N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid with powerful antioxidant properties. It comes from the amino acid L-cysteine. Because it includes both amino acid cysteine and sulfur, NAC works as a precursor to glutathione – a crucial antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals and toxins.

While our body naturally synthesizes N-Acetyl Cysteine, it becomes deficient due to environmental contaminants. As we get older NAC levels fall, our ability to internally fortify NAC levels weakens and this shows up in our health. It is very important for anyone suffering from any illness or anyone older than 20 years of age to supplement N Acetyl Cysteine and Acetyl Glutathione (GSH) levels. Once we reach adulthood, levels of NAC and GSH in our body dwindles, leaving us prone to stress and defenseless to disease.

Antioxidants’ ability to help prevent inflammation and cell damage make them potentially beneficial for a wide range of conditions. N-acetyl cysteine also has many uses as medicine.

N-acetyl cysteine in medicinal form is used to counteract acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also used for unstable angina (chest pain), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), bile duct blockage in infants, Alzheimer’s disease, eye infection called keratoconjunctivitis, and allergic reactions to the anti-seizure drug phenytoin (Dilantin).

Healthcare professionals prescribe it to reduce levels of a form of cholesterol called lipoprotein (a); levels of homocysteine, which is a possible risk factor for heart disease; and reduce heart attack and stroke risk in patients with serious kidney disease.

N-Acetylcysteine was licensed in 1968. The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed NAC as the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system, in its List of Essential Medicines. It is a comparably cheap supplement.

 

What are the benefits of NAC?

Slows aging

NAC helps our body get rid of harmful free radicals and peroxides, substances that build up in our body naturally as we get older. As production of antioxidants like NAC and glutathione declines as we age, our body becomes less equipped to slow the aging process.

NAC supplement can improve cognitive function, clear our neural system from harmful toxins responsible for causing neurodegenerative diseases. It can also maintain cells in the liver and skin healthy and enhance the look of our hair, skin, nails and eyes.

Experts listed it as one of the top supplements for anti-aging. By targeting the skin, NAC can help reduce age spots, blemishes and even wrinkles. N-Acetyl Cysteine can give your skin a natural glow, help you turn back the clock and make you look and feel your best.

 

Improves athletic training

During energy conversion, cells in our body produce waste products, which pile up in the body as free radicals and peroxides. These harmful substances cripple our immune system and damage cells in our body. Intense physical activity increases production of these harmful molecules.

N-Acetyl Cysteine clears the body these harmful substances and also encourage production of healthier cells. As a result, you’ll find more stamina during workout, improve overall results and dramatically reduce recovery time. When you exercise, the extreme stress you put on your muscles causes you to fee sore and tender. NAC lets your body to restore these tissues quickly and more efficiently. N-Acetyl Cysteine supplement will give you maximum workout results.

 

Improves cognitive health

We use our brain to process deluge of information that are bombarding our senses every day. That’s why it is very important to maintain a healthy brain. However, in this modern times it is hard to maintain a healthy brain as our bodies are constantly absorbing toxins through food, water and air. A third of the elderly will get Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia before they die.

NAC promotes a healthier brain and improves its ability to operate through boosting the cellular health. It escorts the harmful toxins and chemicals away from the brain and into the bloodstream for the liver to deal with these and discharge as waste products. Without treatment, these harmful substances accumulate in the brain impeding brain functions and damage cells.

 

Improves kidney and liver health

As mentioned earlier, we are constantly absorbing harmful toxins everyday through our skin lungs and digestive system. Kidneys and the liver – the organs accountable for clearing these substances – become overworked, causing damage to them. N Acetyl Cysteine and Glutathione can heal damaged cells, reduce inflammation and reinstate liver function.

 

Improves immune response

NAC and Glutathione boost liver function and detoxify our cells. When the lingering toxins in our body are dealt with our immune system regains its ability to fight off infection and disease. At the same time it prevents toxins from accumulating which leads to serious illnesses later in life.

 

Improves respiratory functions

N-Acetyl Cysteine possesses a very unique characteristic through which it boosts our respiratory health. NAC mashes disulfide bonds in mucus, virtually liquefying it. This enables someone with respiratory problem to cough up and free congestion in our lungs. N-Acetyl Cysteine is very useful in the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Bronchitis and getting rid of a nasty cough.

 

Are there side effects from taking NAC?

Common side effects of taking NAC may be stomach irritation, fatigue, skin rash, decreased blood pressure, allergic reactions and medication interactions.

 

Can we get NAC from natural foods?

NAC is not found naturally in food sources; however cysteine is present in most high protein foods.

Cysteine is present mainly in animal protein. Meats including pork, chicken, turkey, sausage and duck all contain cysteine. Cysteine is also present in fish and lunch meats. Dairy sources include cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, yogurt and eggs. Vegetables such as broccoli, onion and red pepper has significant amount of cysteine.

If you aren’t getting sufficient cysteine through your diet, consult your doctor before taking NAC supplements, as too much cysteine or methionine poses health risk.

 

Bottom line

While our body synthesizes N Acetyl Cysteine naturally, its levels decrease due to environmental contaminants. NAC levels also decline with our age and it shows up in our health. It becomes crucial for anyone dealing with an illness or anyone over 20 to take NAC supplements. Once we reach adulthood, levels of NAC and GSH in our body dwindles, leaving us prone to stress and defenseless to disease.

NAC is comparatively a cheap supplement. It works best in combination with other nutrients and antioxidants such as Acetyl Glutathione, CoQ10, Piperine and Omega 3’s.

 

References

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