NAC EXPLAINED IN 5 MINUTES
Time to read 3 min
Time to read 3 min
Immune support is a hot topic at the moment, and for a good reason, given the rise in illness globally. With many feeling the need to take action to make necessary health and lifestyle changes to strengthen immunity and improve overall health, many people are turning to natural and alternative treatments backed by science. Wondering what this has to do with N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, aka NAC? Keep reading…
L-Cysteine is a vital amino acid naturally produced in the body, responsible for detoxification and immune system support (Pizzorno, J. 2014). However, when impacted by stress, production reduces, and deficiency is the result. So, why does this matter? Well, L-Cysteine (from NAC), L-Glycine, and L-Glutamine are involved in the production of Glutathione, the body's most potent endogenous tri-peptide antioxidant. Glutathione is crucial for a healthy immune response when immunity is compromised, not to mention its role in reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and toxicity, leading to severe health conditions and rapid aging (Pizzorno, J. 2014).
The rise in popularity of NAC is due to its immune system support and upper respiratory tract health benefits; common conditions people suffer from on a global scale. This conditionally essential amino acid has been proven to work as an expectorant and loosen mucus that develops during bouts of upper respiratory illness (Banerjee, S et al. 2019). Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties have even been shown to decrease symptoms of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (Banerjee, S et al. 2019). In fact, studies have shown daily supplementation of 600mg of NAC over one year resulted in patients with COPD demonstrating a significant improvement in lung function (Calverley, P et al. 2021)!
Research and studies also show that NAC may reduce symptoms of Bronchitis (Calverley, P et al. 2021). In this severe respiratory condition, the membranes in the lungs become so swollen and inflamed that they close off the airways, resulting in excessive coughing, wheezing, and respiratory attacks. In another study on the flu, it was noted that patients treated with NAC resulted in a reduction in the virus's ability to duplicate, decreasing viral load, which may minimise the symptoms and length of the illness (Cassanova, T et al. 2016). There's no denying how powerful both NAC and Glutathione are when it comes to supporting immune health!
It's not uncommon for doctors and health professionals to use NAC to treat toxicity due to overdosing, mainly acetaminophen (Paracetamol) poisoning, due to the detox support it provides to the liver and kidneys. Playing a critical role in detoxification, NAC has been shown to reduce the side effects of certain drugs, heavy metals, environmental toxins, and pollutants (Aremu, D et al. 2008). Many of these we don't even realise we have in our system until our bodies begin to show mild symptoms like constant fatigue, recurring headaches, trouble sleeping, and digestive issues, to name a few.
As you can already see, NAC's anti-inflammatory benefits are compelling. However, they don't stop there. NAC can also benefit fat cells! Obesity combined with high blood pressure results in oxidative stress and inflammation, leading to insulin resistance. Recent animal studies show that supplementing with NAC may support the stabilisation of blood sugar and better insulin sensitivity by reducing the inflammation in fat cells. It has been shown to help reduce visceral fat - the fat that sits around your most vital organs. Furthermore, supplementing with NAC may also improve heart health by improving NO2 (Nitric Oxide) production thanks to the reduction of oxidative stress.
Did you know NAC has also been known to reduce natural age-related cognitive decline? This occurs over time due to oxidative stress; however, with the support of this powerful amino acid, the natural decay of brain health may be slowed down by reducing oxidative damage to the cells accountable for the production and registering of neurotransmitters (Mokhtari, V et al. 2016).
A potent antioxidant with significant anti-inflammatory and immune support advantages, NAC can offer an abundance of health benefits, particularly regarding illness, detoxification, and brain health. Head into your local ASN store or reach out to our friendly online team for more information on this immune-supporting amino acid.
Pizzorno, J. 2014, ‘Glutathione’, Integrative Medicince A Clinician’s Journal, accessed 28 Oct 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/
Banerjee, S et al. 2019, ‘Acetylcysteine for Patients Requiring Mucous Secretion Clearance: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Safety’, CADTH, accessed 28 Oct 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546019/
Calverley, P et al. 2021, ‘Safety of N-Acetylcysteine at High Doses in Chronic Respiratory Diseases: A Review’, Drug Safety, accessed 28 Oct 2022, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40264-020-01026-y
Casanova, T et al. 2016, ‘N-Acetylcysteine: An Old Drug With Variable Anti-Influenza Properties’, Journal of Controversies in Biomedical Research’, accessed 28 Oct 2022, https://jcbmr.com/index.php/jcbmr/article/view/13/28
Aremu, D et al. 2008, ‘N-Acetylcysteinen as a potential antidote and biomonitoring agent of methylmercury exposure’, Environ Health Perspect, accessed 28 Oct 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18197295/
Lasram, M et al. 2015, ‘A review on the possible molecular mechanism of action of N-acetylcysteine against insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes development’, Clinical Biochemistry, accessed 28 Oct 2022, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009912015001411