As the quest for better health, longevity, and improved quality of life continues, biohackers, health enthusiasts, and scientists alike are turning to the power within our biological functions - to the micronutrients, enzymes, and complex molecular compounds that naturally occur in our bodies. The journey into this microscopic realm has led many to the innovative frontiers of supplements such as Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and Astragalus, each promising increased vitality and longevity.
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)
NMN, a derivative of vitamin B3, plays a pivotal role in our body's energy production. As a precursor to Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme present in all living cells, the administration of NMN can combat NAD+ deficiency, an unfortunate biochemical reality that accompanies aging . Subsequently, an abundant supply of NMN promotes cellular repair and boosts energy levels by facilitating the conversion of nutrients into usable cellular energy.
In recent years, landmark research conducted by scientists at the Sinclair Lab at Harvard University has corroborated NMN's credence as an anti-aging supplement . Their findings illustrate that NMN administration enhances longevity and improves energy metabolism, cognitive functions, and overall physiological health by restoring cellular NAD+ levels.
Nature, too, proliferates powerful tonics for health and longevity in the form of botanicals, such as the perennial plant Astragalus membranaceus, a pillar in traditional Chinese medicine. Belonging to the pea family, this herb has a storied history, interwoven into the fabric of ancient healing for a multitude of diseases . Its primary active compounds, astragalosides, and polysaccharides have been linked to potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects.
Perhaps its most riveting biological property lies in its potential to activate telomerase, an enzyme responsible for adding unique DNA sequences, known as telomeres, to the ends of chromosomes. These telomeres effectively guard our genomic DNA, allowing cells to divide and reproduce without the risk of critical genetic information being lost or corrupted. Unfortunately, as with NAD+, our natural telomerase activity dwindles with age, resulting in progressively shortened telomeres and increased susceptibility to a spectrum of age-related diseases.
Astragalus, however, takes center stage in this plight against telomere shortening. Its active compound Astragaloside IV and a proprietary extract known as TA-65, have been demonstrated to activate telomerase, thereby potentially extending the lifespan of cells . Nevertheless, the long-term effects and safety profile associated with increasing telomerase activity remain to be thoroughly evaluated. Any potential benefit must be weighed against reported concerns that uncontrolled telomerase activation may trigger unregulated cellular reproduction akin to cancer .
Comparatively, NMN and Astragalus offer unique paths to promoting health and longevity. NMN lowers the drawbridge into youth by replenishing NAD+ levels, bolstering energy, enhancing cognitive function, and promoting cellular repair. Astragalus, on the other hand, possesses the potential to stave off the inevitable biological wear and tear by preserving the integrity of telomeres, alongside its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating properties.
Despite the relative infancy of telomerase-increasing therapeutics and the need for long-term safety evaluations, the potential of both NMN and astragalus cannot be overlooked in the pursuit of health optimization and aging gracefully. However, striking the right balance, knowing the appropriate dosages, understanding potential interactions, and identifying high-quality sources are all keys to harnessing the power of these compounds safely.
On this journey of exploration and discovery at the intersection of science and nature, it is always wise to process new information in consultation with healthcare or medical professionals. Ultimately, the pursuit of longevity and an enriching life boils down to an orchestra of many notes, not merely a one-man show. Different instruments, in the form of diverse health practices and supplements like NMN and Astragalus, play together creating a harmonious symphony of wellness, where benefits are etched not in isolation, but in context.