Fertility Naturopath and Acupuncture Brisbane
Our busy modern lifestyles mean that more and more women around the globe are having children later in life and Australia is no exception. The average age of women giving birth in Australia has been increasing each year since the early seventies. In 2019, the average age of women giving birth in Australia was 31.5 years, compared to 26.4 years in 19791. Additionally, just over 24% of women who gave birth in 2018 were aged 35 and over2.
Conception can be more difficult with advanced age due to biological and cellular changes that occur in our bodies as we get older. In particular, the quality of our eggs (called oocytes) reduces with age due in part to DNA damage. Researchers in Australia have recently investigated a promising nutritional therapeutic that may have the potential to help improve fertility rates in older women by supplementing with a nutritional precursor to vitamin B3, called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)3.
What is NAD+, and what is NMN?
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is the coenzyme form of niacin, or vitamin B3. NAD+ is important in all cells of the body, as it is involved in chemical reactions that help cells to produce energy. It is also important for cellular DNA repair, preventing cell aging and for immune function in cells4. NAD+ levels decline with age, making it an especially important nutritional consideration with regards to fertility in older couples. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a precursor of NAD+. NMN converts to NAD+ in the body. Recent studies have shown that supplementing with this precursor molecule can be beneficial in boosting NAD+ levels and is an area that is gaining interest for health researchers5.
So, what were the findings of the Australian study? The study examined the role of NMN supplementation in older female mice3. It found that NAD+ levels inside the oocytes of mice declined with age, however 4 weeks of supplementation with NMN increased NAD+ levels inside oocytes, as well as increasing fertility. Mice who received the supplement had better ovulation rates, pregnancy, and live birth rates compared to untreated mice of the same age. Although this study was performed on animals not humans, it demonstrates a promising mechanism of action for this nutraceutical that has potential to confer wonderful benefits for older mothers wishing to conceive.
Supplementing with NMN
According to the study, more is not necessarily better, and in fact lower doses were optimal. The supplementation regimen used in the study was weight-based, but for a 50kg person would equate to around 500mg per day. As with any type of supplementation, it is important to speak to a health care professional to find out if it is right for you.
If you feel you may benefit from supplementation with NMN or if you would like to explore how integrative natural medicine, including Acupuncture, Naturopathy and Nutrition may help you on your fertility journey, feel free to contact Michelle Blum Integrative Natural Health here.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Births, Australia: Statistics about births and fertility rates for Australia, states and territories, and sub-state regions. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/births-australia/latest-release (2019).
2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s mothers and babies data visualisations. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/australias-mothers-babies-data-visualisations/contents/demographics-of-mothers-and-babies/maternal-age (2020).
3. Bertoldo, M. J. et al. NAD+ repletion rescues female fertility during reproductive aging. Cell Rep. 30, 1670–1681 (2020).
4. Covarrubias, A. J., Perrone, R., Grozio, A. & Verdin, E. NAD+ metabolism and its roles in cellular processes during ageing. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 22, 119–141 (2021).
5. Yoshino, J., Baur, J. A. & Imai, S.-I. NAD+ intermediates: The biology and therapeutic potential of NMN and NR. Cell Metab. 27, (2018).