NMN vs NR - The NAD+ precursor comparison

NMN and NAD+ have been gaining popularity owing to their excellent health benefits. NAD+ or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide is a vital molecule vital to human survival. Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) and nicotinamide riboside (NR) are biosynthetic precursors to NAD+. Before we dive in the NMN vs NR comparison let's explain what NAD+ is exactly.

NMN vs NR - The NAD+ Precursor comparison. Image of molecules.

NAD+ is an essential molecule for the metabolism which decreases as one undergoes metabolic stresses. The older one gets, the more the NAD+ levels in the cells decline. Low levels of NAD+ are associated with fatigue, age-related muscle loss, cognitive decline, eyesight and hearing loss, and even a shorter lifespan.

Not just that but deficiency of NAD+ also leads to a decrease in metabolism, which leads to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, and other metabolic disorders. It then becomes essential to maintain higher levels of NAD+ to protect one's epigenome and DNA. NAD+ is vital to cellular metabolism as it turns nutrients into cellular energy. NAD+ also activates sirtuins which are proteins that regulate cellular health.

Numerous studies suggest that NAD+ levels decrease significantly during aging. With the restoration of NAD+ levels in aged animals, all this extends lifespan and promotes health. Many biotechnology companies have started looking into NMN to treat aging and related diseases. Taking NR and NMN increases NAD+ levels. All humans get NAD+ in their bodies thanks to a diet filled with NAD+ precursors in them. It leads to many health benefits for multiple organs, such as the brain, cardiovascular system, and muscles.

How do NMN vs NR, the precursors of NAD, work?

Nicotinamide Riboside or NR is an NAD+ precursor. NR has to first be converted to nicotinamide mononucleotide. Then it has to be converted to NAD+. NMN, on the other hand, is a direct precursor of NAD+. This means that NMN can be made from either NR or nicotinamide.

In terms of market availability, there are several NR and NMN supplements products available in the market. For NR, this includes powder and capsules. Oral NR with a weight of up to 1,000 milligrams a day has no side effects and flushing. But in the case of NMN, up to 500 milligrams of a single dose has no side effect on the body. However, fewer NMN products are available in powder and capsule form.

Buy Liposomal NMN Capsules

Research on these two molecules shows supplementation with either increased NAD+ levels. But what are some other factors one must consider when trying to differentiate between these NAD+ precursor molecules? While considering the difference between NMN vs NR, studies have never been studied side by side in humans. However, the most significant difference between NMN and NR is the molecule size. NMN is larger than NR, which means that NMN often needs to be broken down to fit into the cell. To gauge some other key differences between NMN vs NR, here are some major factors determining which is the better of the two:


NMN vs NR pathway difference

The major factors and differences

  1. Pathway Comparison for NMN vs NR: Compared to NR, NMN is already one step further down the pathway to produce NAD+. NR is first converted to NMN, and the NMN is used to build NAD+. At the same time, NR first needs to be phosphorylated to create NMN, which then is made into NAD+.

  2. Size Difference for NMN vs NR: NMN & NR molecules are smaller than NAD+ molecules. NAD+ is twice the size of NR & NMN. Out of the two, NR is smaller. While all 3 molecules have a low molecular weight, NMN needs to be broken down to fit into the cell.

  3. Bioavailability for NMN vs NR: NR appears to be more bioavailable than nicotinamide. NR supplements are taken orally to support NAD+ levels in human blood and skeletal tissue. NMN supplements can help NAD+ levels in various tissues, including the brain; these studies were done in rodents.

  4. Palatability for NMN vs NR: Both NAD+ & NMN are widely taken sublingually as the taste is palatable. On the other hand, NR has to be consumed in pill form.

  5. Clinical Trials for NMN vs NR: Several clinical trials of NR have been completed. This includes randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs). However, no studies have looked at the effect on NAD+ levels in humans. In the case of NMN, there has been only one result published.

  6. Stability for NMN vs NR: Another downside to NR is that it is not stable by itself. In comparison to NMN, NR needs chloride to make it stable.

  7. Taste for NMN vs NR: The taste of Nicotinamide Riboside Chloride is unpalatable as powder-form also. This leads to the production of NR as pills and capsules. Given that NR needs to be a consumer in capsule form, NR must pass through the stomach and liver. There is gets metabolized, which reduces its effectiveness.

NMN is better than NR?

Presently, scientific evidence suggests that NMN is better than NR as NMN is further down the NAD+ production pathway. On a molecular level, NMN resembles NAD+ than NR. Studies show more impressive results of NMN on many aging mechanisms than for NR. 

Many well-known experts on NAD+ metabolism consume NMN and not NR. This suggests the increasing confidence in NMN, which might hint at something. As is the case with some amino acids, it is important to supplement the human body with NAD+. Even though NR and NMN can be found in many foods, it is present in trace amounts. One cannot eat enough to boost the body’s NAD+ levels. As a result, supplementing with an NAD+ precursor, preferable NMN, can help mitigate this decline in the body’s nutrients.




When considering NMN vs NAD, research indicates that transformation between NR and NMN must take place to enter a few types of cells. NMN is one of the fastest means of stimulating NAD production. NMN can also be added directly to cells without converting to NAD, except for the NAD metabolic pathway. This cyclic process is made possible by newly discovered transport proteins that increase after NAD reduces. In this form, NMN contributes to cell energy while promoting anti-aging properties. Thus, allowing cells with adequate ability to grow and regenerate.

One’s decision to supplement with NMN and NAD provides a much more direct path to promoting cell metabolism. Hence proves to be a faster means of doing the same. In addition, NMN can even be used to improve insulin activity and production. It results in additional metabolic benefits and glucose tolerance. NMN supplements can also alleviate metabolic conditions like diabetes, fatty liver disease, and obesity in particular. While it would not be fair to gauge NMN vs NAD, NMN supplements on their own are also proving to have their anti-aging benefits beyond those of NAD production alone.

To increase your body intake of NMN at a price that doesn't hurt your wallet or your health, check out our offerings of NMN boosters here. It is time to increase your lifespan and repair DNA damage. Get ready!



1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047637421001391

2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34553119/