The internet retailer has removed supplements containing NMN, a promising longevity nutrient, from its store. Will other stores follow suit? Action Alert!
Earlier this month, Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, decided it would no longer sell supplements containing nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). This, of course, follows the FDA’s determination that NMN is not a supplement because it was first studied as a drug. Amazon’s decision not only makes it more difficult for consumers to access this critical supplement; it sends a shockwave through the marketplace that increases the uncertainty about NMN’s future as a supplement. We must push back.
Amazon reportedly told a seller of NMN supplements in an email that they could continue to sell NMN-containing supplements until March 13, 2023. Afterwards, the merchant would need to meet certain requirements, including updated labeling with a National Drug Code, a three-segment number the FDA uses to identify drugs. NMN supplements would not be able to get a National Drug Code, so the updated policy amounts to a ban on NMN supplements on Amazon’s marketplace.
This is another blow to our ability to access NMN supplements. We also recently reported that the FDA has maintained its adversarial stance towards NMN when it denied a request from the Natural Products Association that the agency open a public docket on NMN. Other major retailers may see the writing on the wall for NMN and similarly move to stop selling those products, lest they become targets of FDA.
NMN is one of the most effective precursors to NAD, which is critical to longevity. By middle age, our NAD levels plummet to half that of our youth. Studies have shown that boosting NAD levels increases insulin sensitivity, reverses mitochondrial dysfunction, and extends lifespan. NAD is not absorbed well by cells, so we need precursors to raise blood levels of NAD. NAD can be administered intravenously, but there is a lack of data on its effectiveness; at the very least it is impractical for most people since infusions would be needed every few days to sustain increased NAD levels. There is some debate as to which precursor is most effective, but NMN is one of the most promising NAD options available with a proven ability to raise NAD levels.
Why is the FDA saying that NMN can’t be a supplement? As we’ve noted in previous coverage, this has to do with the back-channel at the FDA that allows nutrients to be turned into monopoly drugs, as we’ve seen with the pyridoxamine version of vitamin B6 and other supplements.
Under the Dietary Health and Supplement Education Act (DSHEA), any dietary supplement introduced to the market in the US after 1994 is considered “new” (a new dietary ingredient, or NDI) and the manufacturer must notify the FDA in advance of marketing the product. According to FDA rules, if a drug company starts investigating an ingredient as a drug before a “new supplement” notification has been successfully filed, the drug company can ask the FDA to have the supplement version removed from the market.
This is precisely what happened with NMN. MetroBiotech, a company co-founded by anti-aging guru David Sinclair, PhD, submitted a letter to the FDA asking the agency to ban NMN supplements. We’ve noted the tragic irony of this situation: Dr. Sinclair, who has proselytized about the benefits of taking NMN supplements, and MetroBiotech have published work demonstrating NMN works…and now the company is looking to cash in by asking the FDA to ban it as a supplement so they can charge what we assume will be exorbitant sums for an NMN drug.
There is no guarantee that MetroBiotech will ever bring an NMN drug to market, yet they are asking for a ban on NMN supplements. When Big Pharma asked for a ban on pyridoxamine, the FDA agreed and pyridoxamine supplements disappeared. No pyridoxamine drug ever came to market, and the supplement version is still banned. We cannot allow the same thing to happen to NMN.
Action Alert! Write to Congress and urge them to protect access to affordable NMN supplements. Please send your message immediately.