the best ways to incorporate NMN-rich foods into your diet.

Here are strategies to enhance the absorption and effectiveness of NMN through dietary sources:

1. Incorporate a variety of NMN-rich foods

Diversity in your diet ensures you get a broad spectrum of nutrients, including NMN. Foods like edamame, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, and avocado are known for their NMN content.

By including a variety of these foods in your meals, you maximize NMN intake and benefit from other essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants these foods offer.

2. Opt for whole, raw forms when possible

Some studies suggest raw or minimally processed NMN-rich foods may preserve nutrient content better than heavily processed options. For instance, raw broccoli or lightly steamed cabbage can provide more NMN than when these vegetables are boiled extensively or overcooked.

3. Combine NMN-rich foods with healthy fats

Fat can help with the absorption of many nutrients. Though NMN absorption is not directly increased by fats, incorporating healthy fats like those found in avocados or nuts can aid overall nutrient uptake and utilization.

Moreover, fats can increase the palatability of NMN-rich vegetables, encouraging their consumption.

4. Maintain regularity and balance

Consistency is key in nutrition. Regularly consuming NMN-rich foods as part of a balanced diet is more beneficial than sporadic intake. Ensure your meals are well-rounded, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, alongside NMN-rich foods to support overall health and nutrient absorption.

5. Consider food synergy

Food synergy refers to the idea that certain combinations can enhance nutrient absorption. For example, pairing vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits with NMN-rich vegetables may enhance overall antioxidant absorption and utilization, potentially increasing the effectiveness of NMN in the body.

6. Manage cooking methods

Some nutrients are sensitive to heat and can be degraded during cooking. To maximize NMN content, opt for cooking methods that preserve nutrients, such as steaming, blanching, or quick sautéing, rather than prolonged boiling or high-heat roasting.

7. Support gut health

Gut health is crucial in how nutrients, including NMN, are absorbed and utilized by the body. Consuming a diet high in fiber, probiotics (found in fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi), and prebiotics (found in foods like garlic, onions, and bananas) can support a healthy gut microbiome, potentially improving NMN absorption.

8. Stay hydrated

Adequate hydration is essential for optimal nutrient absorption. Water aids in transporting nutrients across the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. Ensure you drink enough daily water to support overall health and nutrient uptake.

Other natural ways to boost NAD+ levels

Boosting NAD+ levels is essential for maintaining cellular health, energy metabolism, and longevity. While incorporating NMN-rich foods into your diet naturally enhances NAD+ levels, other lifestyle and dietary strategies can further support this process.

Physical activity has been shown to increase NAD+ levels and improve the activity of enzymes involved in the NAD+ salvage pathway.

Regular exercise, especially endurance exercises like running, cycling, and swimming, can boost NAD+ production, enhancing cellular energy and overall health.

In various studies, caloric restriction, or reducing calorie intake without malnutrition, has been linked to increased NAD+ levels and extended lifespan. This practice can activate sirtuins, a family of proteins that depend on NAD+ and are associated with aging and metabolism.

In addition to NMN, other precursors to NAD+ like nicotinamide riboside (NR), tryptophan, and nicotinic acid (niacin) can also help boost NAD+ levels. Foods rich in these compounds include milk (for NR), fish, poultry, whole grains, and green vegetables. Incorporating these foods into your diet can support NAD+ synthesis.

Moreover, alcohol can negatively impact NAD+ levels by increasing the body’s NADH, the reduced form of NAD+, leading to an imbalance. Limiting alcohol intake can help maintain optimal NAD+ levels and support overall health.

Supplements vs diet

By comparison, most NMN supplements contain between 100mg and 300mg of NMN in each tablet. Taking one a day would produce more NMN than you could hope to get from your diet.

However, not all NMN supplements are created equally. Because of their high cost, plenty of other products on the market are either fake or lower quality. Some manufacturers have bulked out tablets with other ingredients that may be bad for your health.

If you choose the supplement route, therefore, it pays to look at products with a proven track record and that have demonstrated their effectiveness through independent studies.

A good diet can help replenish NMN levels, especially if you eat plenty of cabbage and cucumber. However, if you want a real boost, it pays to combine this with a regular course of NMN supplements.

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