Test before launch: Japan’s DHC Corp to study NMN’s benefits for sleep, beauty-from-within

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

DHC Corp is in the midst of planning two clinical trials on nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and its benefits on beauty and sleep.  ©Getty Images
DHC Corp is in the midst of planning two clinical trials on nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and its benefits on beauty and sleep. ©Getty Images

Related tags NMN Nr DHC Corporation Sleep

Japan’s cosmetics and health supplements firm DHC Corp will be studying the benefits of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) supplementation on sleep and beauty-from-within, the firm told us in an exclusive interview.

The company published its first human clinical trial findings on NMN in the journal Scientific Reports ​during February.

The trial studied the effects of NMN supplementation and arterial stiffness. Improvements to arterial stiffness were seen after 12 weeks of supplementation, however, the impacts were not statistically significant.

A natural component, NMN exists in small quantity in most vegetables, such as edamame, broccoli, and cucumber.

It has been shown​ that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels in whole blood had significantly increased after NMN administration. NAD+ is involved in the regulation of biological processes, such as metabolism and DNA repair.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, ​Dr. Kentaro Naito, senior manager of Fundamental Research Department, said that the company was in the midst of planning two new clinical trials to further its understanding of NMN.

One of the trials, expected to take place this year, will look at the impact of NMN supplementation on sleep and blood vessel health among men aged 40 to 60. Some of the parameters measured include the time to fall asleep and the depth of sleep.

“We know that there is an existing study showing the effect of NMN on sleep and we would like to prove it as well.

“In addition, in recent years, many people in Japan are suffering from sleep problems, because we are always worried about COVID-19. Especially in Japan, many consumers buy products for sleep aid.

“[For the upcoming trial], we might use questionnaires to ask participants if they can sleep easily or not [pre and post supplementation] and we might use devices to measure their depths of sleep.”

The other trial will also look at the impact of NMN on blood vessel health as well as facial beauty among middle aged women. 

Blood vessel health is a common theme in all three clinical trials because Dr. Naito believes that a better blood circulatory system would improve the transportation of nutrients around the body.

“I am curious about how NMN could improve beauty. This is because if NMN could improve blood vessel [circulation], then perhaps it can improve facial beauty as well.

“In addition, DHC Corporation is a healthcare food and cosmetic company, and therefore, our research always surrounds skin conditions.

“Since our specialty is skincare, therefore [we want to find out if] NMN can benefit inner beauty and outer beauty using cosmetic products. We aim to launch NMN products for inner and outer beauty,”​ he explained.

NMN in Japan

Dr. Naito pointed out that NMN has become a popular ingredient among Japanese consumers in recent years.

“In Japan, I guess most women expect NMN supplementation to rejuvenate their beauty.

“For men, it’s for more diverse reasons, but basically, they want to improve sleep and reduce fatigue after work. They want something to feel refreshed.”

However, the company would like to validate the health benefits of NMN in human clinical trials before launching any products, he emphasised.

“We need to test first. Therefore, we are conducting the three clinical trials to prove the benefits of NMN first.”

For the two upcoming trials, he expects the duration of study to be between two to three months, and the dosage given would be 250 mg of NMN per day.

Further down the road, there might be plans to test and launch NMN in skincare products, he said.

“I am also interested in research about skincare ingredients in cosmetics. But we also need to prove it first. If we can prove it, then we can launch cosmetic NMN products in the future as well.”

Other than DHC Corp, we previously reported that other Japanese companies are also studying the uses of NMN, including Oriental Yeast​ and Mitsubishi Corporation Life Sciences.

NMN versus NR

Aside from NMN, there are also other related compounds studied for their potential effects in increasing NAD+ levels.

One of which is nicotinamide riboside (NR).

Dr. Naito pointed out that in the case of Japan, most research have focused on NMN, but he was interested in NR as well.

“In Japan, most researchers are interested in NMN, not NR. Also, most of the ingredient suppliers can provide NMN, and therefore, we are interested in NMN.

“But as a researcher, I am interested in studying both ingredients. We can study and probably launch NR products too.”

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