(NMN or NR) Nicotinamide Riboside or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide: Which Is Best?

If you’ve been looking at anti-ageing supplements, then the chances are you’ll have heard of nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). There is a lot of hype around both, so you might be wondering what the difference is. You may also be wondering which one works best.

Below, we will explain exactly how they work and most importantly, we will explain which organic supplements in the UK offer the greatest health benefits.

However, there’s another substance you need to know about first…

Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+)

Also known by the slightly easier name of NAD+. Every cell of your body contains this essential co-enzyme . NAD+ is a critical part of cellular energy production. It’s also involved in essential processes such as:[1][2] 

  • Metabolism of food
  • DNA repair 
  • Circadian rhythms (e.g. your sleep-wake cycle)

Your body creates NAD+ mostly from dietary vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is referred to as a “precursor” of NAD+.

There are eight different variations of B3, including nicotinamide riboside (NR), nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), and a common type called niacin. Each one goes through its own specific process in order to reach the cell, where it’s used as a “building block” to create NAD+. 

That’s where the important distinction between NR and NMN begins. 

NMN or NR? Nicotinamide Mononucleotide or Nicotinamide Riboside

In order to create NAD+, NR and NMN must first enter the cell. NR is able to do this directly, but NMN is too big. NMN must be converted to NR, enter the cell, and then be converted back to NMN before it can be used.

Compared to the speed and ease of using NR, the conversion of NMN costs your cells more energy to use and may even yield less NAD+ as a result. With this in mind, using NMN instead of NR seems to make little sense from an efficiency perspective. 

Research into the benefits of increasing your NAD+ levels has focused mainly on NR to date, therefore, there is not as much evidence in favour of using NMN. However,  that’s not to say it doesn’t have benefits of its own. We will only use ingredients with proven, evidence-based benefits in our range of supplements. Therefore, we have chosen NR over NMN for our NAD+ booster supplement.

To clarify, here’s what nicotinamide riboside has to offer…


NMN or NR – which is better?


The Benefits of Nicotinamide Riboside


  1. Promotes healthy ageing  

Firstly, of several forms of B3 tested in a lab, NR has been shown to be the most effective at raising NAD+ levels.[3] The main evidence-based benefit of this increased NAD+ is a positive effect on the ageing process. 

Although we’re not yet sure why, we know that NAD+ production drops as we age. This decline is linked to a number of age-related conditions like vision loss and heart disease, as well as chronic illnesses like diabetes.[1] However, several studies on animals have shown that raising NAD+ levels can halt this decline.[4][5]

This healthy ageing effect is thought to be down to two protein groups called sirtuins and PARPs. Both of these are stimulated by NAD+. Among their many benefits, both are known to help repair damaged DNA, and sirtuins also regulate the stress response and fight harmful inflammation. These are all major factors in age-related decline. [6][7][8][9][10]

  1. May protect the brain 

Ageing takes a toll on the mind as well as the body, with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease on the rise. Thankfully, it’s believed that increasing NAD+ can help to keep your brain healthy too. 

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are both linked to oxidative stress and dysfunction of the brain cells.[11][12][13] NAD+ is responsible for a protein that can prevent this damage and protect the brain cells, which can help in keeping your brain healthy for longer.[14]

One study of mice with Alzheimer’s disease found that NR significantly boosted levels of NAD+ and this protective protein, improving the cognitive performance of the mice.[15]

Another test-tube study showed that NR improved cellular function in cells taken from a Parkinson’s patient.[16]

While we still need more studies to confirm these effects in humans, this makes NR a promising supplement for protecting the brain and keeping you sharp well into old age.  

  1. May lower the risk of heart disease

As you get older, your risk of heart disease significantly increases, and you’re more vulnerable to dangerous cardiac conditions like hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. 

Several studies have found that raising NAD+ levels with nicotinamide riboside can protect against cardiac disease. For example, in one human study, adults experienced lower blood pressure after taking NR,[17] and in an animal study, age-related damage to the arteries was reversed.[18]

Is Nicotinamide Riboside Safe? 

NR is generally considered safe when it is used as directed.

No harmful effects were seen in studies where people were given 1000-2000mg doses.[19][20]  However, this is far above the daily dosage of 2x250mg you’d find in a supplement like our Nicotinamide Riboside with Astaxanthin. 

Some people do report mild side effects like nausea, bloating and headaches, but these tend to pass quickly. However, if you experience severe side effects, stop taking the supplement and see your doctor for advice. And of course, if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a pre-existing medical condition, always speak to your doctor before taking a supplement to be on the safe side. 

