Have you heard of the supplement, NAC? NAC stands for N-acetyl cysteine, a form of the semi-essential amino acid, cysteine. Cysteine can be found in foods like turkey, eggs, sunflower seeds and yogurt. Adding NAC into your supplement arsenal comes with many benefits, especially throughout flu season, and here’s why:
NAC improves detoxification
NAC improves detoxification by supporting antioxidant production. NAC is essential in the production of the major antioxidant, glutathione. The production of glutathione helps to detoxify by neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on the body’s tissues and cells.
NAC provides respiratory relief
NAC has both antioxidant and expectorant properties which may help relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions. For instance, NAC may clear air passageways, by loosening mucus. Additionally, NAC replenishes levels of glutathione, which can help combat lung inflammation. Research has found that for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, characterized by oxidative damage and lung inflammation, NAC supplementation improves symptoms. NAC supplementation has also shown to be helpful for those with chronic bronchitis, characterized by inflamed and closed air passageways.
NAC promotes immunity
Research has found that NAC supplementation may improve and/or restore immune function for those with conditions related to NAC and glutathione deficiency. Similar studies have also shown that NAC may also help in other immune-compromised situations, including the flu, by preventing viral replication. However, there is a need for more research to cement these findings. In any case, it can’t hurt to bolster your immune system with a friendly dose of NAC!
NAC promotes mental health
Research has suggested that NAC may reduce symptoms of several mental health conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder and addictions, by regulating levels of glutamate, an important neurotransmitter. Excess glutamate, which may be reduced with NAC, may otherwise contribute to exacerbated symptoms for these conditions. These findings are supported with animal and human research, although more research is needed to understand the proper usage of NAC in these situations.
NAC supports brain health
Since NAC regulates glutamate levels and supports the production of glutathione, it also boosts brain health. Glutamate promotes healthy learning capabilities, behavior and memory, whereas glutathione prevents oxidative damage and inflammation to the brain. NAC may be specifically relevant to those suffering from memory loss and other neurodegenerative conditions.
NAC supports heart health
NAC’s role in the production of glutathione, as well as its own antioxidant properties are crucial for its role in supporting heart health. Since oxidative damage to the heart is implicated in heart disease, strokes, heart attacks and more – NAC supplementation may help to reduce the risk for heart-related conditions. Additionally, NAC also likely increases nitric oxide, which improves blood flow to the heart.
NAC may benefit blood sugar
Animal studies have found that NAC may help regulate blood sugar by reducing inflammation in fat cells. NAC may be of benefit for those with inflamed fat tissue, including those with obesity. Inflammation of the fat tissue may otherwise increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
NAC supports longevity
Taking all of these benefits into consideration – from NAC’s antioxidant properties to its ability to support brain health and heart health, to bolstering immunity and possibly improving blood sugar regulation – it is safe to say that NAC likely supports longevity!
Supplementation with NAC is recommended for those looking for respiratory support and liver support. For mucus support the recommended dosage is 1500-2000 2x/day. For liver support the recommended dosage is 1,000-2,000 mg/day.