Does NMN Break A Fast?

Does NMN Break A Fast?

The practice of intermittent fasting has surged in popularity due to its potential health benefits, ranging from weight management to improved metabolism.

Fasting is not merely a diet but a lifestyle approach involving controlled eating and abstaining from food (R). However, the concept of what breaks a fast can be a subject of debate, particularly in relation to supplements like Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN).

NMN, a precursor to NAD+, has gained attention for its potential anti-aging and cellular health benefits. It plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes within the body (R).

Yet, whether taking NMN during a fasting period breaks the fast remains a topic of discussion among fasting enthusiasts and experts.

Let's delve deeper into the nature of fasting and the effects NMN might have on it and answer the question: Does NMN break a fast?

Understanding Fasting

Fasting involves voluntarily abstaining from food and, in some cases, drinks for a specified period.

The primary goal is to induce metabolic changes that can lead to several health benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and cellular repair mechanisms.

Fasting promotes a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body utilises stored fat as a primary energy source instead of glucose from food.

This metabolic shift is the foundation of many fasting benefits (R, R).

Does NMN Break a Fast?

One of the core debates revolves around the caloric content of NMN. While NMN is calorie-free, some argue that its potential metabolic effects could indirectly impact the fasted state (R, R).

The concept of 'caloric restriction mimetics' suggests that certain compounds, despite being low in calories, might signal the body in a way that could disrupt the fasting benefits.

By enhancing NAD+ levels, NMN supplementation could theoretically activate pathways that are partially associated with fasting-like states. This diversity in opinions reflects the complexity of the issue.

The critical question arises: does taking NMN during fasting interfere with the metabolic processes intended during the fast?

Points to Consider

Caloric Content:

One of the primary concerns about breaking a fast involves consuming calories. NMN, in its pure form, is generally considered calorie-free. Therefore, it might not trigger an insulin response or disrupt ketosis, making it compatible with fasting.

Impact on Autophagy:

Fasting promotes autophagy, a cellular process involving the removal of damaged cells and cellular components. Some argue that NMN might not interfere with autophagy; instead, its potential benefits could align with fasting goals by enhancing cellular repair mechanisms (R).

Individual Responses:

Human biology is complex, and individual responses to supplements like NMN can vary widely. Some individuals may experience no noticeable deviation from their fasting goals when using NMN, while others might unexpectedly alter their fasting state. Understanding these nuances is crucial when discussing NMN's role in fasting.

Expert Opinions

Experts in the field have varying perspectives on whether NMN breaks a fast. Some believe that NMN is calorie-free and might not stimulate an insulin response. So, it can be considered fasting-friendly.

One expert who supports this hypothesis is Dr. David A. Sinclair, a leading expert in the field of longevity; he argues that NMN does not break a fast because it is calorie- and sugar-free and does not stimulate insulin production (R).

Others propose that while NMN might not entirely disrupt the fasting state, it could influence specific metabolic pathways, potentially altering the intended benefits of fasting.

Additionally, research suggests the effects of NMN were even more pronounced when taken on an empty stomach (which is the case when you fast), indicating that this is the best way to take the supplement for maximum absorption (R). So, flipping the coin, fasting could boost NMN levels.


In conclusion, NMN is unlikely to affect fasting. Although, in the realm of fasting and supplementation, absolutes are elusive. Ultimately, individual experimentation, expert guidance, and further scientific exploration will pave the way toward a clearer understanding of NMN's role within the fasting landscape.

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Written By Natasha Jordan

BHSc Nutritional Medicine, International health - University Of Queensland

Diploma In Dermal Science - AACDS

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