The Verdict on Nicotinamide Riboside or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide

To sum up, both increase NAD+ and are likely to have a positive effect on ageing and brain health. However, NR is by far the most efficient and has been proven to increase NAD+ levels more than several other types of B3. There’s also much more research supporting the benefits of NR. For that reason, we recommend nicotinamide riboside over nicotinamide mononucleotide. So try it for yourself now with Feel Supreme’s Nicotinamide Riboside with Astaxanthin. Feel Supreme offers other beneficial organic supplements such as himalayan shilajit, liquid chlorophyll, lions mane mushroom.


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[1] Johnson, S., & Imai, S. (2018). NAD+ biosynthesis, aging, and disease. F1000 Research, 7, 132. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.12120.1

[2] Cantó, C., Menzies, K. J., & Auwerx, J. (2015). NAD+ Metabolism and the Control of Energy Homeostasis: A Balancing Act between Mitochondria and the Nucleus. Cell Metabolism, 22(1), 31–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2015.05.023

[3] Trammell, S. A. J., Schmidt, M. S., et al. (2016). Nicotinamide riboside is uniquely and orally bioavailable in mice and humans. Nature Communications, 7(1), 12948. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12948

[4] Frederick, D. W., Loro, E., et al. (2016). Loss of NAD Homeostasis Leads to Progressive and Reversible Degeneration of Skeletal Muscle. Cell Metabolism, 24(2), 269–282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.07.005

[5] Imai, S., & Guarente, L. (2016). It takes two to tango: NAD+ and sirtuins in aging/longevity control. Npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, 2(1), 16017. https://doi.org/10.1038/npjamd.2016.17

[6] Haigis, M. C., & Sinclair, D. A. (2010). Mammalian Sirtuins: Biological Insights and Disease Relevance. Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease, 5(1), 253–295. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.pathol.4.110807.092250

[7] Satoh, A., Stein, L., & Imai, S. (2011). The Role of Mammalian Sirtuins in the Regulation of Metabolism, Aging, and Longevity (pp. 125–162). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-21631-2_7

[8] Preyat, N., & Leo, O. (2013). Sirtuin deacylases: a molecular link between metabolism and immunity. Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 93(5), 669–680. https://doi.org/10.1189/jlb.1112557

 [9] Mendelsohn, A. R., & Larrick, J. W. (2017). The NAD+/PARP1/SIRT1 Axis in Aging. Rejuvenation Research, 20(3), 244–247. https://doi.org/10.1089/rej.2017.1980

[10] Grube, K., & Burkle, A. (1992). Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activity in mononuclear leukocytes of 13 mammalian species correlates with species-specific life span. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 89(24), 11759–11763. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.89.24.11759


[11] Bose, A., & Beal, M. F. (2016). Mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neurochemistry, 139, 216–231. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.13731

[12] Chen, X., Stern, D., & du Yan, S. (2006). Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Alzheimers Disease. Current Alzheimer Research, 3(5), 515–520. https://doi.org/10.2174/156720506779025215

[13] Maruszak, A., & Żekanowski, C. (2011). Mitochondrial dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 35(2), 320–330. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.07.004

[14] Sweeney, G., & Song, J. (2016). The association between PGC-1α and Alzheimer’s disease. Anatomy & Cell Biology, 49(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.5115/acb.2016.49.1.1

[15] Gong, B., Pan, Y., et al. (2013). Nicotinamide riboside restores cognition through an upregulation of proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1α regulated β-secretase 1 degradation and mitochondrial gene expression in Alzheimer’s mouse models. Neurobiology of Aging, 34(6), 1581–1588. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.12.005

[16] Schöndorf, D. C., Ivanyuk, D., et al. (2018). The NAD+ Precursor Nicotinamide Riboside Rescues Mitochondrial Defects and Neuronal Loss in iPSC and Fly Models of Parkinson’s Disease. Cell Reports, 23(10), 2976–2988. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.009

[17] Martens, C., Denman, B., et al. (2017). NAA1 nicotinamide riboside supplementation reduces aortic stiffness and blood pressure in middle-aged and older adults. Artery Research, 20(C), 49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.artres.2017.10.021

[18] de Picciotto, N. E., Gano, L. B., et al. (2016). Nicotinamide mononucleotide supplementation reverses vascular dysfunction and oxidative stress with aging in mice. Aging Cell, 15(3), 522–530. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12461

[19] Airhart, S. E., Shireman, L. M., et al. (2017). An open-label, non-randomized study of the pharmacokinetics of the nutritional supplement nicotinamide riboside (NR) and its effects on blood NAD+ levels in healthy volunteers. PLOS ONE, 12(12), e0186459. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186459

[20] Martens, C. R., Denman, B. A., et al. (2018). Chronic nicotinamide riboside supplementation is well-tolerated and elevates NAD+ in healthy middle-aged and older adults. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1286. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03421-7