Ramping Up NMN’s Efficacy With Resveratrol and Ginseng Compounds
There are many proposed efforts to boost NAD+ in the body, as declining levels of this compound are tied to aging. Although scientists have identified all sorts of mechanisms to do so, from NAD+ precursors like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) to compounds that affect synthesis pathways, the perfect combination has yet to be identified. So, researchers are searching for anti-aging “cocktails” that combine multiple health-supporting compounds to hopefully augment their beneficial effects.
Resveratrol and ginsenosides are two such plant compounds, found primarily in red grapes and ginseng. Although these natural molecules have shown promise for slowing down parts of the aging process and increasing NAD+ levels, current knowledge of their combined effects with supplemental NMN is relatively unknown. In a study published in Pharmacology Research and Perspectives, Bai and colleagues from the Macau University of Science and Technology in China show that combining NMN with resveratrol or ginsenosides significantly increases NAD+ levels, with each organ or tissue responding differently. With this research, the Macau scientists point to the potential future use of NMN combination therapies to target specific organs and their most common age-related disorders.
The Anti-Aging Qualities of NMN, Resveratrol, and Ginsenosides
Because of the direct link to increasing NAD+ levels, NMN has also been studied for its beneficial effects on various age-related conditions and improving markers of health and longevity. Some of the leading research areas on NMN include its link to supporting healthy blood flow and cardiovascular function, physical performance, and skin, eye, and liver health.
Resveratrol is also well-known for its antioxidant activity and is thought to support the aging process by activating SIRT1—an enzyme that plays an essential role in supporting the health of our cells and their energy powerhouses, the mitochondria.
The third compound studied in this research was the ginsenoside family—the primary active compound found in Panax ginseng, a plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine for alleviating inflammation. In this study, Bai and colleagues looked at the effects of NMN alone compared to NMN with resveratrol or ginsenosides in young adult mice.
The Tissue-Specific Synergy of NMN with Resveratrol or Ginseng
The research team first looked at NMN concentrations in various organs and tissues six hours after administering three different cocktails: NMN, NMN plus resveratrol, or NMN plus ginsenosides. They found that NMN and resveratrol worked best together in the heart, as adding resveratrol to the mix increased cardiac NMN levels by 1.39-fold compared to NMN alone.
The addition of ginsenosides also significantly improved NMN distribution in multiple organs. The NMN plus ginseng group had more than doubled NMN levels in the heart and lungs, with NMN levels increasing by more than four-fold in the brain and kidneys compared to NMN alone. Therefore, the action of resveratrol was more cardiac-focused, while ginseng compounds benefit multiple organs, with the brain and kidneys seeing the most considerable impact.
However, to fully understand the benefits of these compounds, we also need to know if NAD+ levels increased after these treatments. NMN on its own significantly increased NAD+ content in the liver and kidneys more than either combination treatment. However, in other organs, the results were more pronounced with the addition of either resveratrol or ginsenosides.
Compared to NMN alone, NMN plus resveratrol increased NAD+ in the heart and skeletal muscles by about 1.5-fold and 1.75-fold, respectively. When combined with ginsenosides, lung NAD+ levels increased almost two-fold compared to NMN alone.
An unexpected finding was that not only did NMN not significantly increase brain NAD+ levels but also that combination treatment with resveratrol or ginsenosides actually reduced brain NAD+ levels compared to the control group. The reason why the addition of these two compounds lowered NAD+ in the brain six hours later is unclear at this time and warrants further study.
Tailoring Anti-Aging Cocktails
The results from this study suggest that anti-aging cocktails could be targeted to specific organs or tissues. Targeting cardiovascular or muscular health with NMN plus resveratrol could be a viable option, as this combination had the most significant impact on heart and skeletal muscle NAD+ levels. Conversely, using NMN with ginsenosides could be most helpful in counteracting age-related lung function, as this organ exhibited a doubling of NAD+ levels with the combination treatment.
However, this study was small in size, only utilized young adult male mice, and did not test the effects of a triple threat combo of NMN, resveratrol, and ginsenosides. Therefore, research with an older population with varying health conditions could better elucidate the health and anti-aging effects of NMN, resveratrol, and ginsenosides—in combination or alone.
Bai LB, Yau LF, Tong TT, Chan WH, Zhang W, Jiang ZH. Improvement of tissue-specific distribution and biotransformation potential of nicotinamide mononucleotide in combination with ginsenosides or resveratrol. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2022;10(4):e00986. doi:10.1002/prp2.986